The long-term heel only just turned babyface in December at the TLC pay-per-view, in a throwaway angle with the Three Man Band.
Inexplicably, he turned heel right back again when he ran over Santa Claus (really a dressed-up Mick Foley) in the opening of the Christmas Eve edition of Raw.
Yes: He ran over Santa Claus. No doubt that will help him win over the child demographic in huge numbers.
And then, if things weren't complicated enough, he went back to being a babyface right after, with the Santa debacle seemingly being forgotten about.
OK, Del Rio's turn hasn't been booked terribly well (Vince Russo may as well be writing his character arc). So why has he been awarded the belt?
Well, in this week's (subscribers-only) F4W Newsletter, Bryan Alvarez notes that the company is keen to rectify its mistakes with Del Rio and push him as its next big babyface star. WWE feels that the belt will aid his cause greatly.
They decided very recently that they are going with Del Rio as their new Hispanic superstar, with the idea being that they're going to push him harder than both Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara and try to make a genuine Mexican drawing card out of him. This had been the idea when he was first signed. It's possible they were going to wait until the Rumble and perhaps decided that since they botched up his turn so bad they needed to change the title and try to remedy the situation quicker, plus a title change would have been lost in the shuffle at Rumble...
Considering the disappointing state of Sin Cara's WWE career, as well as Rey Mysterio's age and litany of knee troubles, it's not a surprise the company has chosen to go with Del Rio as its next big Hispanic star.
However, whether or not he can succeed as World champion after being booked in such an erratic manner remains to be seen.