Rob Van Dam and Logical Challengers for World Championship at WWE SummerSlam
World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio (Credit: WWE.com)
The No. 1 question heading into WWE SummerSlam 2013 is who will challenge Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship on August 18 at the Staple Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
One might think Dolph Ziggler is a natural fit for the role given that his highly anticipated title run ended so abruptly, and that he lost his title rematch through no fault of his own in a controversial disqualification.
Unfortunately for Ziggler, dumping AJ has landed him far away from the title picture in a feud with relative newcomer Big E Langston.
Ziggler vs. Langston at SummerSlam is imminent, which means the fate of the World Heavyweight Championship on the night is wide open.
Let's take a look at some of the logical candidates who could attempt to wrestle the belt away from Del Rio in Los Angeles.
Rob Van Dam
Former WWE champion, Rob Van Dam. (Credit: WWE.com)
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio looks promising on paper. The clash of styles could potentially make for a botch-riddled eyesore, but smart money says these two would put on a fluid, hard-hitting display of athleticism.
RVD is a household name on the most impressive winning streak this side of Daniel Bryan, so there's no doubting his credibility as a title challenger.
I'd tune into this matchup just to see the innovative ways in which RVD would almost definitely counter Del Rio's cross armbreaker and step-up enzuigiri.
Together, these two boys can put on a kicking clinic.
RVD is a 42-year-old, part-time worker, so it's doubtful WWE would want to put its second-most prestigious championship on him mere weeks after his return to the company.
I wouldn't rule out RVD capturing the title at some point, but he won't hold it for a significant period of time. It will most likely happen toward the end of his run with WWE so he can retire on a high note.
Del Rio works a full-time schedule and doesn't have a history of publicly bad-talking WWE like Rob Van Dam, so it's a tad too predictable that Del Rio would retain in this one.
Then again, RVD could potentially win the championship only to lose it moments later to Damien Sandow, should Sir Money in the Bank elect to cash in.
It would instantly give Sandow huge heat, but it's much too soon to pull the trigger on his cash-in. There's a ton of untapped entertainment value in him holding onto the briefcase for the next few months.
Former two-time world heavyweight champion, Christian. (Credit: WWE.com)
Christian and Randy Orton's feud two summers ago was stellar, but Christian definitely got the short end of the stick.
His two World Heavyweight Championship reigns were brief and ultimately booked to make Randy Orton seem like the superior wrestler and champion.
Christian is a popular veteran who is always in shape and can go in the ring as well as on the microphone. He deserves to be a fixture in the World Championship scene, and to enjoy at least one lengthy title reign.
Del Rio and Christian have only ever had solid matches together, with their ladder match at Extreme Rules 2011 for the then-vacant World Championship being their most memorable and thrilling outing.
I say turn these guys loose on each again at SummerSlam, sans ladder. If given enough time, the match could be the pair's best work together yet.
For some viewers, this matchup might lack intrigue because it's already taken place on pay-per-view.
For most viewers, and certainly anyone who watched their ladder match closely, the fact that they've met before and proved they have the chemistry to deliver is exactly what makes a rematch for the belt at SummerSlam so appetizing.
As evidenced by Christian's laughable stints as world heavyweight champion and his demotion to intercontinental champion in 2012, WWE simply doesn't see main event potential in the man.
If WWE does plug Christian into the title match at SummerSlam, it's only so Christian can once again make his opponent look like a strong champion by losing to him in a terrific bout.
Christian deserves better. He deserves the gold.
Mr. Money in the Bank, Randy Orton. (Credit: WWE.com)
Randy Orton fans have been grumbling for almost two years now about the second-generation star's exclusion from World and WWE Championship-related storylines.
A match versus Alberto Del Rio at arguably the second-biggest pay-per-view event of the year would surely drive home that the Viper is back in title contention.
It would be curious for the recent Money in the Bank winner and holder of the WWE Championship contract to also receive a shot at the World Championship.
I don't support Orton winning either title since there are fresher champions available in the form of Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler. But if he's going to capture more gold, he might as well do it in historic fashion.
What if Orton beat Alberto Del Rio to become the new world champion, and then successfully cashed in his WWE Championship contract on the winner of Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena later that evening?
Orton would be the first WWE undisputed champion since Brock Lesnar in 2002, and the first man to win the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship belts in two separate matches on a single night since Chris Jericho bested The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at Vengeance in 2001.
What if Orton won Del Rio's championship, only for Damien Sandow to cash in his title shot on Orton? It would be the first time in history that one Money in the Bank holder cashed in on another.
Orton has already had nine combined "big two" championship reigns. He's considerably younger than RVD and Christian, and their resumes would benefit more from the bedazzlement of a World Championship reign than Orton's.
More importantly, we've been fed Orton vs. Del Rio matches ad nauseam over the past year or so. They work well together, but not so well that we need to see it again.
As the late Owen Hart might have put it: "Enough is enough and it's time for a change."
Former two-time world heavyweight champion, Big Show. (Credit: WWE.com)
There is absolutely no positive side to giving Big Show the nod on this one.
Del Rio spent the first two months of 2013 beating Big Show. He doesn't need another rub from the gargantuan veteran, and viewers don't need to endure another embarrassingly cheesy Big Show babyface run.
Even the slightest chance that Big Show could walk out of SummerSlam as world heavyweight champion makes me an inexplicable blend of nervous and bored.
Under no circumstances should Big Show receive the title shot.
Which of the aforementioned contenders would you most like to see challenge Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam?
Did I miss any worthy candidates?
Let me know by commenting below!