While watching Payback at a bar in Baltimore last night, the crowd fell silent when a promo for Rob Van Dam ran across the screen.
The man who defined enigmatic while Jeff Hardy was still in the tag division appears to be on his way back to WWE in some way, shape or form for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. If he has struck a deal with the company, it needs to be more than a one-shot deal.
RVD was one of the biggest stars to emerge from the ECW Arena in Philadelphia—the same city that hosts next month's PPV. The appearance is clearly tied to the location. However, it needs to go on beyond a single outing. Van Dam can help bump a buy rate on a B-level PPV, but his value is greater than that.
The clear expectation is that RVD will compete in the Money in the Bank match. A former Mr. Money in the Bank, RVD had one of the most memorable cash-ins when he defeated John Cena at One Night Stand, making it one of the best WWE PPVs of the last decade.
Some might say he could raise the profile and prestige of this match by simply participating. However, RVD's impact should go beyond just a single match.
RVD has said that he would never sign on for a full-time WWE schedule. He doesn't like the grueling travel, media appearances and nightly mandates. He also, of course, doesn't like the Wellness Policy. RVD was forced to drop the WWE title shortly after defeating Cena due to a drug-related traffic stop with his friend, Sabu.
This doesn't mean that RVD couldn't sign on for a short run through the fall. He could participate in a few matches that really draw in the crowd and elevate younger talent. WWE has failed to utilize The Rock or Brock Lesnar to put over young talent. RVD shouldn't be the same.
How about these potential feuds for RVD?
Paul Heyman's newest client is the son of the legendary Mr. Perfect and grandson of Larry "The Axe" Hennig. Now, Curtis Axel is the Intercontinental champion, with victories over the likes of Triple H and John Cena. When RVD goes to catch up with Heyman, his old boss and friend from ECW and the Invasion, Axel takes exception.
He says that RVD's time has come and gone and that Heyman has more important things to worry about than reminiscing with a washed-up, has-been burnout. We get an Intercontinental title match at SummerSlam that puts over Axel.
With Daniel Bryan, Kane and Randy Orton ready to come to blows, The Shield need a new target. An aging superstar that literally burned his way out of the WWE returns and gets a shot at the MITB briefcase in his first match back. Then, he gets a shot at the IC title at SummerSlam? Sure sounds like injustice to me. Ambrose could work magic on the mic in a short feud with RVD that leads to a bout for the U.S. title at Night of Champions.
The intense monster Ryback has his own rules. He insists others know his rules too. RVD isn't much on rules. He thinks they are made to be broken. He doesn't understand why Ryback is so wound up all the time. The shaking, teeth grinding and yelling are all unnecessary to RVD, who just wants to chill out. In a Loser Leaves Town match at Survivor Series, there can only be one survivor between these two men. Ryback Smash. RVD rolls out with a few good PPV cheques and a DVD deal.
If RVD agrees to working this schedule for the next few months, it would freshen up the WWE's product and help make some new stars in the process.