Judging by the championships and main-event opportunities WWE has already given Alberto Del Rio, they fully believe in his ability. The fans haven't been as quick to get behind him.
It's clear that the former Lucha Libre star is talented, but Del Rio must improve his ring psychology in addition to expanding his villainy to begin drawing more genuine heat and garner respect. He's currently too one-dimensional to satisfy wrestling's fickle fans.
Del Rio can be a valuable asset to WWE, a throwback villain with smooth ring work and a lineage of wrestling greatness.
Despite this only being his third year in the WWE, many fans have had little patience with his development. Some of that is likely born from resentment from being force-fed the Mexican aristocrat.
Unlike the painful flops in Tensai and Ryback, Del Rio will eventually win over his critics. A few tweaks will change things dramatically for him and lead him to the kind of career WWE is hoping for him.
As sound as working on his opponent's arm before going for the cross armbreaker is, it can't be the only strategy Del Rio employs. Right now, watching him wrestle is predictable.
There should be more times where he strays from arm-centric offense and focuses on other body parts.
Some matches should have him engage in a slugfest, he's fully capable of pulling that off. His MMA background should be implemented more, having him deliver more punches and submissions.
Del Rio cannot continue to produce cookie-cutter matches that follow the same pattern. It takes away from the realism of the match.
In an MMA fight, a fighter may lean heavily on one style, but will vary up their offense depending on their opponent and the situation at hand. Del Rio has to do the same in WWE rings.
In the era of little to no kayfabe, of fans picking apart the product via the Internet, a heel has their work cut out for them to get people truly angry with them.
Had Del Rio been around in the late '80 and early '90s, his current cowardly and arrogant character would likely have thrived. Attacking defenseless wrestlers and not releasing his submission holds after the bell would be enough to draw out vicious boos.
WWE is going to need a bigger storyline in order to get Del Rio over as one of their major bad guys.
Perhaps he can instigate a corporate takeover and, while owning and running the WWE, he can book himself main-event slots and have rules changed in his favor. This idea could have Del Rio be a fusion of Triple H and Edge in their most hated days.
Otherwise, Del Rio may head a stable. Some of Ric Flair's most successful years as a heel came as the leader of the Four Horsemen.
He could berate and belittle his stablemates and could pick on WWE's weakest members.
Whatever WWE decides for him, it can't have him stand still. With a creative storyline, Del Rio could be headed for a long heat-soaked career.
Having him remain where he is will have fans grow increasingly tired of him.
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