Everyone knows that Alberto Del Rio has enjoyed one of the biggest face pushes in recent WWE history. Where once he was booed lustily, he now is being cheered even harder.
One of the reasons that he is riding this new wave of popularity is Ricardo Rodriguez, Del Rio’s personal ring announcer and storyline best friend. The one-time stooge and flunky sparked Del Rio’s face turn by getting involved in a ringside altercation with 3MB at last month’s TLC pay-per-view.
Had Rodriguez not come out to protect the honor of the Spanish announcing team at the pay-per-view, then he would not have found himself at the mercy of the rock-star wannabes—and Del Rio would not have charged the ringside area to save him.
You could even say that if it were not for Rodriguez, Del Rio may not even be the World champion today.
First off, it was Rodriguez who was first chosen to be the Big Show’s opponent in a SmackDown World title match last month. Then, when Big Show knocked him out backstage, Del Rio stepped in and put on a heck of a fight with the big man.
The following week, it was Rodriguez who found himself in the ring in an actual match with Big Show. Then, when it appeared Big Show was going to lay waste to him, Del Rio again stepped up and defended his buddy against Show’s wrath.
And we all know where that led.
At WWE Royal Rumble 2013 Sunday night, Rodriguez again inserted his presence into the Last Man Standing Match between Del Rio and Big Show.
While Show was beating on Del Rio at ringside, Rodriguez tried to launch a sneak attack, only to be thrown into the barrier by Big Show. That spelled Big Show’s downfall.
When the action made its way back into the ring, Del Rio applied his cross arm breaker finishing move to Big Show. In a regular match, that usually spells a victory, but in a Last Man Standing Match, tapouts do not count.
This one, though, was different. While Show was in the finisher, Rodriguez duct-taped his feet to the bottom rope. Del Rio broke the hold, Big Show could not get up and La Famillia lived to fight another day.
It’s true that Del Rio has come a long way since his WWE debut a couple of years ago. But if he has come far, then Ricardo Rodriguez has come even farther.
Has Ricardo Rodriguez been instrumental in Alberto Del Rio's success?
He used to be looked upon as a silly, cowardly, butt-kissing employee whom Del Rio did not hesitate to berate and throw into harm’s way in order to escape. Rodriguez has been the victim of a Knockout Punch, a Brogue Kick, a GTS, an STF and just about every other babyface finishing hold.
He also was thrown into a silly storyline mini-feud with Santino Marella that saw them comically fight in a Tuxedo Match at No Way Out last year.
But Rodriguez’s comic timing soon caused the Internet Wrestling Community to warm up to his good-intended but disastrous antics. Finally, the WWE Creative Team decided to capitalize on those antics by starting the Del Rio face turn and allowing Rodriguez to come along.
That is a move that both men have to be feeling pretty good about right now.
Only the WWE Creative Team knows how long Del Rio’s title reign will last. Since Dolph Ziggler did not cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase Sunday night and he did not win the 30-man Rumble event later in that show, it’s possible that WWE Creative will begin building a feud between Del Rio and Ziggler that likely will run all the way to WrestleMania 29.
That would be an interesting feud to watch. Ziggler has AJ Lee and Big E. Langston in his corner, and Del Rio has Rodriguez in his. The interaction between those entourages will be interesting to watch.
Ricardo Rodriguez vs. beauty and brawn. I wonder how that will turn out.
Hey…he’s already taken down a giant, right?
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.