After spending a few months out of action, Rob Van Dam made his return to WWE programming tonight in typical explosive fashion the day after WrestleMania XXX.
WWE's Twitter feed has the news:
His return to the ring was a quick one vs. Damien Sandow as WrestleZone points out:
RVD in a good old fashioned squash match. Crowd very happy to see him. #WrestleZone— WrestleZone.com (@WRESTLEZONEcom) April 8, 2014
RVD hadn't been seen in a WWE ring since losing to Alberto Del Rio in a World Heavyweight Championship match at Battleground. According to WWE.com, RVD said that he needed some time off after falling just short in his attempts to capture a title.
Prior to Money in the Bank, Van Dam was away from WWE for six years. He competed in TNA for much of that time, but it never seemed like a great fit. RVD immediately received a huge reaction upon returning to WWE, and he proceeded to have a number of fantastic matches, including one against Chris Jericho on Raw.
Although Van Dam won more matches than Jericho has in recent years, he essentially took on the Y2J role once Jericho departed to focus on his band. RVD elevated the younger Superstars that he went up against, and while he was put into some high-profile matches, he was never booked to win pay-per-view bouts.
How should RVD be utilized now that he's back?
There are undoubtedly plenty of RVD fans out there who would love to see him win more often, but it's tough to argue with the role he has occupied since returning to WWE. RVD is 43 years old and is a former WWE Champion. He has essentially done it all in the business, and the best way for him to contribute now is to pass on his knowledge to the up-and-coming talent.
With that said, Van Dam is still capable of being a top guy in short spurts due to the fact that he has plenty of credibility with the fans because of everything he has accomplished over the years. Perhaps he has lost a step or two from where he was a decade ago; however, he has proven that he can still work at a very high level.
The WWE roster is quite deep right now, and the addition of RVD only adds to that depth. A number of strong, veteran performers have returned to action in recent months, which is huge for the company in terms of keeping things interesting after WrestleMania XXX.
Fans have been expecting RVD's return for quite some time, especially after he was reportedly backstage at the Feb. 10 edition of Raw in Los Angeles, according to PWInsider Elite, via Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com.
Van Dam also addressed his potential WWE return on Twitter, saying that he would be back "soon" when asked on Feb. 20:
RVD even had some fun with his fans on April Fool's Day by joking about his future plans:
I don't want to come back. I've had enough. I'm finished. April fools. Yay. That was fun.— Rob Van Dam (@TherealRVD) April 2, 2014
There is always plenty of turnover in the aftermath of WrestleMania, and the creative team usually uses it as an opportunity to press the reset button and try some new things. Van Dam could have excellent matches and entertaining feuds with a large portion of the roster, so WWE has some options.
The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to determining how RVD will be utilized moving forward. He's basically a rover in that he can be placed almost anywhere on the card and he can play pretty much any role. No matter where he is needed, he will almost certainly excel and make the fans care about the feud and subsequent match.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that the quality of the WWE product seemed to drop off once RVD took his leave of absence. He obviously can't elevate things on his own, but his presence isn't going to hurt by any means.
The WWE can use as much star power as it can possibly get at this point, and Van Dam is a major star in the eyes of most fans.
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