It was announced at the inaugural WWE Payback pay-per-view this past Sunday night that Rob Van Dam will be making his highly anticipated return to the company at next month's Money in the Bank event.
The announcement sent shock waves throughout the WWE, with rumors running rampant as to who RVD might target upon his return to the squared circle.
Aside from a one-off appearance in the 2009 Royal Rumble match, RVD hasn't competed in a WWE ring since December 2007. The active roster has changed quite a bit since that point in time, with many new faces crowding the main event scene.
However, RVD's comeback to the company has opened numerous doors as far as potential matchups in which we can see him competing. With the roster fresher than it's ever been, the possibilities are endless as to how many of the dream matches we've been craving could finally come to fruition.
Keep in mind the following list will pertain to both individual matches and rivalries in which we need to see RVD partake during the course of his WWE tenure.
That being said, how long will it be before we see these breathtaking bouts finally become a reality?
Within a matter of a month, Curtis Axel has gone from an overlooked member of the Raw roster to one of the most controversial Superstars in WWE today.
With various victories over the likes of Triple H, Chris Jericho and even WWE Champion John Cena, Axel has quickly risen up the ranks on the flagship show.
This past Sunday at WWE Payback, Axel soundly defeated Wade Barrett and The Miz in a Triple Threat match to capture his first Intercontinental Championship. With Paul Heyman at his side, I have hope that Axel will finally be the one to restore the lost prestige back to the title.
As two other "Paul Heyman guys," CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, look to do battle this summer, it would make perfect sense for Rob Van Dam to set his sights on Axel's prestigious prize upon his return. Heyman would be stuck between the two individuals, as RVD and Heyman have a long history together dating back to their ECW days.
Not only that, but a win over a former WWE Champion could also solidify Axel as a credible Intercontinental Champion. I could easily see these two engaging in a feud with one another as soon as SummerSlam.
Since losing the WWE Tag Team Championships at last month's WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Daniel Bryan has been on an absolute roll.
His matches have always been entertaining, but it wasn't until just recently that a fire seemed to ignite within the American Dragon, thus making his matches much more physical and intense.
As Bryan prepares for his rumored match with WWE Champion John Cena this summer, as per Wrestling Observer (h/t Lord of Pain), he looks to stack up victories against WWE's top stars in order to deem himself worthy of being a contender for the title.
Although he's overcome obstacles such as The Shield and Dolph Ziggler in the past, one icon he has yet to clash with is Rob Van Dam.
Bryan joined WWE three years after RVD departed the company, so these two have yet to clash in a WWE ring. That being said, I look forward to their inevitable encounter and hope it is as exciting as it seems on paper.
When Ryback first arrived on the WWE scene in April 2012, two comparisons were immediately made by many members of the WWE Universe. Of course, he appeared to be a Goldberg ripoff, but he also sported the same attire that Rob Van Dam did back in the day.
As Ryback ascended the ladder in WWE, he never once changed the design of his singlet. The colors would change, and so would his catchphrase, but he still sports the same attire to this very day.
Ryback stated in an interview with WWE Magazine (h/t Wrestle Zone) last summer that this is due to the fact that they both go to the same airbrush guy for their attire. Regardless, RVD was asked by a fan this past week if he plans on putting Ryback in his place upon his return to which he responded by tweeting (h/t Wrestle Zone), "On my list..."
After failing to win the WWE Championship from John Cena at WWE Payback, Ryback has been left with nothing to do, so why not pair him up with the former ECW Champion?
RVD's speed combined with Ryback's sheer strength could very well make for a match worth watching. Besides, the man formerly known as Skip Sheffield hasn't won a match on pay-per-view since last year's Money in the Bank event, so it's possible that his lengthy losing streak comes to an end at this year's installment against RVD.
On the subject of former Nexus members, I don't see why Wade Barrett wouldn't be a good choice to go one-on-one with the returning Rob Van Dam.
After coming back from a devastating injury last September, Barrett was primed for greatness. He defeated anyone who dared to step in his path of destruction, and it was only a matter of time before he was in contention for the World Heavyweight Championship.
However, winning the Intercontinental Championship on the New Year's Eve edition of Raw hindered his career more than it helped it, as he has lost a majority of his matches since then. Now that he's no longer holding the cursed title, there's a chance his career might be able to get back on track in the coming months.
Similar to aforementioned Superstars, Barrett needs a win that will catapult him to the top of the WWE. A win over RVD could do wonders for his career, and the match itself would be pretty solid as well.
If this match were to happen at any point, keep an eye out for teased tension between the two if they both compete in one of the two Money in the Bank bouts next months.
Since making their explosive WWE debut at last November's Survivor Series pay-per-view, no one has been able to put a stop to The Shield's reign of terror.
Exactly six months after arriving, The Shield captured gold at last month's Extreme Rules event, where Dean Ambrose became the new United States Champion, while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns emerged victorious as the new WWE Tag Team Champions.
In the past month, Ambrose has successfully defended his title against the likes of Kofi Kingston and Kane. His next challenger remains a mystery as of now, but I'm truly hoping it's none other than Rob Van Dam.
If Ambrose truly wants to make the star-spangled prize mean something again, he has to engage in a feud with a worthy opponent. RVD would be the perfect opponent for the Shield member, especially considering that the matches between the two would be nothing short of awe-inspiring.
RVD doesn't necessarily need to win the belt, but simply being in the ring with Ambrose is more than enough to make the U.S. title somewhat relevant again.
On Sunday night at WWE Payback, the WWE Universe was left in shock and awe as Alberto Del Rio resorted to dirty tactics to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship from Dolph Ziggler.
Del Rio reverted back to his villainous persona in the process, while Ziggler turned face for the first time in his career.
Because Ziggler is entitled to a championship rematch, I fully expect Ziggler to challenge Del Rio for the gold at next month's Money in the Bank pay-per-view. That might disallow Ziggler from crossing paths with Rob Van Dam at the event, but it's only a matter of time before they go one-on-one.
With Ziggler's sensational selling skills, there's absolutely no way these two can't face one another. In all honesty, I would pay to see RVD land a devastating kick on Ziggler just to see the bleached blonde Superstar sell it like a million bucks.
If Ziggler regains the World title sooner rather than later, there's a chance we could see these agile athletes do battle over the prestigious prize down the line.
For the three years that Rob Van Dam was in TNA, I had hope that we would see him back in a WWE ring one day. One of the primary reasons I wanted to see RVD make a comeback to the company was to see him go one-on-one with CM Punk.
As far as a feud goes between the two, there are a number of different directions WWE can go with it. Punk could bring back his Straight-Edge Savior gimmick and mock RVD's lifestyle, or bring up the fact that they are both "Paul Heyman guys" and battle over his managerial services.
Needless to say, the match itself would be a true display of sheer athleticism. I have no doubt that these two are more than capable of putting on an absolute clinic in the squared circle, so I'm eagerly anticipating their eventual encounter.
Sure, they crossed paths at various points on WWE's ECW brand a few years back, but a one-on-one bout between the two never came to fruition. With Punk's stock higher than ever at the moment, there's no better time than now for WWE to pull the trigger on this dream match.
With the WWE landscape always changing, there's no telling how many potential fresh matchups we can see Ron Van Dam partake in by the time he finally takes off again.
I'm sure that RVD will be more than willing to put over the younger talent during his stay, so the possibilities are endless as to how many of these listed bouts become a reality.
Is there a match that wasn't listed but you feel should be included?
Drop a comment below with your thoughts on wrestlers you'd like to see RVD lock up with before his time in WWE once again runs out. As always, your criticism and overall feedback is greatly appreciated.