Alberto Del Rio’s face turn may soon encounter its first major challenge that has nothing to do with The Big Show, Dolph Ziggler or anyone else drooling over his World Heavyweight Championship.
According to the website Wrestling News World, Rey Mysterio is expected to return to ring action Friday night at a house show in Los Angeles. WNW states that Mysterio is not scheduled for any more events beyond Friday night, including next week’s Raw and SmackDown shows.
That makes his status unclear for next weekend’s WWE Royal Rumble 2013 in Phoenix. But there always is a chance he could appear in the Rumble main event. WWE often likes to use pay-per-views as star returns—especially in a Royal Rumble match.
Mysterio has been away for the past several weeks tending to a personal family issue. While he was gone, his one-time nemesis Del Rio has done a face turn and captured the World Heavyweight Championship.
And that is where things could get interesting.
If Mysterio does make it back to a full-time schedule, everyone will be watching for his interactions with Del Rio. After all, Del Rio broke into WWE with a Mysterio feud that saw the masked superstar get injured at the hands of the Mexican Aristocrat.
During his program with Mysterio, Del Rio grabbed every opportunity to humiliate Mysterio. He once promised the SmackDown audience he would invite Mysterio to the ring to clear the air between them. Ricardo Rodriguez then came down the ramp carrying a mask-wearing Chihuahua.
Now that they are both on the same side of the fence, WWE following will watch and wait for the first encounter between them. That encounter definitely will not happen at a house show because WWE would want the maximum exposure that TV can provide for that historic moment.
WWE appears to have anointed Del Rio as the next top Latino babyface—a position held for so long by Mysterio. It will be interesting to see how willing Mysterio is to relinquish that mantle.
Sin Cara was supposed to be the one to take that mantle from Mysterio. But Sin Cara is not half as over with the WWE fans as Del Rio is...even when Del Rio was a heel.
Perhaps WWE will team Del Rio and Mysterio in a match, just like it did on this week’s SmackDown in pairing former foes Del Rio and Sheamus in a tag-team match. Maybe the company has another idea up its sleeve, like a possible Mysterio heel turn and the re-ignition of their earlier feud.
It is anyone’s guess how WWE will handle the Del Rio-Mysterio relationship. And it is the unknown that will bring people back to their televisions week after week to see what happens.
Isn't that the way WWE always does things?
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.