Alberto Del Rio is now the World Heavyweight Champion following an extremely quick turnaround from being a full-fledged heel to a hero that people want to cheer.
I was not a big fan of Alberto Del Rio for several reasons. Firstly, I thought the man lacked charisma in the ring, and his promos could bore me to tears at times.
I am not denying that his in-ring skill was very high quality, it just felt like he was lacking something.
It has now become apparent that what he was actually lacking was a face turn.
I never really bought into the whole Mexican aristocrat character. When Alberto Del Rio became WWE champion, it actually devalued the title in my eyes because it never felt like he should be holding it and therefore, matches where he retained the title felt irrelevant.
This actually helped CM Punk add value to the title as he had already been screwed out of it by Del Rio in a move that shocked and annoyed the WWE Universe and the IWC.
When he was beaten by Punk (who still holds the title today) at Survivor Series 2011, it allowed the WWE to remove Alberto Del Rio from the title picture, letting them invest time in the character and try to get him over.
Del Rio was a classic case of being pushed too soon by WWE and this spoiled his heel run in many ways.
Over the past month, WWE has turned Del Rio into a face by having him protect Ricardo Rodriguez from unnecessary bullying from the likes of 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal) at Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2012.
This move immediately made me mark out for Del Rio and really get emotional about a character that previously I had not cared about.
When Del Rio sped down the ramp like a bullet from a gun to save his compadres on the Spanish announce team and his loyal friend Ricardo Rodriguez, it finally felt like Del Rio could be a big star.
To confirm the face turn, WWE placed Del Rio in a series of tag matches on Raw where he teamed up with The Miz, who is also a face at the moment.
It did not take long for Del Rio to get involved in the title picture as an enemy of the Big Show. The 500-pound giant proceeded to bully Rodriguez in a number of segments, going so far as to place him in a World Heavyweight Championship match purely so he could have his way with him.
With Del Rio being the face that he is, he interfered in this match on the December 28 episode of Raw by attacking the Big Show from behind, properly sparking a feud with him for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Watching the Last Man Standing match on SmackDown was a great experience as a new fan of Alberto Del Rio. It showed me that he can overcome large odds and look good doing it.
Nobody thought he would capture the World Heavyweight Championship as it was an episode of SmackDown, Big Show has been dominant, and he also has not held the title for that long.
However, with Del Rio becoming champion, it has sparked a faster rise in popularity for the Mexican superstar and has also allowed for a rematch at the 2013 Royal Rumble that is now more highly anticipated due to the fact that Del Rio has been consistently getting the better of Big Show on Raw and SmackDown.
Not only has this immediate push as World Heavyweight Champion helped Del Rio, but since he turned face, his promos have been engaging, and of a much higher quality than he had been previously pumping out.
There was a time when I would have rather had my toilet break during a Del Rio promo than a Divas match, that’s how much the character bored me.
But since turning face, it is hard to argue against the fact the Del Rio is much more engaging and the crowd is finally behind the character, responding to him the way that they are meant to.
No reaction as a heel means you’re a pretty bad heel. Alberto Del Rio has turned this around by becoming extremely popular as a face.
Only time will tell if a heel turn in the future would work out as being more successful, but I think Del Rio is simply destined to be a face.
Had WWE realised this a year ago after he lost the WWE championship, Alberto Del Rio could have been enjoying the success he is now a lot earlier, and the scope of SmackDown would have looked a lot different with Sheamus chasing Del Rio for title shots.
Nevertheless, Alberto Del Rio is now on the right track in terms of his character and his career, and although it is early days, I see Alberto staying face for a long time to come and becoming one of the most popular superstars in WWE because of it.