When Alberto Del Rio took the World Heavyweight Championship from The Big Show at the SmackDown taping Jan. 8 in Miami, many WWE fans and followers were surprised at the outcome.
For one thing, a top title like the World belt does not change hands often on free TV. For another, Del Rio appeared to come out of nowhere into a title picture that had been focused on Big Show, Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler for so long.
According to a report on WrestleZone, the reason for the title change had to do with Big Show’s contract. Remember last year when, in storyline, Big Show was fired and then reinstated with an “iron-clad” contract and a new heel turn?
Apparently, according to WrestleZone, that contract may not have been so iron-clad after all. Big Show’s real contract was expiring, and negotiations on a new deal were not going anywhere.
So, according to the report, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon pulled the trigger on a Del Rio title run:
At the time of the taping in Miami, that was actually considered potentially to be Big Show's last match in WWE. Later in the week, the company and Big Show came to terms, and he hasn't missed any shows.
Del Rio is set to face Big Show in a WHC rematch at WWE Royal Rumble 2013 on Jan. 27 in Phoenix.
The WrestleZone report further says that WWE was not happy that the negotiations with Big Show had gone down to the wire. But now that Del Rio is the WHC titleholder, the report states, “the plans have changed, as Del Rio is the focus of the show going forward.”
That last statement appears to reinforce WWE’s faith in Del Rio as a top performer. It also sends a message that WWE plans to build up Del Rio’s future storylines to keep him at the top of SmackDown’s roster.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.