photo from Dreamworks' Shrek 4
In a sport that thrives on showing people things they've never seen before, Del Rio has been the same character since his debut.
He's grown stagnant, cutting the same promo week after week, using the same arsenal of sneak attacks and "vicious beatings." Even Ricardo, the little ring announcer that could, has lost his power to compel an audience to feel anything (good or bad) for Del Rio.
Alberto's brackishness, coupled with the loss of wrestling as a (faux) competitive sport, makes it much harder for fans to connect to Del Rio's character in any meaningful way.
They won't tune in or buy tickets to see what happens next because what happens next is what happened last time they wondered what would happen next, and the time before that: absolutely nothing. Losses (that don't matter) don't have any effect whatsoever on Del Rio (who never changes).
In order for Del Rio to "pay off" his antics (and the crowd to go home happy), he must suffer some kind of comeuppance that transcends the record books and splits his fat-cat persona right down the middle.
If Del Rio is an affluent member of the Mexican aristocracy, saddle him with a symbol of Mexican poverty. Instead of driving a fancy car to the ring, he's riding down on the back of a pack mule led by Ricardo, face contorted with indignity and rage. ("Ass" jokes ensue on what's supposed to be PG TV.)
The set-up is easy: force Del Rio into a situation where his honor is at stake and he's willing to bargain anything to prove himself, maybe a shot at the World Championship (vs. Sheamus) or someone making fun of his lauded "Destiny" (vs. Christian).
The (much cheaper to rent than a sports car) donkey becomes a stipulation at the next pay-per-view he loses, Del Rio spends the next two to three months playing angles to get out of it and the fans finally feel like that rich evil-doer finally got what he deserved.
Jeremiah Allan is a sometime comic book writer, 2009 graduate of Ottawa University (Ottawa, KS), and senior staff writer at Wormwood: a Serialized Mystery. Check the article archive for previous installments of Undercard Overhaul.