Submitted by Joren B. Apiquian, Pro Wrestling Writer
17 August 2016
On August 17th, news broke out that Alberto Del Rio violated WWE’s wellness policy, resulting in a 30-day suspension from television and house shows. Most superstars who have received this suspension typically serve their punishment and return to the ring once it is over. However, they always seem to serve an additional punishment in front of the WWE Universe. Take a look at “The Big Dog” Roman Reigns. He took two clean losses in the span of 48 hours after returning from his suspension. Ironically, there wasn’t a more apparent way of putting Reigns in the proverbial doghouse, especially due to the fact that he has been presented as an indestructible force since the split of The Shield.
With Mexico’s Greatest Export being the latest WWE Superstar to violate the wellness policy, what is going to happen after he serves his time? There have been a number of reports of Del Rio being extremely unhappy with his spot in the company and rightfully so. After a surprise return at Hell in a Cell 2015, Del Rio slayed John Cena’s United States Open Challenge in impressive fashion. Things were looking up for the Mexican Aristocrat since then, but as WWE’s 50/50 booking has proved time and time again, that was not the case. With a lackluster program with Kalisto over the U.S. Championship and the disaster that was The League of Nations, Del Rio became just another Superstar lost in the shuffle. Once the smoke cleared, he has been regulated to being enhancement talent for younger stars in the making. At the age of 39, Del Rio doesn’t have many years ahead of him inside the ring. He may want to spend his remaining years in a company such as TNA, ROH or even a second run in Lucha Underground, where he would be portrayed as a star with a storied career. He may be older than most performers in WWE, but he has a lot left in the tank and can still benefit from the brand extension if booked properly. With that being said, what does WWE have to do to get audiences invested in his character again?
Saying that Alberto Del Rio’s rise in WWE during his debut in the summer of 2010 was meteoric is an understatement. Not too many performers can say they made Rey Mysterio tap out in their in-ring debut, but Del Rio can. He also kayfabe injured other notable names like Matt Hardy and Christian in the following weeks. He was booked as a vicious, bloodthirsty competitor that still thought of himself as a class act. With his personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, and luxury car being a staple of his entrance to the ring, it was quite easy to dislike his character. The heat he garnered was second to none. That is exactly what’s missing from his character in the New Era. Rodriguez was released by WWE in July 2014 and has been outspoken about the company since then. Who knows what happened to Del Rio’s cars? A cocky manager who isn’t named Zeb Colter could be exactly what he needs to get back on his feet to impress management backstage. Just look at how Maryse and Lana invigorated The Miz and Rusev’s careers. Pair Del Rio with someone like Eva Marie or even his real life flame Paige. Although Paige is a fan favorite and currently nursing a very serious neck injury, she has shown exceptional work as a heel in the past. If able to do so with her injury, why not pair her with her boyfriend, Alberto Del Rio? Yes, it is true that her punk rocker chick gimmick may clash with Del Rio’s luxurious personality, but why not acknowledge their relationship while it is still flourishing. Hasn’t this new era been called the “Reality Era” numerous times in the past? It couldn’t be any worse than Del Rio’s pairing with Zeb Colter.
Alberto Del Rio is a character in WWE that is almost identical to his real life persona. He is outspoken, brash and not afraid to speak his mind, which may have been his downfall in WWE. He is an extremely talented performer with an amazing professional wrestling lineage. It is hard to tell if Del Rio will remain in WWE or not once his suspension is over, but whatever may happen, we definitely have not seen the last of the Mexican Aristocrat.