Rob Van Dam – The Drug Charge That Changed His Career

Rob Van Dam was the WWE and ECW Champion in early July 2006 when he and Sabu were charged with drug possession in Ohio. If that incident hadn’t occurred, does he think his career would have turned out differently?

Rob Van Dam and Sabu
Rob Van Dam and Sabu

Rob Van Dam has not been shy about expressing his love of marijuana over the years, and in one instance in 2006, it got him into a lot of trouble at the worst possible time in his career.

While traveling from a show in West Virginia to Philadelphia with Sabu on July 1st, 2006, RVD was pulled over for speeding. Everything was going fine at first and the officer was even joking around with the two until he smelled pot inside the vehicle. The officer then performed a search of the car and discovered RVD to be holding 18 grams of marijuana alongside five Vicodins while Sabu was found holding drug paraphernalia and nine tablets of Testolactone. Both RVD and Sabu were arrested and later posted bond.

The timing of the arrest couldn’t have come at a worse time as RVD was in the middle of the biggest push of his career. He had won the WWE Championship off John Cena at ECW One Night Stand a few weeks before on June 11, 2006. WWE was also in the midst of trying (unsuccessfully) to revive the ECW brand and RVD was holding the recently reinstated ECW title as well.

Recommended: The ECW Mass Transit Incident

When WWE learned of the arrest, they suspended RVD for 30 days. WWE.com also released a statement saying he would be allowed to compete on Monday Night Raw and ECW TV the next two nights while they “conducted an investigation” but this just their way of allowing RVD to drop the belts before being sent home.

Fans at the time were disappointed but not all too surprised by the arrest. One fan who went by the alias “straven_marven” on the GameSpot.com message boards wrote on the day the news got out, “Goddammit, why did they have to screw it all up? RVD is no Cena in the eyes of the McMahons, and they will punish him horribly,” while another fan under the name “icytower” wrote, “I guess it’s not really a surprise that this happened, it really was only a matter of time. I would venture to guess that Edge will win his match with RVD now.”

“Icytower” was correct in his prediction, and on July 3, 2006, RVD dropped the WWE Championship to Edge on Raw in a triple threat match which also included John Cena. And on the very next night on ECW, RVD lost his ECW title to Big Show.

If the drug arrest hadn’t occurred, does Rob Van Dam think his career would have turned out differently?

In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, RVD gave his thoughts.

“There was no way that I was going to be the longest-reigning world champion in WWE (laughs). Nobody thinks that. People like to say that the plans were dropped for ECW because of that night – heck no. Most people think that was just a transitional moment anyway.

“From my perspective, when people say that couldn’t have happened at a worse time, I always say it couldn’t have happened at a better time. You’re never going to hear me apologize for that.

“The fact is if I wasn’t the WWE and ECW world champion at the time, nobody would have cared. It wouldn’t have been all over the news.

“The day that Sabu and I pulled into the Philly arena and had to tell Vince, and I knew how much I had disappointed him and dropped the ball on his immediate plans, I felt bad that day. I was feeling like I let some people down. But that’s the way emotion is. Emotion takes the place of logic, and until you work things out you’re a victim of it. Eventually, I could see the big picture, and that’s how it goes down in history and I’m OK with that.

“I paid a $100 fine for possession of marijuana. However, since the WWE suspended me it ended up costing me like $30,000 or $40,000 easily. And you know what? I asked for more time off at the end of the 30 days. That was one of my favorite months of my contract. That’s how much I wanted out of there and how much I missed being home.

“[These days] I can’t imagine going back to the same schedule that I did before. Can’t imagine. Like, I would have to lose just about everything else out of the equation in my life and then at that point we do what he got to do, you know what I mean? That’s not in my best interests or my radar to go back to what I did before. No. No no, no, no, no. NO.”

Despite the arrest coming at a time where RVD was getting the biggest push of his career and him taking a hit of up to $40,000 in fines, he was okay with how everything turned out and has no apologies for it. He even considered this to be one of his favorite months of his contract. It comes to show, despite being pushed as the top dog in the company, the grueling schedule can be a bit much to handle so you have to take those rare opportunities of downtime when they come, even if it means via a drug suspension!

Watch rare police dashcam footage of Rob Van Dam and Sabu getting pulled over on July 1st, 2006:

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JP Zarka
JP Zarka is a teacher, singer/songwriter, producer, former co-host of The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo podcast, and editor-in-chief of ProWrestlingStories.com. Originally from Chicago, he has called London home for the past ten years. He can be reached on Twitter @jpzarka or @pws_official.