Chris Van Vliet nearly ended his pro-wrestling career before it ever started attempting to take an Impaler DDT from WWE legend Gangrel.
Four-time Emmy-winning television host Van Vliet once took 20 brutal chops from Shawn Spears, Tyler Breeze and company. But for those who want to sink their teeth into the dangers of pro-wrestling bumps, it was CVV’s encounter with the sport’s greatest Vampire that nearly did him in.
“Oh my gosh, the lesson is don’t do it. If we take it back here, I trained to be a pro-wrestler. It was my dream and my goal to be a pro-wrestler. When I was 20-years-old, I went to wrestling school in Toronto. I went to the Squared Circle, trained for a few months and then kind of had this fork in the road where I'm like, ‘Am I going to focus on wrestling school or am I going to focus on school school?’” he tells Cageside Seats’ Shakiel Mahjouri. “Fast-forward almost 20 years and I’m doing a TV segment at Gangrel’s wrestling school in Dania Beach, Florida. We’re locking up, we’re taking some bumps and I said, ‘Gangrel, it would be such an honour to take your finishing move, The Impaler DDT.’ And he’s like, ‘Sure.’ I’m thinking, ‘I’ve taken DDTs before.’
“I jumped a little too much and spiked myself right on my head. It should be more of a front bump. You know that RVD bump where he takes it on his head and somehow his neck is a spring? That’s how I accidentally took it. Knocked the wind out of me. I swear to you, Shak, I had this moment after I hit the mat where I’m thinking, ‘Can I feel my extremities. Okay, I can! We’re good, I’m not paralyzed,’” he continues. “None of this was his fault. I took it incorrectly. I would probably not take it again unless it was on a crash mat or something.”
A lifelong pro-wrestling fan, CVV’s passion for the squared circle stuck with him on his journey as an entertainment host and interviewer.
“I’ve spent my entire career interviewing all sorts of different celebrities. Actors, musicians, directors, comedians, you name it. Every once in a while it would be a wrestler,” Van Vliet shares. “When I first started doing it, it was actually in Vancouver. I was hosting a show there called 969 on MTV2 Canada and also City TV. I did my first-ever interview with a wrestler. It was Bobby Lashley. He was the ECW champion at the time, so we’re going way back here. It was 2007 and I kind of selfishly did this interview. I was kind of like, ‘We’re interviewing all these other celebrities, do you think we could also interview a wrestler one day?’ My boss was like, ‘Yeah, sure. We’ve done that before.’ I’m thinking, ‘Oh my God! I’m going to get paid to hang out with a wrestler. This is insane to me.’
“I took that same mindset with me to every single job I went to in every single city. When Raw came to town or Impact or whatever, I would do an interview. We would air a little bit of it on TV. We would air a little soundbite on TV. But I was asking the questions that I genuinely cared about as a fan. This is kind of how my Youtube channel started. I thought, ‘It kind of sucks that unless you’re watching that exact channel on that exact day at that exact time — like the old school model of broadcasting — unless you’re watching it at that time, you’re going to miss this,” he explains. “So I started taking the full interviews and started putting them on my YouTube channel. I was also putting up the full interviews with different actors and celebrities on there, but the wrestling interviews really started to scale up.”
In 2018, CVV started conducting interviews with pro-wrestlers outside of his work with entertainment outlets and news stations, leading to his expanded presence in the pro-wrestling media landscape.
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