After shocking the wrestling community by beating the Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship on a pre-recorded edition of SmackDown, Alberto Del Rio successfully defended the title at the 2013 Royal Rumble by beating Big Show once again.
It wasn’t long ago that Del Rio was a heel that most fans found incredibly boring and stale, but just a few weeks after turning face, the Mexican star has not only walked away with the title, he has won over a huge portion of the crowd.
Del Rio and his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez are already two of the most popular faces the WWE has, and they’ve only been doing it for a matter of weeks.
That proves how talented Del Rio is and how well the WWE can push a star when the company is set on getting them over.
What It Means
While a victory at the Royal Rumble could signal big things for Del Rio and his run as a face, there is a better chance that the WWE is just biding its time before letting whoever they deem WrestleMania worthy win at Elimination Chamber.
No matter who walks out of the next PPV with the title, it’s clear the WWE sees Del Rio as the possible long-term replacement for Rey Mysterio in terms of being the company’s next Latino icon.
Big Show has been playing the heel character very well over the last six months, but it’s clear he is limited as a champion and is better suited as a monster heel without the title.
The WWE made the right choice giving the title to Del Rio.
After his first successful title defense, Del Rio now has to face the toughest test any world champion could ever imagine: the Elimination Chamber.
The Elimination Chamber match itself is one of the most dangerous in all of wrestling, but the fact that Del Rio will be forced to defend his title against five competitors makes the outcome unpredictable.
As surprising as Del Rio’s victory was on a taped edition of SmackDown, the fact that he retained at the Royal Rumble is setting the stage for at least one more title change before WrestleMania.
Don’t forget, Dolph Ziggler still has the Money in the Bank briefcase.
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