What inspired Big Show's recent push and when Rob Van Dam may return are questions the latest WWE rumors can answer.
Many fans aren't going to like WWE's reported reasoning for having Big Show go after the WWE Championship, but there are a number of potential returns to get excited about. Van Dam could be back as a late Christmas present, a high-flyer could be on his way back and a former Divas champion could rejoin the roster.
The latest backstage word on Eva Marie and Damien Sandow is of interest as well.
The following items aren't undoubtable facts, but they come from trusted pro wrestling sources. Let's dig into the reports and rumors, starting with Van Dam's possible return date.
Rob Van Dam's Return
Van Dam's most recent run was a welcomed surprise. Even his biggest fans couldn't have expected him to outdo his work at TNA by such a high margin. Now, we can't wait until he gets back.
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, has some insight on when that will be. The report reads that Van Dam "will be back to work for WWE before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view in January. RVD is expected to work from the Rumble through WrestleMania XXX and likely a month or two after."
That's great news for WWE's depth.
Sheamus is scheduled to be back around then and several part-timers should be joining the company as well. Getting Van Dam back before the biggest event of the year is smart, as WWE is going to need all the high-profile options it can get when creating the WrestleMania card.
Michelle McCool Coming Back?
The first-ever Divas champ could be back with WWE around that time as well.
Bryan Alvarez of F4WOnline (subscribers only) reported that McCool "was in serious talks about coming back, and the feeling was that now would be a good time because she could make it back in time to set up a run leading a big WrestleMania payoff."
This would be an intriguing move, as AJ Lee vs. McCool would be a fresh matchup. The Divas division, in general, could use a fresh face after so much Bella-centric programming.
Layla El would certainly be happy to reunite LayCool, as she's rarely been onscreen in recent months.
Heat on Eva Marie
The scarlet-haired Total Divas cast member is reportedly making enemies beyond those in the ring.
Marie debuted on the main roster before women like Paige and Emma, and WWE has been focused on more on Divas like Kaitlyn. That is apparently not sitting well with her peers.
Wrestling Observer, via WrestleZone.com, reports that "the Eva Marie backstage heat remains prevalent, and the feeling is many in the WWE locker room are baffled that she has been fast tracked to the main roster despite her lack of wrestling experience."
WWE's adoration of Marie is surprising because of how bad she is in the ring now. It's not surprising at all to hear that folks with more experience and more ability would be upset with her current position.
As long as Total Divas is around, Marie will be as well. WWE is continually finding way to connect the reality show with its wrestling product, and Marie is one of the least appealing aspects of that relationship.
Evan Bourne, Preparing for Takeoff
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reports the following:
Evan Bourne will finally be making his return to the ring for WWE some time in the next 4-6 weeks. WWE officials expect Bourne back before the end of the year, at least working live events. No word yet if he will return to TV before the year is over.
Bourne has been cleared for a while now, competing against Sami Zayn (h/t PWTorch.com) at an NXT event in March of this year. Perhaps WWE has a story in mind for him or even a repackaging of his character.
While not the all-around talent that the elite Superstars are, Bourne's athleticism is an asset for the company, especially the tag team division.
When he finally does get back in the ring, it will be a surreal experience, with some fans perhaps forgetting about him in his absence.
Damien Sandow's Position
Despite losing to John Cena after cashing in the Money in the Bank contract, Sandow appears to be held in high regard.
F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "WWE officials are looking at Damien Sandow to be more of a top guy now."
Beating Kofi Kingston on Monday's Raw isn't exactly resume-changing, but it's an improvement over the constant losing he did when he held the Money in the Bank briefcase. If this is WWE's view of Sandow, it's surprising that he hasn't been added to the Alberto Del Rio-Cena World title match.
Perhaps he's next in line for the World Heavyweight Championship after Del Rio.
Like it or not I am still your uncrowned world champion. If you disagree, you are wrong.— Damien Sandow (@TheDamienSandow) November 10, 2013
Why Big Show Took Daniel Bryan's Place
Big Show is now the No. 1 contender and doing the kind of damage to Triple H and Randy Orton that many fans hoped Bryan would be dishing out.
For those hoping that this is temporary and that Bryan will be back in the WWE title picture soon, the backstage word isn't hopeful. PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that the reason Big Show is challenging Orton is that "there's a renewed effort within WWE to put larger or bigger wrestlers in the spotlight."
The report goes on to say that "The feeling among upper management is that Bryan isn't a larger than life wrestler and that's what fans want."
If this is true, this is evidence that WWE is truly out of touch with the audience. Bryan may not be the elite draw his fanbase thought him to be, but putting Big Show in the spotlight is not the way to increase ratings or what fans want.
Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and Kurt Angle are no giants, and all served as headliners for WWE. Debate Bryan's star power all you want, but size is not always the answer, as WWE may soon find out with Survivor Series.