As announced last night at WWE Payback in Chicago, IL, ECW legend and former WWE and TNA superstar Rob Van Dam will be returning to WWE at its annual Money in the Bank event on July 14. The wrestling world was instantly set abuzz by this news, with people wondering whether RVD would be a part-time superstar that would contribute to the product or just "go through the motions" like he did during his run in TNA Wrestling.
With "Mr. Monday Night's" return leaked out by WWE, I have drawn up five possible feuds for him once he returns next month.
Right now, there is nobody getting a bigger push in WWE than Paul Heyman's newest "guy" and client, Curtis Axel. The former Michael McGillicutty, Curtis Axel is now the new WWE Intercontinental Champion, less than a month into his repackaging. Like Axel, Van Dam is a former WWE Intercontinental Champion and has crossed paths with his father, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, before, notably on an episode of Heat in 2002.
Another similarity between the ruthless third-generation Superstar and the "Battle Creek Barbarian" is that they both have relationships with Paul Heyman. Now, Heyman is helping Axel make a name for himself on Raw, but before he was doing that, WWE's mad scientist was giving Van Dam a chance to succeed on Extreme Championship Wrestling.
There is no doubt in my mind that Axel and RVD would have some spectacular matches, with Axel's gritty and punishing style meshing well with Van Dam's high-flying abilities. Along with that, this could bring some much-needed attention on the Intercontinental Championship and help establish Curtis Axel as a legit force in the WWE spectrum.
This is another scenario for RVD if he were to return as a face. Ryback could have been white-hot off his heel turn the night after WrestleMania 29, but instead, he has lost both his chances at the WWE Championship (one via a no contest and another one in a Three Stages of Hell match). Although the "Human Wrecking Ball" has been carving his niche as a villain and is producing much better results inside the squared circle, he still hasn't had that feud where he really gets to showcase his abilities.
As seen a few weeks ago, Ryback and Daniel Bryan produced one hell of a match and, with RVD being a similar wrestler to the submission specialist, they could achieve similar results. This would also be a good rivalry to help introduce RVD to a new fanbase, as many fans have begun watching WWE since his departure in 2007.
Now, I think this would work either way, but RVD being the heel here would be fun. As seen last night on WWE Payback, it seems like Dolph Ziggler is being primed for a face turn. He showed a lot of heart, was a lovable underdog and sold perfectly to go with his never give up attitude.
RVD is very much like Ziggler. Both of them don't really have the build, sell like crazy and bring a lot of athleticism to the table. A feud like this would help both Van Dam and "The Showoff." First of all, it would reintroduce RVD nicely by having him go after a big name right off the bat. This would also help Dolph Ziggler establish himself as a face, since RVD is still a well-known name to many of the older fans.
Also, from an in-ring standpoint, the matches would be spectacular.
CM Punk and Rob Van Dam briefly crossed paths in WWE's version of ECW when The New Breed was feuding with the ECW Originals, but besides that, it is surprising that these two men have never really interacted, be it on the independent circuit or in WWE.
Like Curtis Axel, both men are Paul Heyman guys, but perhaps what is more important here is to look at their similarities. RVD made his name in ECW, while CM Punk made his name in Ring of Honor and other independent promotions. Then, they both went to WWE where they were not used to the best of their abilities for a short while.
Then, both men came out of their shells and became big names. Arguably, CM Punk is currently a bigger name than RVD ever was, but that's only motivation for their feud. Right now, "The Second City Saint" is known as one of the few men on the WWE roster who can produce good matches with anyone. During his heyday, Rob Van Dam was also known as one of the few guys who could do that.
This would be a great feud and, although I don't think it would draw money, it would improve the overall quality of the WWE product.