Alberto Del Rio defeated Big Show at Sunday’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view. With the victory, Del Rio left the arena with the world title intact after having proved he could stand up to the seven-foot giant.
While the match between the two was brutal, did it top their last match?
The tension between the two stretches back to the Jan. 11 episode of SmackDown. Then-world champion Big Show was blindsided with a Last Man Standing title defense against Del Rio.
The match was astounding and pushed the limits for violence during the PG Era, especially one on free television. The two men punished each other with chairs, ladders, steel steps and tables. Del Rio was clearly overmatched but managed to trap Big Show under a table, get the win and take the title.
The rematch at the Rumble, with the same stipulation, was an obvious attempt by the WWE to recapture the magic of the first bout. It could have failed miserably, just like a movie sequel.
This wasn’t the case, as their second bout topped what they did in the first one, even if the ending wasn’t as satisfying.
As should be expected, Big Show controlled the early part of the bout. He hit slams and landed chops on Del Rio who, despite the obvious pain from the moves, kept getting up.
Once weapons came into play, the intensity of the bout went up. Del Rio pummeled Big Show with a chair. The giant set up a table and choke slammed Del Rio from atop and then through it.
Later, Big Show went for a spear and missed, crashing into the announcer’s table. Minutes later, in a replay of their first bout, Del Rio used the steel steps multiple times.
Del Rio scored the win after Big Show’s feet were duct-taped to the bottom rope and he couldn’t get up to meet the count.
Their second Last Man Standing bout needed to be superior to the first to legitimize Del Rio. When word leaked out that one of the reasons Big Show lost was due to his contract negotiations, it could have made Del Rio a transitional champion.
He needed a rematch victory that was equally, if not more intense than the last. The battle at the Rumble did nothing to harm Big Show in the long run, but it did wonders for Del Rio.
It made him out to be more than a paper champion. With his first two title reigns lasting less than two months, his victory over Big Show put him on the path to championship redemption.
The dust may have settled on their Rumble match, but their feud is far from over and should continue. Next month, if WWE books it, Del Rio and Big Show will face each other in a match that will make what they did at the Rumble look tame: the Elimination Chamber.