Recently crowned world heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio will defend his title against Big Show at WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. Making a statement in this match is vital in solidifying Del Rio’s reign as champion and new role as a babyface.
Del Rio’s face turn was weak. At December’s TLC PPV, Del Rio saved his announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, and the Spanish announce team from 3MB.
Considering the lack of heat Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre and Jinder Mahal have, the trio wasn’t the best choice to initialize Del Rio’s turn. Fortunately, the WWE quickly corrected itself by having the “Mexican Aristocrat” dethrone the Big Show as world heavyweight champion.
The Royal Rumble will mark Del Rio’s first title defense since winning the belt on the Jan. 11 episode of SmackDown. A strong showing is necessary for establishing him as a legitimate champion.
Del Rio’s last world-championship reign was forgettable because he was never put in a position to look strong. A clean retention never seemed like a plausible option.
Things are different this time, though. Del Rio captured the World Heavyweight Championship by defeating the behemoth Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. He looked dominant in his victory, putting him on the route to a successful reign.
It just so happens that the rematch between Big Show and Del Rio is another Last Man Standing match. Surely another big win will prove he is the real deal.
However, there’s the off chance that Dolph Ziggler will cash in his Money in the Bank contract on the winner of the brutal contest. Since there’s a possibility Del Rio could walk out of the Royal Rumble without the World Heavyweight Championship, this match must primarily portray him as a strong face.
With Rey Mysterio’s days numbered, the WWE is looking for Del Rio to be the new top Hispanic star. If that’s the case, it can’t book him as weak as it has in the past.
If Del Rio can dominate a good portion of the Last Man Standing match against Big Show, he’ll have no problem looking like a top star. The stipulation should allow for him to showcase all his usual talents while displaying a more fierce side.
He’s done it once before, but having a strong showing on a PPV is a much bigger deal.
The key is to let that fierceness translate to his persona. Del Rio’s never been one to crack jokes, so his babyface comedy attempts have felt unnatural and forced. He needs to be the kind of babyface that speaks passionately when needed but lets his wrestling do the majority of the talking.
While Del Rio may not necessarily be world heavyweight champion by the end of the show, making a statement against Big Show and truly solidifying his position as a top babyface are the most important parts of this match.
The Royal Rumble should be a fantastic show. You know you’re in for a treat when a matchup featuring the rise of a babyface Alberto Del Rio is one of the show’s lesser draws.
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