Who Was Better: Christian Or Rob Van Dam?
Posted by Justin Watry on 06.03.2014
Both Christian and Rob Van Dam are future WWE Hall of Fame inductees, but who had the best match quality? Who excelled in ECW or TNA? Bottom line: Who was better? 411's Justin Watry takes a look!
Last week, I wrote a column "Who Was Better: Bret Hart Or Edge?" and received rave reviews. Truth be told, it was basically just a cheap way for me to plug my other columns, especially the Top 5 Canadian Born Wrestlers article. Regardless of my motives, every single word was my actual opinion: Edge and Bret Hart are closer in comparison than originally meets the eye. Thanks to those who read the column, left a comment (a staggering 184 comments at last check), and gave it a chance.
However, through the garbage that is known as the comment section, one specifically caught my attention. It was from MikeK. and seemed to hint at a weekly feature. While I do not expect another 184 comments anytime soon, the idea intrigued me. Therefore, if you really like the concept and wish to see it continue, you can thank MikeK. If you really hate it and hope this column never returns, you can blame MikeK. Feel free to let me know. Fair enough? Now to the two wrestlers I picked!
Comparing Stone Cole to Hulk Hogan is played out. Been there, done that. Discussing Big Show and Andre The Giant has already happened 800 million times. To be honest, most of the "big name" main event wrestlers did not really jump out at me as an interesting debate. Then my focus shifted to TNA Impact Wrestling. Do not ask why. Who has had a great career in WWE but also spent a significant amount of time in TNA? After about 10 seconds of thinking (too much, I know), the answer was obvious. Thus, following the same blueprint as last week's column, I present to you...
Who Was Better: Christian Or Rob Van Dam?
Tag Team Career: Christian - Really, just copy and paste what I said last week about Edge and insert Christian here. Their run together speaks for itself. No long explanation there. However, Christian also held gold with guys like Lance Storm, Chris Jericho and while never winning gold, his pairing with Tyson Tomko was fun. Ultimately, Christian spent YEARS in the tag team division proving himself as a worth while performer paving his way to a solo run.
Tag Team Career: Rob Van Dam - Booker T...Rey Mysterio...Kane...huge names but never full-time teams that would stick together. Really though, Rob Van Dam has always been about being on his own. it is sort of unfair to judge his career as a tag guy. His entire demeanor and style banks off him doing his own thing. Still, a couple tag team title reigns with RVD were worth mentioning here. Christian takes this section in a landslide.
Mid-card Career: Christian - Multiple singles championship wins for Captain Charsima. European, IC, Hardcore, and even the light heavyweight gold went to Christian. All of this took place during his beginner years in WWE, while not entirely carving out a niche for himself quite yet. That is okay. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. With each win he gathered, it just added to his legacy more and more, making him worth a shot in the main event scene.
Mid-card Career: Rob Van Dam - Ditto for RVD. Following a very similar path, he was right there with Christian in many of those battles for the mid-card titles in WWE. In 2001, it was mostly the Hardcore title. In 2002 and beyond, a lot of his great showing were over the IC Championship. What made these two so comparable was how much fans supported them and rallied for 'their' guys. It was always one thing or another with WWE just not fully investing in them as much as they could. That would change though...eventually. Close call with this category.
ECW Career: Christian - Yeah, I am discussing the WWE version. Deal with it. I never bought into the whole "Christian was to attack Jeff Hardy" nonsense in early 2009. Pretty clear the money feud was brother vs. brother with Matt and Jeff Hardy. A big WrestleMania match with Christian vs. Jeff Hardy?!?! No way. Christian stepped onto the ECW brand in early 2009 and did not budge from that spot until one year later when it became NXT. Winning the title from Jack Swagger, having good matches with Tommy Dreamer (yes, Tommy Dreamer), Zack Ryder, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal and even to the final show with Ezekiel Jackson. He was THE star of the one hour show every Tuesday night and won the ECW Championship twice. He excelled in that role and never let up.
ECW Career: Rob Van Dam - His original run in ECW speaks for itself, TV Title reign and all. That blows away anything Christian did. However, what does downgrade him a bit is when ECW returned as a brand in 2006. The entire thing was to center around RVD and be 'his' show just like Christian got a few years later. Sadly, it all crumbled a few weeks later, which we will discuss in a bit. Sorry, but that falls on RVD's shoulders. Once that happened, the entire brand shifted and...well, yeah. WWE saw the writing on the wall and moved in a totally different direction.
*Funny how everybody whined and cried with HHH getting the handed the World Title, huh?*
Main Event Career: Christian - Oh boy. Where do we begin? After a brief run in 2005 sniffing the main event scene, he bolted to TNA for a (no doubt) guaranteed top spot. Big fish in small pond theory plays here. After winning their top title a few times, it was back to WWE for another chance to prove himself. This time, it worked. He got the World Title two times, once defeating Alberto Del Rio and once beating Randy Orton. While many disliked the idea of his initial championship moment only last a few days, those are the same folks who did not understand THAT was the entire point! Worked his whole life for the moment only to have Teddy Long (and Orton) rip it away from him so soon, hence the heel turn. Remember, the "smart" marks are the easiest to work! Even with rare spots here and there getting 'one more match' to become champ, that was pretty much it for him. Even recently, Christian fought at Summerslam 2013 for the World Title and had a WWE World Title shot at the Elimination Chamber earlier this year. The man can still "hang" with the top dogs, even if he is not the sole spotlight all the time.
Main Event Career: Rob Van Dam - Another great comparison to one another. Like Christian in 2005, RVD was not ready in 2002. There was no way, no how John Cena and Batista were going to drop their newly won titles in 2005, just as there was no sense whatsoever for HHH to drop the World Title in 2002. Fans (again) rallied behind them and got their moment. RVD used his Money in the Bank contract to defeat John Cena for the WWE Championship. He followed that up with a pay-per-view victory over Edge to keep the gold. All the while, he was the NEW ECW Champ! Unbelievable. Then...he did what WWE had feared all along and proved why some guys just do not ever get 'the ball' to run with. RVD and Sabu got arrested and busted with drugs. Boom! Just like that, WWE was proven right while the long-time RVD fans had to sit there and accept reality. RVD dropped both titles, was then suspended, and less than a year later - gone from the company.
TNA Career: Christian - I think Sting, Kurt Angle, and Christian were the major names that TNA needed to get put on the map. What made Christian different was that he voluntarily left WWE. It was not due to being fired, released, quitting, or any other bad terms. Christian made a career choice and went to TNA to dominate the main event title scene and also have some fun in between. To this day, he was probably the most consistent performer that jumped ship than anybody else. Also, in 2012, he made a one night return to the company as part of a deal to allow Ric Flair (with TNA at the time) to appear at the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Pretty strange moment.
TNA Career: Rob Van Dam - Believe it or not, fans were salivating over the thought of RVD joining TNA in early 2010. It is easy to deny that now in mid-2014, but it is the truth. Nearly every single person wanted him to come to TNA, along with the other signings at the time, and made an "impact" taking on WWE Raw Monday nights. Be careful what you wish for folks; you just may get it. Within a couple of weeks, he had defeated Sting, beat Jeff Hardy taken the TNA Title from AJ Styles in a throwaway random episode to pop a rating (sound familiar?) without even hooking his leg (something AJ has admitted to bothering him) and just about upset the entire roster with comments about him and Jeff Hardy being rock stars. Oh, and ratings had sunk to 0.6 numbers on Mondays. Job well done! Add on a rumored issue with the number of dates he worked and losing the title (without being beat) by being decapitated in a pool of blood. His 2010 year in TNA set the stage for disappointment the rest of his time there. Even an X-Division Title win and ECW knock off (yawn!) could not save it. He left the company when his three year deal was up, and like Christian - quickly realized WWE is where it is at.
Match Quality: Christian - TLC matches. Ladder matches. Opponents such as Chris Jericho, Jack Swagger, Alberto Del Rio, Edge, RVD, Kurt Angle, Sting, Rhyno, and obviously all the tag matches. It probably is just my preference, but Christian beats out RVD in this category. No knock on Rob Van Dam at all...
Match Quality: Rob Van Dam - Jerry Lynn, Jeff Hardy, Edge, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Christian, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and other legends have all grappled with RVD. Including gimmick matches galore! Whether it was his wild matches in ECW or memorable showcases in WWE, the man always lived up to the hype inside the squared circle.
Promo Skills: Christian And Rob Van Dam - No reason to even debate. Christian was superior in promos and had way more personality when handling a microphone. RVD had his moments of greatness, but Christian was constantly entertaining in this role. Heel, face, whatever.
Business Success: Christian And Rob Van Dam - I put them in the same category. Outside of rare times in TNA, ECW, and WWE, neither man was truly THE MAN! They mostly hung around in the mid-card scene delivering top notch matches and just waiting for their chance to shine. While it did arrive, both were short lived. RVD was due to himself. Christian was due to other reasons. Thus, maybe we can judge merchandise sales? Crowd pops? Tough to decide who was the bigger 'draw' here. I would argue RVD has more name value but argue Christian spent most of his career in WWE, which is obviously the biggest machine in the business.
Bottom line: Both are similar in many different areas and to this day are the perfect veteran presence in WWE to carry into the next generation of champions. While one was better in an area, the other was better in another. The debate flip flops every which. However, there can only be one answer.
Who was better - Christian or Rob Van Dam?
Thanks for reading. Let me know what you think below in the comment section!