Rob Van Dam coming back practically shocked the WWE fan base. It seemed no one knew about it, and then at WWE Payback, the announcement happened live on PPV. I myself was sitting with friends enjoying the show, thinking WWE was putting on a good PPV in the middle of the summer that wasn’t connected to the Big 4.
I didn’t think they would add to the excitement, but I was happily wrong. I sat there with friends as we all mumbled under our breath, “it’s just a DVD, it’s just a DVD, he’s not returning”. Then the words, “Returning at Money in the Bank” popped up. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen several grown men scream like girls, but we were. And I don’t think we’d take it back.
RVD has been a favorite of the WWE fans for years. His lifestyle got him at odds with WWE originally, and coupled with his wife’s sickness, RVD left from full time wrestling with WWE years ago. This happened just soon after his first WWE and ECW Championship run. He made small comebacks off and on, especially when they were in the area he happened to be in.
RVD then decided to make a primetime comeback and ended up with TNA. For a guy like RVD, this was the perfect situation. It was a low travel schedule, he had family nearby, and he was making good money to be there. On top of that, he was originally being booked well at a top face with them.
Then TNA took the show on the road and added more travel. To me, this is what changed up RVD’s plans a bit. And maybe plans of other older stars in wrestling who were there such as Tommy Dreamer and Kevin Nash. Nash saw the signs early and left, as did Booker T and Mick Foley.
Dreamer saw a better future with a WWE connection too. There have also been rumors about Jeff Hardy considering a WWE return and even Sting’s name has popped up a bit. This has been confirmed by the Icon himself when he claimed he was quite close to signing with WWE a while back.
RVD was with two contracts on the table, and in my mind, both were probably identical. TNA would offer nice money and a slightly lower travel schedule. But what I feel changed things up would simply be the WWE brand. He also would only work TV and PPV, then some live events. It would be a Lesnar type of deal in a way which has been working quite well for WWE the last few years with former top talents.
RVD is coming back to start a rivalry at Money in the Bank and fans are now invested even more so than they were before. To me, Payback scored quite well with critics and was one of the better WWE PPVs of the year. That alone could help sell me into watching more this summer. But the RVD signing made WWE must see TV. And add in that we could be seeing this further add to the Paul Heyman guy stories this summer, and well, can you really stay away?
Now the question is, who will he be rivaling? We’d have to throw Punk and Lesnar, the two ideal guys for him, out of the window. The same can be said about Daniel Bryan and John Cena.
It may come down to who RVD wants to work with and how much say he knows he can have with them. To me, the rivalry should be with Curt Axel.
Number one, RVD can seriously help put over this guy and Axel has a ton of respect already backstage. It’s funny for a guy who was jobbing and not even making TV 3 months ago to have that kind of respect. But, I digress.
His skill in the ring helps him a lot and the mouthpiece that Heyman is brings a lot to the table. There is already a small connection. And it may not even begin as a rivalry, rather a small friendship that develops into something. Axel needs a top tier rivalry to get him over and it seems the
Triple H one is gone. So who better than a returning RVD?
RVD is gonna have the fanfare and fans that make anything he does must see. This makes him perfect for Axel who needs that type of guy to work with.
RVD would also want to work with this type of person. He could get victories over him but also lose too, so it can add to the story and make him still look good.
The issue with this is that RVD is under a short-term deal. So he may want to work with a bigger name, or even be involved in the Money in the Bank match to win it if we get real crazy.
So names like Christian could be thrown out there due to his vet status and friendship with the Whole F’N Show. To me however, the ideal thing WWE would want to sell would be a rivalry with Axel. It helps that Heyman is also going to be involved of course.
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