In a match pitting a seasoned veteran vs a talented, international wrestler, RVD will face Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions. They tried to inject Ricardo Rodriguez, the betrayed former employee of Del Rio, into the dynamic to give the feud some depth, but the pairing of RVD and Ricardo has come off as a bit clumsy and unnecessary. RVD’s never been much of a talker and has been able to build a career by pointing to his shoulders three times; he doesn’t need a manager. In a feud that has been great in the ring, but only passing in the promo department, the styles clash between the two grapplers and RVD’s overwhelming popularity will be the selling points here.
RVD has had a hell of a comeback, generating huge interest from fans, creating massive pops when he walks out, and reliving old glory days. He’s been able to do this all as he effectively functions in the role that Chris Jericho had. His momentum has been largely unimpeded since his return racking up many victories and having a handful of legitimate losses. One of those losses has come to his opponent on Sunday night, the World Heavyweight Champion, Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio’s recent WHC run has admittedly been a good one, that reminds me of the way that heel Champions were booked in the Attitude Era–strong, but fallible enough to potentially lose. He wins most of his watches, and the only losses that he’s suffered have been to his PPV opponents (except for a loss to Orton) in order to make a defeat look feasible and viable. Del Rio has beaten Ziggler, Christian, Rhodes, and Sheamus in this title run, with a nasty aggressive streak that has colored his matches and made them interesting.
There hasn’t really been much of a story here for the feud; Van Dam is on a hot streak and wants the title, while Del Rio doesn’t want to lose it and keeps yammering about being a role model to Latinos. Fortunately, these two work well enough together that the matches will be entertaining enough for that not to matter to much. With Del Rio’s mean streak and RVD’s high-flying style, the match will be a nice mix of styles. Will Del Rio’s in-ring brutality slow down Van Dam or will Van Dam rise above Del Rio’s in-ring style and technical approach? This could be a wash-rinse-repeat of the last match Del Rio had against a seasoned vet, Christian. While that was a good match, I can’t see that happening, here. The involvement of Ricardo Rodriguez may play a huge part in this match that will surely feature good wrestling and smart storytelling. My fellow writers speculate that Ricardo may turn on RVD, revealing true allegiance to Del Rio, a keen move that could work well for Ricardo’s career. Get ready for a good-to-great match between ADR and RVD.