Even the most devoted and loyal of Rob Van Dam’s supporters would be hard-pressed to say that his most recent WWE comeback has lived up to expectations.
While his heavily hyped return at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view last July garnered a big reaction from the crowd in attendance, his career has been in a free-fall ever since.
A dull program with Alberto Del Rio over the World Heavyweight Championship never truly got off the ground, nor did his short-lived and nonsensical association with Ricardo Rodriguez—surely one of the most mismatched pairings in WWE history?
He left a few months later in September and, sadly, he wasn’t exactly missed. He returned on Raw the night after WrestleMania XXX to little fanfare and has been languishing in the midcard scene ever since.
Things got considerably worse for Van Dam when he lost to Bad News Barrett on Monday’s Raw in a No. 1 contender match for Big E Langston’s Intercontinental Championship.
Having become entangled in the Real America post-breakup feud—their involvement directly led to his loss against Barrett—he will now take on Cesaro and Jack Swagger at Extreme Rules this Sunday.
While the bout will probably be perfectly respectable, is anyone that bothered about it?
The whole thing comes off like an afterthought on the pay-per-view. It’s hard to see how the former WWE champion’s career will be aided by being associated with it.
So we can likely dismiss Van Dam’s return as a flop—not a massive, Batista-level flop, of course, but a flop nonetheless.
With this in mind, is a heel turn the best way to revive his dwindling career?
Okay, so Van Dam is more natural as a good guy. As noted, however, being a babyface simply isn’t working for him right now.
Turning heel—for a while at least—may be the only solution.
It would open up the opportunities for several new programs and storylines for the 43-year-old. He could realign himself with old ECW boss Paul Heyman. Their shared history makes it a natural pairing.
Besides, Heyman is on a roll right now as a manager and could certainly use some new clients.
Van Dam could also join The Authority. Perhaps Triple H could recruit him to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship off of Daniel Bryan.
Honestly, the thought of perpetually laid-back surfer dude RVD interacting with uptight corporate types like Triple H and Stephanie McMahon alone sounds hilarious enough to warrant giving it a go.
Is it time to for WWE to give up on its current version of RVD and give him a bold new character direction? I personally think so.
Where else can he go as a babyface right now?