Following his WWE return at Money In The Bank (MITB), which took place last month at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, former Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam told WWE.com, "There's a whole lot yet to come from Mr. Monday Night."
I didn't believe him at the time.
After all, it wasn't that long ago when "RVD" was mailing it in for TNA Impact! Wrestling over on Spike TV. I recall a match against Ken Anderson where they exchanged clunky spots at a snail's pace, then stopped and looked at each other before soliciting the crowd for applause.
You know, like "THIS IS AWESOME!" (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).
Puh-leeze. The man who once wore the ECW World Television Title was painting by numbers for a wrestling promotion that was milking whatever name value he still had. Even RVD acknowledged it was a "downward move," but on the bright side, the travel schedule was fantastic.
I don't think fans begrudged him for it. How could they? The man went to hell in back inside the squared circle and deserved to coast in his twilight years.
It's understandable then, to expect more of the same when he announced a return to WWE at age 42. THIS BUSINESS has never been kind to its elder statesmen, due to the physical demands it puts on a performer's body. He looked great at MITB and didn't hurt himself.
Then something strange happened. Instead of coming back, hitting a few signature spots and waving to the fans, Van Dam kept performing like he was still relevant in the championship title race. One good night became two, two became four and before I knew it, RVD was getting a crack at the crown against Alberto Del Rio at Night of Champions.
So much for the novelty act.
Van Dam's recent success proves that guys like Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho can be the rule instead of the exception. Also 42, "Y2J" has taken an active role at the top of the food chain, partly because he's got name value from the days of yesteryear, but mostly because he's kept himself in shape and still gives 100-percent when he's in the ring.
Even when he's trolling.
To that end, I think the expiration date we normally attribute to old-school wrestlers may need a second look.
That includes Goldberg, whose name has been making the rounds in recent weeks (thanks to this). While he's not on board for a WrestleMania return (yet), the idea that he can come back and do more than just spear 3MB for a cheap pop has me pondering potential storylines.
If Jericho and RVD can come back in their forties and pick up right where they left off, then so too, can Goldberg.
When I spoke to the former WCW star back in 2007 at a mixed martial arts (MMA) event, he acknowledged the Brock Lesnar debacle from 2004 and didn't sound opposed to the idea of trying to leave WWE fans with a better parting shot (though his subsequent stunner was just fine with me).
Anyone opposed to a second go-round?
I think Goldberg has evolved. Not so much physically or in his skill set, but in his mentality. Professional wrestling has changed and for my money, is more conducive to nostalgia acts looking to go the extra mile. RVD has done it to great results and there's no reason why Goldberg can't, either, if booked accordingly.
If nothing else, at least we know the spear still works.