Rob Van Dam's Ability to Make an Impact in Today's WWE

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistJuly 12, 2013

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Rob Van Dam is making his return to WWE on Sunday July 14 at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. This will be his first match back in Vince McMahon’s company since leaving TNA, and fans all over the world are anxiously awaiting his arrival. And as the anticipation builds, the question becomes the following: Just what kind of impact will RVD have not just on the event itself but on WWE in general?

The fact that WWE has yet to put Van Dam on television says a great deal about just how important it believes this night to be. The obvious intent is to increase the pay-per-view’s buy rate and to of course build excitement with the fans.

For me, this denotes that WWE Creative believes that RVD’s impact will be a very big deal indeed. But is it right?

There is no denying the fact that RVD is one of the most gifted athletes that the industry has ever known. His ability to combine a high-flying style with mat wrestling made him the perfect hybrid, a pro wrestler who could face any type of opponent and match his style in the ring.

He has always been a hard worker, a guy who gave his opponents quite a bit and as a result has looked good in return. At any given time during his past WWE career, Van Dam was one of the best talents in the locker room.

Let’s not forget about his popularity. The guy was over.

RVD is one of the most popular performers in WWE history. There is just something very appealing about Van Dam that sets him apart from everyone else. It could be his laid-back, carefree attitude that draws fans to him. Or it could be his name, the fact that fans love to chant those three letters which have always been so closely associated with another trio of letters, ECW.

The truth is that RVD is such a likeable guy, and when you combine that with his skill in the ring, you have a pro wrestler that fans will pay to see. That is what has always made him valuable and what WWE is likely banking on will be the case this time out.

So does that mean that he is a lock to win the All-Star Money in the Bank ladder match?

At first glance, it seems perhaps a bit unfair that Rob would even get a shot at the WWE Championship in his very first match back in the company. There are so many guys who have yet to receive that opportunity, and some of those names are actually involved in the second ladder match on that night for a shot at the World title.

Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Fandango and Antonio Cesaro have yet to taste championship gold. Jack Swagger is the only man involved who is a former World champion and for some fans, he is not even the clear favorite to win this match.

These talented younger Superstars are getting their shot, but does a returning veteran like Rob Van Dam even deserve to be in the running? For that matter, does he deserve to be in such a high profile match, despite having not wrestled in WWE since 2007?

Again, WWE evidently believes so. And it obviously believes in RVD’s ability to make an impact not only during the event but after that as well.

So assuming that RVD does not go over at Money in the Bank, then what will happen to him afterward?

The truth is that RVD has been gone long enough from WWE that there are now several Superstars that he perhaps has not worked before. And that means that there are many opportunities for new rivalries that could make for some great TV.

The Shield is the first obvious heel that comes to mind. If Van Dam were to work a program with either Ambrose, Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns, then we could be in for some exciting matches indeed. Curtis Axel is another name, and the biggest reason why this particular match would be interesting is due to Paul Heyman’s presence at ringside.

After all, Rob Van Dam has always been considered a Paul Heyman guy, right? Imagine the drama if Van Dam crossed paths with either Axel or maybe even Brock Lesnar.

Then there’s Daniel Bryan, arguably the hottest worker currently in WWE. Even though he is a babyface right now, that could change at any moment. The fact is that even if Bryan remained face, he and Rob could have a great feud. Bryan’s aggressiveness paired with Rob’s intensity would surely provide some very entertaining moments inside the ring and out.

So what kind of impact will Rob Van Dam have on July 14’s Money in the Bank pay-per-view and WWE itself? Will he capture the fans’ attention and make them believe in him like he did the first time around? Or will he perhaps fall flat, a veteran Superstar who just has no place in a company filled with younger, rising talent?

Is Rob Van Dam truly money in the bank?