Ladies and gentlemen, it may be quite awhile before we hear Ricardo Rodriguez introduce Alberto Del Rio as the World Heavyweight champion.
Frankly, for the company, that probably is a good thing.
The Mexican superstar's glory was cut short on Raw when Money in the Bank briefcase holder Dolph Ziggler cashed in and won the title, ending Del Rio's reign at 90 days.
However, in the long run, this will probably work to Del Rio's advantage.
With the loss of Rey Mysterio to injury/age and the incredibly slow development of Sin Cara, the company was left with a huge hole to fill with regards to its Hispanic fanbase.
Enter Del Rio, who essentially won the race by default.
The heel to switch change was incredibly sudden and actually seemed incredibly rushed. One week Del Rio was driving out in his fancy cars, telling everyone that he was superior to them in every way and the next he was pandering to fans, smiling and fighting heels.
The switch was offputting at best.
Since this conversion, while many fans have embraced Del Rio and his change of heart, most remain completely indifferent to him and his newfound respect for fans and hatred of heels.
Shockingly, the responses for Rodriguez have been unbelievably positive, and it seems as if fans now look upon him as a lovable loser that they can easily get behind.
In fact, it seems as if most of the time, the crowd response for Rodriguez is fairly loud and raucous, as opposed to when Del Rio then enters the arena when the crowd noise dies down and he only gets a lukewarm reception.
This is not to say that Rodriguez is the answer to the question of who the Hispanic flagship performer should be. Though in fairness, Rodriguez is actually a very talented in-ring performer and frequently competes in NXT and WWE dark matches.
At the moment, Del Rio has been a face in the company for only a few months and could really use a lot more time to hone his nice-guy persona. However, he was one of the most dominant faces in Mexico for nearly a decade, before turning heel shortly before signing with WWE in 2009.
So inexperience as a face is no excuse at this point. Not that his heel persona was much better. His condescending, spoiled rich boy act was annoying at best and never fully seemed to catch on in the long term. Fans were left with a talented competitor with no real place.
However, rather than burying a competitor that they had very little idea of what do to with, the company continued to thrust Del Rio into the spotlight, leading to more lukewarm receptions and unadulterated annoyance from the WWE Universe.
If the company is smart, it may let Del Rio take some time off to rehab his "injured" leg before bringing him back with a bit more build-up and fanfare, perhaps with some vignettes where he continues to build on his new face persona. The extra time could do wonders to change fans perception.
Wrestling fans are fickle but oftentimes have short memories. A new and improved persona for Del Rio might do wonders to create a legacy in WWE to match the one that he already has in Mexico.
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