April 3, 2011—World Wrestling Entertainment produces the 27th Wrestlemania event. On its card is a World Heavyweight Championship match featuring "The Rated-R Superstar," Edge, defending his title against No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio. It is one of three headlining bouts and a match that, many expect, will crown a new champion and create the company's next top villain.
The match opens the show and, in a somewhat shocking twist, Edge retains the title. One week later, he is forced into retirement due to a neck injury, leaving the World Heavyweight Championship vacant.
Alberto Del Rio is, naturally, named one of the Superstars to compete to fill the vacancy and Christian, Edge's long-time partner, is the other. Again, Del Rio is denied the title when he loses to Captain Charisma at Extreme Rules.
In fact, Del Rio would be denied championship gold all of the way to August, when he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated CM Punk to become WWE Champion. The title reign fans had expected from the day Alberto debuted on WWE had finally arrived, and the second-generation Mexican performer would assume his role as the most hated man in the company—or not.
The title reign lasted less than a month, as Del Rio was soundly dispatched at Night of Champions by John Cena. He would win the title again a month later, but the damage had been done.
Uneven booking, as well as lack of evolution in character and in-ring presentation had fans completely tired of Del Rio's act and Superstars such as CM Punk, The Miz, R-Truth and the returning Chris Jericho became far more interesting to the general audience.
That did not stop the WWE's creative team from trying, desperately, to push Del Rio down the collective throat of the WWE Universe. After all, when Vince McMahon gets an idea in his head to push someone to the top, he will do any and everything possible to get them there and get the fans to accept them.
Del Rio challenged for the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship at TLC in December 2011 and Over the Limit, Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Night of Champions in 2012.
And in every one of them, he lost.
Now Del Rio finds himself in a predicament. He remains a top star within WWE, but he has been beaten so many times and has become so stale that fans are finding it difficult to care about anything he does.
His largest reaction comes when Ricardo Rodriguez introduces him during his entrance. His character is, essentially, the same exact character that debuted two years ago and that little growth in the amount of time can only hurt.
Alberto Del Rio remains a fixture of WWE television and will probably been shoved into a number of pay-per-view title bouts between now and the time he exits McMahon's sports-entertainment empire, but it will be despite the fan reaction and it will be at the expense of a performer who should have been more for the company.
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