Ricardo Rodriguez is supposed to live in the shadows of his friend Alberto Del Rio, but in many ways, he has become the shining star of that duo.
When Del Rio turned babyface late last year, who was the catalyst for that turn? It was Rodriguez, who was rescued by Del Rio after being targeted by Big Show.
When Del Rio began cementing himself as a face, was it because the fans cared about him or because they really liked Rodriguez? You could certainly argue that it’s the latter.
Despite Del Rio being the active wrestler of the pairing, Rodriguez got more over than his better half when ADR turned face last year. Even to this day, Rodriguez is still the one who generates the bigger reactions from the crowd. Although ADR has performed well as a babyface, would he be in the main event scene if it weren’t for Rodriguez? Probably not.
Like Zeb Colter has done to Jack Swagger, Rodriguez is continuously outshining the superstar that he’s supposed to be managing. That’s a good problem to have, though.
Why? Because it gives the WWE the opportunity to do something more with Rodriguez. In other words, it gives the company the chance to let him be an active wrestler.
Especially in recent years, the WWE has had a very difficult time establishing new babyfaces who are genuinely over with the masses. Aside from Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Ryback and CM Punk, it’s hard to point out a whole lot of stars that grew to be legitimately liked by the majority of fans.
Rodriguez, however, has long been one of the most liked guys on the roster. Even when he was a heel, there was something very likeable about him—he just had that “something” or that “it” that made the fans react to him in a positive way.
His charisma and charming personality have always been there, and now that he’s a babyface, he’s really getting a chance to show that. He’s finally getting the opportunity to shine and has more than delivered, which is something the WWE must take notice of.
The WWE needs all the help it can get on the babyface side of the roster. Rodriguez is both ready and over enough to make that transition to active wrestler duty to give the company that help.
After all, Rodriguez—despite being booked as a comedy character and hardly ever wrestling on TV—is one of the most underrated wrestlers on the main roster. As he’s shown during his brief wrestling appearances throughout the year, he can really go in the ring.
Don’t let his body or comedic character fool you. Rodriguez is quick, agile and athletic, and he knows how to wrestle.
Why not let him show that?
There’s certainly a place for guys like Rodriguez on the main roster these days. Santino Marella has had a lot of success as a comedic wrestler (despite also being a great in-ring performer), and guys like CM Punk, who don’t have the bodybuilder physique, have obviously excelled, too.
Should Ricardo Rodriguez be a full-time wrestler?
This is a day and age where any WWE superstar—no matter how he looks—can succeed because it’s ultimately the fans that decide whether or not he does.
Rodriguez, of course, has no problem with getting the fans to like him. For a secondary character who’s a non-wrestler (or at least isn’t booked as one), he’s more over than just about anyone who doesn’t step into the ring on a consistent basis.
His rise to popularity sort of happened by accident, but now that it has, wouldn’t it make sense for the WWE to use that to its advantage?
Rodriguez is already getting in the ring a little more often these days. As we have seen, he has the skills and charisma to deliver during his matches. It’s just a matter of the WWE realizing that and choosing whether or not to push him as a wrestler.
Although Rodriguez may never be a main eventer or a World title contender, he’d certainly bring value to the WWE’s midcard as a babyface who can actually put on good matches. The company needs those badly these days, and Rodriguez is there just waiting to be used.
Make it happen, WWE. You won’t regret it.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!