Former Wrestler Rob Van Dam Reflects on Encouraging Encounter with Promoter Predicting Future World Championship

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During a recent episode of the 1 Of A Kind podcast, WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam recalled a story about being discovered by wrestling promoter Ron Slinker when RVD was still working in USWA. 

RVD noted how Slinker saw him as a future World Champion.


“A wrestling promoter called Ron Slinker from Tampa, Florida discovered me in USWA. He was there, working a little bit with Bill Dundee, but mostly to have his eyes on his son-in-law Dennis Knight [Mideon in WWE]. He saw me and was like, ‘Kid, you’re gonna be a World Champion someday.’ He brought me down to Florida, he gave me the name Rob Van Dam, he got me the job in WCW [after talking] with Bill Watts.”

RVD also recalled Slinker advising him to use the 5-Star Frog Splash.

“Slinker said, ‘It’s a pretty move, but most of the guys you’re wrestling are a lot bigger than you. You need a finishing move that’s more impactful.’ I was like, ‘Damn, really?’ I thought about it … and came up with the 5-Star Frog Splash.”

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In the world of professional wrestling, there are countless stories of how wrestlers were discovered and given opportunities to showcase their talents. One such story involves WWE Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam, who recently shared his experience on the 1 Of A Kind podcast.

During his time working in the USWA (United States Wrestling Association), Van Dam caught the attention of wrestling promoter Ron Slinker. Slinker, who was in Tampa, Florida at the time, had primarily come to observe his son-in-law Dennis Knight, who would later become known as Mideon in WWE. However, it was Van Dam who stood out to Slinker.

Impressed by Van Dam’s skills and potential, Slinker approached him and said, “Kid, you’re gonna be a World Champion someday.” This statement not only served as a vote of confidence but also opened doors for Van Dam’s wrestling career. Slinker played a pivotal role in shaping Van Dam’s future by giving him the name Rob Van Dam and helping him secure a job in WCW (World Championship Wrestling) through his connections with Bill Watts.

But Slinker’s influence didn’t stop there. He also provided Van Dam with valuable advice on developing a finishing move that would leave a lasting impact on his opponents. Recognizing that Van Dam often faced opponents who were larger in size, Slinker suggested that he needed a move that would be more impactful. This led Van Dam to create his signature move, the 5-Star Frog Splash.

The 5-Star Frog Splash quickly became synonymous with Rob Van Dam’s high-flying style and electrifying performances in the ring. It became a move that fans eagerly anticipated during his matches and contributed to his success as a wrestler.

Reflecting on his journey, Van Dam expressed gratitude for Slinker’s guidance and support. Without Slinker’s belief in his abilities and the opportunities he provided, Van Dam may not have achieved the level of success and recognition that he did throughout his career.

This story serves as a reminder of the significant role that promoters and mentors play in the wrestling industry. Their keen eye for talent and willingness to invest in young wrestlers can shape their careers and propel them to great heights.

As fans, we can appreciate the impact that individuals like Ron Slinker have had on the wrestling world. Their contributions behind the scenes often go unnoticed, but their influence on the careers of wrestlers like Rob Van Dam is immeasurable.

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