In this day and age in professional wrestling, aerial moves are at an all-time high. Rob Van Dam put the high-flying maneuvers on the map with his flips over the ropes and moves like “The Van Daminator,” in which he would throw a chair at an opponent and execute a jumping back kick into the chair, plus “The Five-Star Frog Splash” from the top rope.These moves, combined with his laid-back attitude and unique charisma, have made Van Dam one of the most popular talents in wrestling. SN: What can fans expect from you in your return to Impact Wrestling?RVD: There’s going to be certain fans who haven’t seen me in a while or never at all that will be surprised that I’m still RVD. I still move the way I used to move, and they are still going to appreciate the distance. All these other wrestlers are trying to emulate me, and I’m thrilled to inspire.Whatever I do different with the way my body moves, the way I execute my moves, all of the people will realize this is why they love RVD. Sign up for DAZN to watch 100-plus fight nights per yearAfter a short stint in WCW in late 1992, Van Dam took ECW by storm by maintaining the longest reign as World Television champion from April 4, 1998 to Jan. 29, 2000. The company folded in early 2001, and the Michigan native appeared on WWE television that July.Van Dam accomplished everything in the WWE. He was a six-time Intercontinental champion, a four-time Hardcore champion and a three-time Tag Team titleholder, and he achieved the thing for which many get into wrestling when he defeated John Cena to capture the WWE title in June 2006 at ECW One Night Stand.WRESTLEMANIA 35Match card | Schedule | Buy PPV & ticketsVan Dam let his contract expire and left the company in June 2007. Beyond sporadic appearances and short returns here and there, he never came back full-time. He made his debut for Impact Wrestling in March 2010 and left in 2013. During his time in the promotion, Van Dam went on to win the X-Division championship and won the heavyweight title by defeating A.J. Styles later that year.Since 2015, Van Dam has taken a light schedule and has been wrestling only a handful of matches per year. Impact recently announced he would be returning for one night — Thursday at United We Stand — to team with his good friend Sabu to take on one of the best teams in the world in The Lucha Brothers (Pentagón Jr. and Rey Fénix).Van Dam spoke with Sporting News about signing a deal to return to Impact starting at the TV tapings on Monday, April 29 at the Rebel Entertainment Complex in Toronto. He also spoke about how the company has changed since he debuted there at the beginning of the decade and the John Oliver/WWE controversy.MORE: 10 great moments that define WrestleMania like no otherSporting News: You are returning to the ring Thursday for Impact at United We Stand when you team up with Sabu against Rey Fenix and Pentagon Jr. But we are excited to help you announce that you have signed an extended agreement to return to Impact Wrestling.Rob Van Dam: It looks like you are going to be seeing my face around for the foreseeable future. We have an agreement to where I will be sticking after the show on Thursday. It does have a beginning and an end, but they can extend, so this is something to start us off. I had agreed to one match, and then we talked about and discussed doing their upcoming tapings after the show on Thursday and a couple of television tapings over the next few months. We looked at the schedule moving forward, and they asked if I was available. I told them I was.We will see how it goes. It’s a pretty friendly schedule, which has always been important to me. I want to be home more and on the road less. That’s still something I’ve done since I left WWE in 2007. Impact with their schedule and the position they want me to fill for my career seems like a perfect situation. Hopefully it will be mutually beneficial, and we will see “The Whole F’N Show” back on television. Let’s see how all these new guys matchup to me. I’m not there to compete with the guys who have stolen all my moves (laughs). I’m pretty much there to be myself.SN: What was behind the decision to have a schedule like this and sign with a major organization again?RVD: The motivation for me is business. I’m always willing to listen to good business. That’s still an interest of mine. The last three years I’ve averaged 10-12 matches. This year it will be a little more, but not much more than that. Even if it was double, that’s still a relatively light schedule compared to when I was with WWE and doing over 200 matches a year. I had enough of that schedule. I was on the road full-time. I also get treated better outside of WWE than I do there.That’s how I’ve always felt. Whenever fans spot me, they say, “RVD, you are a legend.” People treat me like I’m a legend. And I am a legend. I feel like I’ve been walking the globe for over a hundred years (laughs). When I’m in WWE, it’s hard to feel as appreciated because there are so many other stars and agendas. That’s part of their business. They will take advantage of you if you let them.I’m in such a better mental position after being gone for so long. I feel like this part of my life is rewarding for all the years of hard work and everything that I’ve been through up to this point. I’m happy with life now, and I find the universe takes care of me in a good way with Impact Wrestling. It’s more about opportunity and the one that has presented itself. Hopefully, it will be good for everybody.SN: What changes have you noticed from afar now to what Impact was back then?RVD: When I joined Impact in 2010, at the time they had started doing live television on Monday nights opposite Raw. They brought in some former WWE guys. They changed their mindset right away and pulled away from live TV and started focusing more on trying to get their brand established and less time on trying to compete and knocking the top guys off of their spot. I don’t see WWE changing for a while of being on top.Now, they aren’t focusing on trying to be No.1. They are focusing on being the best they can be and not worrying about everybody else. I think Impact has grown tremendously and will continue to do so.SN: John Oliver came out with HBO show late Sunday night and discussed things like the unionization of wrestlers, wrestlers being independent contractors and wrestler deaths vs. other sports. You see how wrestlers are viewed as independent contractors, and that’s been the big topic of discussion. Do you think wrestlers, especially in WWE, should be considered employees?RVD: I haven’t watched the whole thing. I saw like half of it before this phone call and will watch the rest. That is another subject where I have a different opinion than most of the others. I enjoy being an independent contractor because that gives me more control. It would help a lot of people; we all aren’t in the same position. You said especially WWE. When I have had this debate in the past, when people say wrestlers should be independent contractors, it is a general term. They say wrestlers should have insurance. Do you mean all wrestlers? Like the guy who runs one show, once a year at the county fair, should his wrestlers have insurance?Where do you draw the lines at? Because if you are just talking about the WWE and their monotonous schedule, then you are only talking about one company. Wrestling isn’t general enough to have this conversation unless you are specifically talking about one company. It’s not like high school, and there is a career day, and you are filling out all this paperwork to know what profession you want to be in. They offer mechanics, being a teacher and a doctor. I don’t think pro wrestling is an option when you are in school because it’s a very niche, niche career that’s controlled by very few people on top that run it. You’re an independent contractor trying to get booked, trying to learn the school and the craft and trying to advance. I think that’s how it should be.If you are talking about WWE, if you want health insurance, get it put into your contract. Do you think that Triple H doesn’t have health insurance? Of course he does. When you work out your deal, it’s your job as an independent contractor to get everything you want out of that deal. You want hotels, and car rentals paid off? Get it put into your contract. As an independent contractor, I have never had a problem with that. I think that it works well.SN: Oliver also went into Vince McMahon (and) called him an a—hole. A lot of people have different views on him. What was your relationship from the time you went in there while you in ECW to the time you left?RVD: Vince has always shown me nothing but respect. He’s always gone out of his way to make me feel that he likes me and appreciates me for being there. I didn’t have the kind of relationship that the top guys have where they know him and joke around with him and hang out in his office and banter around ideas. I’ve only had a couple of serious one-on-one conversations. One of them was to bring ECW back. That was my idea, and we talked about it. That made the relationship a little bit closer, as I would speak to him every day about ideas.You have all these from ECW who are now under contract like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio and Chris Benoit. I told him to give us one night to let us do our style. Outside of that, I didn’t have those talks with him. We would pass each other and stop and say, (In a Vince McMahon voice) “Hey Rob, how are you doing?” He would always make an effort to talk. It would be a little bit awkward for him and me. It meant a lot because it would show that he’s going out of his way to let me know I had his ear even if I didn’t have too much to say.SN: I don’t know if you listen to Bruce Prichard’s podcast, but he did an episode on you. The topic came up when he said Triple H didn’t view you as worthy of having the world title. You came right into the company and were put into a high profile position in title programs with Steve Austin, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker. From afar it seemed like Triple H had something against you in general. Do you feel that was always the case?RVD: I do. But at this stage of my life, I don’t have the hatred that a lot of wrestlers have towards him. Like we would be sitting in the locker room getting ready, and my mind is in this competitive mind because it has to be that way. It’s hard to look at that big picture when you are inside of it all. It’s like, “Hey, f— that guy. I’ll kick his ass.” That is how it felt. Now, being it away from it all, I see things completely different. He definitely had a right to his opinion.I certainly can’t fault the guy for not loving the way that anyone else did. The guy is now in charge. He maneuvered himself through life where he’s the guy that’s in charge of everything. He doesn’t have the same values as I do. None of us have the same values. The way I look at now is he never saw me as a top guy or worthy of the push. I look at it as it’s his right to say that and to feel that way. A lot of incidents proved him to be right because there was some resistance when I burned out and I’d avoid the office. When you look at it like that, I wouldn’t have been the person to build the company around. I’m not necessarily the person to make something around because of my values. I didn’t want to be a puppet to channel their values because I already had my own. A lot of my values don’t go along with theirs.There would be days I was high on marijuana, as I’d be in the car smoking all day. If Hunter thought it was risky … I agree. When I was put in that main event position, I got busted for marijuana and proved that skepticism to be correct.Sign up for DAZN to watch 100-plus fight nights per yearSN: On Thursday at United We Stand, you will be teaming up with Sabu for the first time in a long time against Rey Fenix and Pentagon Jr in the headliner. What does it mean to be teaming back up with a good friend once again?RVD: I’m looking forward to it. Sabu is the only person in the industry that I feel is like my real brother. We have had each other’s back in and out of the ring all over the world for many years, and not to mention that he trained me, so we are very like-minded in what we think is a good idea about a match. I’ve always enjoyed my matches with someone that likes to approach wrestling the same way I do, like Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio and Sabu. He’s been my favorite tag-team partner. I’m looking forward to the match.Hopefully I don’t hurt him, because I always do that like picking him up and tossing him onto someone. I used to break his jaw while we were training while doing a back kick. That’s what I learned when I was getting into it training with him in the Original Sheiks backyard. We took a couple of weeks off after that. When we returned, he told me to take a couple of steps back and then throw it and, boom, it worked out just fine. I’m glad he’s on my side and looking forward to doing some of our cool tag team moves.