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Greetings, salutations, and howarya? Welcome to the column that grabs hold of and issue and beats the heck out of it from both sides; BrewGuy's Yin and Yang.

Spiritual Mixup: Tragic1 was kind enough to point out to me that I've got my Yin and Yang mixed up! I've been using the Yin for good, and the Yang for bad - however, according to the books of philsophy, The Yang is good, and the Yin is bad. This, of course, introduces a little tad of chaos into the column, but nothing that we can't get through together if we try.

So, with that in mind:

The Yin is the bad. The Yang is the good.
The Yin is pessimism. The Yang is optimism.
The Yin is a glass half empty.The Yang is a glass half full.
The Yin is why I don't like it. The Yang is why I do.

Got that? Excellent! Thanks to Tragic1 for straightening things out for me (and you).

The Subject

When the ECW factor was introduced into the Invasion angle, I saw Rob Van Dam on my TV screen for only the second time. The first time was during one of the very few ECW telecasts I caught, where he did a run-in at the end of the show. So when RVD and Tommy Dreamer staged their run-in, I was excited. Here's the guy that so may people have raved about, but I'd never seen in action, but now I would.

Now that I've had a chance to see RVD in action, I feel I can give a bit of a unique perspective. My 'evaluation' of Van Dam is based strictly on what I've seen on WWF TV. Here's what I think:

The Yin

A gimmick frought with problems
RVD's gimmick is a simple yet solid and time-tested one: "Don't blame me 'cause I'm better than you are". He's cocky, he's arrogant, he poses a lot; in short, as JR likes to say "He's in love with himself". There's one big trick to this gimmick; the guy's gotta win, and win a lot. And RVD has done just that. In fact, he hasn't yet lost a match during his WWF tenure. He pinned Jeff Hardy to win the Hardcore Title at Invasion, he pinned Kane during last week's Raw (albeit with help), and he pinned the King of the Ring, Edge, during last week's SmackDown! (albeit with help again). So, who is RVD going to lose to? At this point, the only guys who RVD could job to and keep his gimmick (as it is now) intact are The Rock, and The Undertaker (and before you bash me on this, I did not include HHH or Benoit because they're not active.). How long can this go on for? If it goes on TOO long, RVD could become the next X-Pac, who might never get out of the reputation he has now.

.....but can he talk?
I've seen exactly one interview with RVD on WWF TV, and it didn't exactly set the world on fire for me. Can he work the mic? Can he get the crowd riled up without pointing to himself and saying his name? Can he cut a promo that will get the crowd involved? I don't have the answer to these questions yet. From what I've seen so far, I have my doubts, but I'm certainly not going to bury a guy after ONE interview. Maybe two. ;) Still, he needs to show some mic skills, and soon.

The Yang

Wendy, RVD can FLY!
I've never been impressed this much in such a short amount of time with a wresler's ability. The SmackDown! tag match widened my eyes, and the InVasion match with Jeff Hardy dropped my jaw. Watching RVD matches have become a highlight of the show for me. From the Senton Somersault Splash (is there a real name for that?), to the Van Daminator to the 5 Star Frog Splash (just to name a few), RVD physical abilities are completely off the chart. At InVasion (and maybe one match afterwards), the commentators called "a guy who's in love with himself". After that, they've called him "an extremely popular competitor", simply because they can't ignore the cheers he gets, even though he's supposed to be a heel. Show me somebody who's done THAT before. The REAL scary thing is, he's just getting started.

A gimmick laced with success
You: "....but wait a minute, Brew - didn't you just say that the gimmick was frought with danger?" Me: Yep. But that doesn't mean it's not a good gimmick.

In wrestling these days, the cockier your character is, the more the fans will want to love it. Look at Steve Austin. Look at The Rock. Two guys who took their initial characters to such arrogant heights that even though you were supposed to hate them, you loved them. RVD has the same quality; the same "edge" that these two have. His charisma is massive, very much like (maybe even more than) Jeff Hardy; a guy who people absolutely love, yet he very rarely gets any mic time. If this keeps up, the level of popularly that RVD will garner is nothing short of scary.

The Question
Just how high in the WWF can Rob Van dam go?

My Answer
There's no doubt in my mind that RVD can (and will) be a main-eventer. He has the ability and the charisma necessary to carry the WWF Championship belt. But there's still a lot of questions that need to be answered; namely, can he work the mic, and can he do business the right way?

This gimmick has to end at some point. Perhaps he'll shoot straight to the top and take on The Rock, at which point he loses. That will break the "mystique" RVD's character, and show that he actually is beatable. The big question is, what then? RVD may have to learn to slightly re-invent himself. Maybe not to the extent that Austin has re-invented himself, but something will have to change. Something has to happen that tells me he's not gonna pull a Shawn Michaels and come walking out on some future Raw telecast to say that he's "lost his smile". And the indications that this 'something' will indeed happen. From all indications, RVD has been a model employee so far. If this continues, the sky is the limit for Mr. Monday Night.

Your Answer
Hey, you tell me!

'till next time!

[slash] wrestling

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