If Alberto Del Rio is ever going to be taken seriously as a top-tier talent by the WWE Universe, he has to put on the best performance of his career at No Way Out on June 17.
He won't have a better venue to do so and time is running out for him.
Del Rio has talent.
He may be one of the most underrated superstars on WWE's roster. Though he has a quality gimmick—a rich Mexican aristocrat who pays for his own announcer and drives expensive cars to the ring—fans are simply bored of him.
10 minute matches on Smackdown that end in interruptions aren't helping his cause any either.
Originally, Del Rio earned a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship set for Over the Limit. Wisely, WWE restructured the match to involve Randy Orton and Chris Jericho as well.
Fast forward one month, Orton and Jericho are suspended and Del Rio has another shot.
Fans were ecstatic about last month's Fatal Four-Way match. Why? Because the sentiment was that Del Rio versus Sheamus would be boring.
Unless things change again, fans are "stuck" with a singles match.
Though we don't know the stipulation yet, it's nearly irrelevant for Del Rio.
Regardless of what it is, he has to leave fans with a memorable match that won't be forgotten for a long time.
In fact, if it's a wonderful masterpiece between Sheamus and Del Rio, many still might not recognize Del Rio's talents because Sheamus is the more popular of the two and the champion.
Del Rio has to carry this match.
The ability is there. He has a mixed martial arts, lucha libre and amateur wrestling background.
It's the gimmick that needs some work.
Maintaining the persona of someone who thinks he is better than everyone else because of money or looks only works to some degree.
Look at the closest example—"Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.
DiBiase is in the WWE Hall of Fame as one of the most villainous heels of all-time.
Though he perfected his gimmick and held dozens of accolades in the wrestling industry, it never seemed to entirely translate over to the WWE.
There, he was a two-time Million Dollar Champion—a belt he created himself.
Similar men—Rick Rude, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff—gave fans the most memorable and despised personas in history, but they were never top-tier champions.
What would it take for Alberto Del Rio to become a believable main event superstar?
Each of the above relished in the Intercontinental title scene.
If Alberto Del Rio is comfortable competing for the lesser belt, it's perfectly acceptable to continue on showing off his money, insulting the middle class and producing forgettable 10 minute matches.
However, if he wants to be a viable World Heavyweight Champion, he needs to slightly alter his personality and perform phenomenally in the ring.
Alberto Del Rio has shown streaks—albeit short ones—of nastiness.
There have been times in which Del Rio has "snapped" on opponents, continuing to apply the Cross Armbreaker after the bell has sounded. In other instances, he's interrupted matches with devastating chair shots or picked off what's left of an already downed rival.
That nastiness has to continue.
WWE has given him a chance to build on that savage side in recent weeks. Hopefully now they give him the freedom to showcase more in-ring talent at No Way Out.
He has to first take advantage of the opportunity to truly shine. Then he needs to ride the momentum of a stellar match—won or lost—to produce a meaner side fans have never seen before.
If Del Rio can prove to fans he's more than a stuck up member of the upper-class, he'll have gained real heat rather than the boos that simply mean, "go away."
He's not getting any younger.
At 35, if he's going to convince the WWE Universe that he is a capable main eventer, he needs to prove it at No Way Out against Sheamus.
WWE brass already took one opportunity away from him last month. Giving him a second chance proves management's commitment to him as a main event superstar.
Best of all, fellow main eventers Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio are suspended. Brock Lesnar hasn't been on television much and fans aren't completely buying into The Big Show.
Del Rio isn't going to get a better time to shine. His future status relies purely on the next two weeks.
It's there for the taking.