Why This Title Reign Is Alberto Del Rio's Final Chance to Get over
History was made on the night of June 16th when WWE Superstar Alberto Del Rio defeated Dolph Ziggler to become World Heavyweight champion.
And that night at Payback may have also been the start of Del Rio's last shot at making a lasting impact with the company.
At 36 years old, Del Rio is far from over the hill in the eyes of the wrestling community. The Undertaker was 44 when he won the title in 2009, while Mr. McMahon won the WWE Championship when he was 54.
But it isn't age that is the biggest obstacle in Del Rio's path. It is his apparent inability to establish himself as a legitimate mainstay at the top of the talent roster.
Yes, since his debut in 2010, Del Rio has almost always been at or near the top of the company's proverbial mountain.
And with two reigns as World Heavyweight champion and two as WWE champion, that seems to be with good reason.
Add to that his win at Money in the Bank in 2011 as well a victory in the Royal Rumble match that same year, and it seems as if Del Rio should be one of, if not the most popular superstars on the roster.
Instead, it seems as if the company is trying to ram him down the throats of the WWE Universe week in and week out, doing absolutely everything to establish the Mexican superstar as a bonafide draw.
Yes, Del Rio has the ability to be a gigantic draw for the Latino demographic and likely receives huge ovations when the company tours the world. But week to week it seems as if each segment involving Del Rio just begs for someone to shut his mouth for the audience watching at home.
This is unsettling because on paper, Del Rio should be a lock to become one of the greatest superstars of all time.
His size (6'5") is incredibly deceptive, and his mean streak is second to none. His mat wrestling skills are impressive, and he has the ability to pull off some lucha libre moves that would befuddle superstars that are a fraction of his size.
But all of that does not change the fact that Del Rio fails each and every week to get over. The reactions to his entrance are tepid at best, and are normally only louder because fans love to see his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez.
For awhile, Rodriguez seemed to help Del Rio's cause, since fans liked to identify with him, as Del Rio mistreated him and berated him. And there was a groundswell of momentum for Del Rio when he turned face and began to defend Rodriguez's honor.
But in recent weeks, Rodriguez has also seemed to turn his back on fans and has begun to insult the masses as well.
Even at the height of Del Rio's popularity, when he would drive out in expensive cars week after week, it never seemed as if he was eliciting a real reaction other than annoyance.
Yes, the company wants its superstars to get some type of true reaction, but generally it is one of love or hate. Crowds loved to hate CM Punk's "pipe bombs," but they always tuned in to see them.
John Cena may elicit one of the most mixed love/hate reactions of anyone, but it is unlikely that anyone is changing the channel when he performs.
But with Del Rio, it almost seems as if a viewer will miss very little during his televised segments.
His mic work is boring, which is the same thing that can be said for his character in general. His face turn was a good idea, as it solidified the fact that it would be very difficult for him to thrive in that role.
Wrestling fans have short memories, but it had only been a few months since Del Rio was insulting them and claiming that greatness was his destiny, so many did not buy into his change of heart.
Del Rio is absolutely a heel at heart.
But unless he finally manages to do something other than annoy the WWE Universe, he may be a heel at heart who is relegated to the lower part of the card.
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