Rob Van Dam was a recent guest on Ryback’s podcast, Conversation with the Big Guy, to promote his documentary, Headstrong. Van Dam relayed an absurd tale of learning his jumping spinning back kick trademark maneuver by breaking Sabu’s jaw.
The clip below also includes talk about RVD accidentally hurting others (including Ryback himself), Ryback’s reaction and dealing with said incident, and working stiff.
I got trained so stiff by the Sheik and Sabu. And then I learned to soften up a little bit because none of the local guys wanted to work with us because, you know, we were basically shooting at each other. And then when I went to Japan, then I had to stiffen it up again or else they wouldn’t even react to what I was doing.
When I learned to do that kick, I was training with Sabu. This was before my first match. And I said to Sabu, “I want to jump out of the corner and do like this jumping spinning back kick and I think that would be cool.” Because I was into martial arts I was kickboxing before I met Sheik and Sabu.
And Sabu’s like, “Okay. Just try and do it.” And I said, “Yeah but I want to know is there a way like I could do that without breaking your jaw?” I said, “I know how to kick your face and break your jaw, but I mean is there like an industry secret?”
And Sabu said, “Well, just try not to break my jaw and then if you do, then when it heals up, we’ll try again and just try to pull back a little more.” I’m like, “I’m not comfortable with that. Isn’t there like a way, do I aim somewhere else or something?” (Sabu said) “Just try and do it. You’re good. You’ll be able to pull it.”
So, I jumped off the ropes. I kicked him in the face. I broke his jaw. He’s eating out of a straw. And soon as his jaw healed up, I’ll be damned if he didn’t say, “Okay, let’s try that again. This time try and pull back a little more.”
That’s the way I got trained. It really doesn’t take, like, an inch to be from just smacking somebody so perfect that you just kind of smack their feet. And like a little inch over, it can cause a lot of damage.
Um, those dudes are crazy. Like, what the heck? There’s something to be said for learning through the act of jumping in, but Sabu’s relaxed attitude takes it to another level. I’m glad RVD and Sabu are still friends, so I don’t feel bad laughing about Sabu’s broken jaw.
If you are feeling nostalgic for some RVD and Sabu magic after reading that story, then you are in luck. They will be teaming together to take on the Lucha Bros, Fenix and Pentagon, at Impact’s United We Stand during WrestleMania week.
The real reason Rob Van Dam was a guest on Conversation with the Big Guy was to promote his documentary, Headstrong. The synopsis states, “Wrestling legend Rob Van Dam embarks on a comedy tour around the US, and encounters a surprising roadblock that leads on an unforgettable life changing journey.”
As revealed in the trailer, the surprising roadblock relates to concussions. RVD mentioned to Ryback that he has already donated his brain and spine to research led by Chris Nowinski (Concussion Legacy Foundation). Based on cognitive and memory exams, RVD estimates that he has had about 500 concussions during his professional wrestling career. Here’s to hoping RVD’s health is as best as it can be considering the circumstances.
Headstrong is currently available on iTunes and has been receiving positive reviews.
How would you rate Sabu’s training technique? Have you seen RVD’s documentary? If so, what did you think about it?