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Sunday, January 1, 2017

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The Overrated: Alberto Del Rio

By @__Doug___

Alberto Del Rio was one of the hottest talents that the WWE had signed. With Rey Mysterio on his last legs, Del Rio was viewed as the spiritual successor to the face of the Latin American market. This article will show how badly that idea failed.

Del Rio was signed from CMLL in 2009. Once he left developmental, Del Rio debuted on Smackdown with the Mexican Aristocrat gimmick and started a feud with Rey Mysterio. Putting him in a high-stakes feud so early means that the company had faith in the man. The long term program did help Alberto as that did legitimize him, but at the same time, that was probably his peak when it came to feuds, as what followed after it was not pretty.

After the Mysterio feud, we have Del Rio winning the clusterfuck known as the 40 man rumble. While Del Rio was a fresh face in the main event scene, it was way too soon for him and the fans reacted accordingly. Building to a feud with Edge, he was on a mission to fulfill his destiny. That was the beginning of a very turbulent run in the title scene for Alberto. This looked like one of the worst built WHC title matches that the company had since the belt was introduced. The only other one that seemed in the realm of this terribleness was Sheamus/DB and Del Rio again vs Jack Swagger. The match itself was good however, with Edge rightly winning. A longer feud would have been ideal for Del Rio and Edge, but Edge’s retirement changed things. A loss to Christian and a move to Raw soon followed.

After an uneventful stint, logic would dictate that Del Rio would fall back and settle into the midcard role for a bit. This seemed the case when he was background fodder to a Big Show/Mark Henry program that was emerging. However, they tried to go back into the dipping well with this one giving him MITB for the WWE Championship. He then cashed it in after the match at Summerslam between Cena and Punk in order to become the new WWE Champion. While I think him winning the title was a terrible idea, I get why they did it. Del Rio isn’t an overwhelming presence (compared to guys like The Miz), and he would be perfect fodder in a story that wouldn’t be centered around him. Del Rio had the same issues that Punk had during his first WHC reign. ADR was not even a key part of Raw compared to the likes of Punk, Cena, Miz, Truth, HHH, or even Kevin Nash. That’s not a good thing for a champion. Fast forward to the end of the year where he lost the title and got injured.

Returning from injury, Del Rio ended up back on SD and again started to go after the World Heavyweight Championship. After failed stints in the main event scene on both brands, you would think he’d finally go back to the midcard. Nope, didn’t happen. Immediately, he had entered a title feud with Sheamus (because for some reason, everybody has a feud with Sheamus at least once a year). The only thing noteworthy about the Sheamus/Del Rio feud was that the company ran an angle with Sheamus stealing Del Rio’s car and using Tout (man that service was terrible) to brag about it. After ADR lost this snoozefest, he had another snooze feud with Orton (when he was on airplane mode).

Things would turn around for Del Rio and for once things started to click. Ricardo Rodriguez, the target for bullying and antics for years, was beaten to the point where Del Rio actually stood up for him. This act against Big Show (the bully), led to ADR gaining support from the crowds. This fresh face turn worked for a while, as he became a worthy champion. A champion of the people. The goodwill went to crap as soon as the crapfest feud with Jack Swagger happened. This was known as a placeholder for Dolph Ziggler to get his coronation as champion. Injury problems for Ziggler led to Del Rio winning the belt again and having terrible feuds before losing the belt to John Cena. That was pretty much the end for Del Rio as a main event player and after serving as a warm body for Batista, his time came and went.

Round 2 of Alberto in the E started off great with him winning the US title from Cena cleanly to a cheering crowd. Once again it went to crap with MexAmerica, a terrible idea from the beginning. Fans soon tuned out, and as much as he tried, to get himself over, it did not work. Luckily Kalisto got the US title away from him after a series of quality matches. Del Rio also joined the doomed LON, whose purpose was to get Roman over.

Alberto failed with not just one run, but two runs with the company. For a small period of time, he was getting reactions and seemed to actually be the next Latin American star that the company has craved, but ultimately, he was bland. He was a snooze. One day he might go back to the WWE and maybe find success like he has in Mexico or in the Indies during his short stint in between WWE runs. For that reason however, he is overrated.



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