Alberto Del Rio is famed for his armbar submission and the meticulous breaking down of that limb before he executes the move. Yet everything in Del Rio’s backstory—both in wrestling and in reality—suggests that this performer should be far more calculating when employing a game plan.
Firstly, Del Rio is a second-generation Superstar who has grown up around the business, so he has been exposed to different tactics and methodology is whole life. He was also a successful amateur wrestler and MMA fighter, so he is used to employing tactics to exploit his opponent’s weaknesses.
Then there is the Alberto Del Rio mythology that the WWE installed with his character, which portrays him as coming from a rich Mexican family. Traditionally, privileged families make sure their offspring are taught tactics as part of their schooling—such as fencing, chess and cadet training—so this aspect of his past would also fit in with someone who is extremely calculating.
These elements combine in such a natural way that it seems incomprehensible that Del Rio’s character is not already more methodical in his approach.
Small flashes of calculated cunning have been seen in the past. Locking John Cena out of the Hell in a Cell in 2011—so he could pin the weakened CM Punk—is a prime example of him using his understanding of the situation to gain an advantage.
Del Rio’s character should use this logic on a far smaller scale in every match—such as using a jab when fighting smaller opponents, or taking the legs out from a high-flyer—to form a part of his overall identity.
This does not mean Del Rio should move away from targeting the arm entirely, as the WWE have made sure that is a very successful tactic for him to employ. However, he should be more dynamic in his approach—especially when against an opponent who would be difficult to submit because of size or knowledge—as a route to him being less predictable in the ring.
Uncovering some of Del Rio’s underutilized talents could really appeal to the audience.