How Do You Solve a Problem Like Alberto Del Rio?
Alberto Del Rio has become a much-maligned figure within the WWE roster. Feuds with Sheamus and Randy Orton have been drawn out and overextended, with Del Rio clearly not the favorite to win the feud and refusing to go away after defeats.
The cocky Mexican aristocrat has sunk from the heady heights he was once pushed to and now has all the momentum of a parked car.
He's the winner of the largest Royal Rumble in history and former WWE Champion (and perennial World Heavyweight champion number one contender) though. What can be done to rescue a man the company clearly has (or had) a lot of faith in?
He is never away from the limelight, and his recent feuds include the biggest names in the company. The two aforementioned SmackDown stars have come along after work with Cena and CM Punk, and before that Rey Mysterio.
But the majority are sick of him being shoved down our throats. From his battles with “destiny” to his one-dimensional ring approach and cross armbreaker submission move, the son of legendary luchador Dos Caras is now a stale figure in WWE.
What can WWE do to rejuvenate him?
Tag Team with His Brother
Del Rio’s clearly not working as a main-event threat at the moment, yet has some obvious talent.
WWE’s recent approach to these characters has been to give them some time in the tag team division to stay relevant. In years gone by this led to a fractious tag division, but the company are now building real tag teams and some very good feuds.
With Del Rio’s history, his pedigree of belts he has won and wrestling heritage, could Alberto make an impact in the division with a sidekick in tow?
There is currently a gap for a heel team with Cody Rhodes’ injury halting the momentum of Rhodes Scholars.
There is also the history with both Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara, where an easy feud can be made.
The most interesting part of this tale is the emergence of Alberto Del Rio’s brother in NXT, and there is a very obvious chance here to bring one new talent in to the mainstream whilst rejuvenating a current star.
Guillermo Rodriguez has only been with the company a short time, under the name Memo Montenegro, but it is yet to be seen whether WWE will acknowledge their family ties on screen.
The team would garner cheap heat very quickly, and with Del Rio's recent history they would clearly be a threat for the titles.
Leader of the 'Hispanic' Uprising
With WWE the lines between cultures are always pretty blurred. With Del Rio’s recent interest in Primo & Epico’s Manager Rosa Mendes, it would be no surprise to see Alberto join forces with the Puerto Rican’s.
Del Rio and Rosa could be the heads of a new stable, using WWE’s oldest heat routine that foreigners fight Americans.
Alberto Del Rio, Primo & Epico and another maligned tag team Hunico & Camacho could join together under loosely Hispanic ties, and use this to make an impact in the company.
They are generally all heels, and they are all currently lacking any direction. With burgeoning face teams like CoBro and The Usos to come up against, before taking on higher profile feuds possibly, there is at least some scope to open up matches on Superstars, Saturday Morning Slam and Smackdown.
It would also give Del Rio some direction, and he could call on his new lackeys to help him rather than just Ricardo Rodriguez running around like a clumsy waiter.
This also adds another dimension to any feud he is involved in as a singles competitor, both for him and the face he is targeting.
The Million Peso Man
As a man who is billed to have incredible wealth, with his choice of impressive cars at every event, Del Rio could easily revive the gimmick of a true legend, the original Ted DiBiase.
It’s an easy role, adds another layer to his heel gimmick and can offer so many possibilities.
He can buy stable members, title opportunities and victories.
Wade Barrett was once a man to hire, whilst a monster like Lord Tensai could bully a smaller wrestler for Del Rio, or even take apart someone like Kofi Kingston and then sell the Intercontinental Title to Alberto.
There is also an easy chance for WWE to reintroduce Ted DiBiase Jnr, a very simple but effective basis for a feud. Provoking the memory of a legend and making the young DiBiase immediately like-able with the crowd. He would get over as a face in seconds.
Exploit the easy character references he has, making a slight change with a real basis in the story WWE have told, and people will at least follow the development of character.
The Revolt of Ricardo Rodriguez
WWE have had this one in their locker for a long time, and I am surprised that have not given this feud the go ahead yet.
Whilst not as toned as your average WWE star, Ricardo can wrestle, and he is popular with the WWE audience.
He provides the humor, and the WWE Universe would get behind him if he fought back to the abuse Alberto gives him. The underdog story is wrestling’s oldest trick, and Ricardo would be perfect in that role.
Del Rio would start off the physically imposing, experienced professional, but the tale of David versus Goliath would give Ricardo at least one victory along the road, if only a short spell of glory that sees him crushed.
WWE clearly want to show Del Rio as a destructive wrestler, and they are also clearly high on Rodriguez as a character. This could showcase both these positives, but in a fresh light.
They could add depth to both their characters, and even give Rodriguez the chance to settle his differences with Del Rio and return to a partnership, either in his original role or a tag team. The former would be especially effective if he were to return and screw over a face Del Rio’s is up
The WWE have been behind Del Rio for a long time, yet he is failing to deliver high end results.
Aspects of his feuds have worked, but the negatives outweigh the positives. This can be attributed to both the character and WWE’s refusal to let Del Rio leave a feud within a suitable time, instead he hangs on again and again for another chance.
Adding some variety to his role, and readjusting his standing on the roster (whether short-term or long-term) could freshen up a man they clearly want to succeed.
Del Rio is capable of putting on physically grueling and technically outstanding matches, it is just his character that stops him getting over with the crowd.
Something new could open him up to so many different routes, and maybe stop him from sinking away into the depths of WWE’s failed projects.