Alberto Del Rio Is a Tough Sell as World Champion

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Alberto Del Rio Is a Tough Sell as World Champion
Photo courtesy of WWE.com

For what seems like the 50th  time, the WWE has once again decided to push Alberto Del Rio to the moon.

This time, though, the company did something that no one saw coming. Just six months after Del Rio turned face, the creative team turned him back heel and had him win the World Heavyweight Championship in order to do so. 

For any number of other superstars on the WWE roster, a storyline like this would have felt like something fresh and a much needed angle to elevate that superstar to the top of the card.

But for Del Rio, this was just the latest major development in a push that somehow manages to start and stop while simultaneously feeling like it’s never-ending.

ADR has been pushed. He’s been pushed again. He’s been pushed some more. Then, he’s been pushed some more after that.

Perhaps that’s why his most recent World Heavyweight Championship victory doesn’t feel like a step in the right direction. It’s just another way to remind us that Del Rio is a really tough sell as World champion. 

It didn’t have to be that way. Del Rio certainly could be viewed as a formidable World champion—that is, if things hadn’t gone wrong since the very beginning of his World title push in 2011.

That’s when Del Rio won the 2011 Royal Rumble and found himself challenging Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 27.

Anyone remember that rivalry? Anyone? Not really. 

Edge vs. ADR was perhaps one of the most forgettable WrestleMania World title rivalries of all time, but that didn’t prevent the WWE from almost instantly putting ADR into another World title feud.

Shortly after WrestleMania, Del Rio won the Money in the Bank match at the MITB PPV. He then cashed in his briefcase at the 2011 SummerSlam PPV and defeat CM Punk to win the WWE Championship, his first World title victory in the WWE.

That would turn out to be the lone highlight of Del Rio’s reign as champion, however. After exactly zero successful title defenses, he lost the title to John Cena at Night of Champions just 35 days after winning it. 

Del Rio would go on to win the title back at Hell in a Cell the following month, but his second WWE Championship reign wasn’t much better than his first one. It lasted just 49 days and featured only one successful title defense, which was a highly controversial victory that did Del Rio no favors whatsoever. 

ADR would go on to lose the WWE Championship again at Survivor Series, and after a lengthy TV absence, that’s when he jumped over to the WWE’s other World title picture for a World Heavyweight Championship feud with Sheamus in 2012. 

Del Rio vs. Sheamus lasted for roughly five or six months last year, and as anyone who had to sit through it will tell you, it was undoubtedly one of the worst World title feuds in recent memory. Del Rio never looked like a credible threat to Sheamus, he literally never beat Sheamus, and the feud wasted half a year for the SmackDown main event scene. 

But much to the surprise of no one, that didn’t prevent ADR from making his way back into the World Heavyweight title picture just a few months after leaving it.

That’s exactly what happened in December 2012 when Del Rio turned face, almost instantly won the World Heavyweight Championship by beating the seemingly unstoppable Big Show and then engaged in a WrestleMania World title rivalry with Jack Swagger.

Again in not-so-surprising fashion, what followed Del Rio’s World title reign wasn’t pretty. His feud with Big Show was OK, but his World title rivalry with Swagger fell completely flat.

Despite involving the World title and an important issue in immigration, ADR vs. Swagger didn’t click at all. No one bought into Swagger as a legitimate World title contender after he jobbed for so long in 2012, and the fans weren’t reacting very favorably, if at all, to the newly babyface Del Rio. 

Del Rio would have his longest World title run yet (90 days) as the babyface World Heavyweight champion, but his reign was remembered for a totally lackluster feud with Swagger, crickets from the crowds and his struggles to complete the transition to his new babyface role. 

Of course, that hasn’t prevented the WWE from giving Del Rio his fourth chance at getting over as a World champion, and it all just seems like such a big waste of time.

Del Rio has already had three World title reigns over the course of the last three years, and literally every single one of those title reigns was a complete and utter failure.

It doesn’t matter if Del Rio is a heel or face. Quite simply, he’s never gotten over enough to justify giving him not one, not two, not three, but a whopping four World title reigns. 

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Clearly, the WWE’s logic here is to put the belt on Del Rio to help him get over, but the company is doing thing backward here. It should, in fact, be doing exactly the opposite of what it’s been doing. 

Instead of giving ADR the World title to get him over, the creative team needs him to get over before he gets the World title again. Unfortunately and obviously, though, that’s not happening right now.

The WWE is giving Del Rio yet another chance to be World champion when his previous three title reigns have been marred by total and utter failure—questionable booking, average matches, forgettable feuds, weak crowd reactions, etc.  

You can only book a talent so poorly for so long and expect to get away with, and the WWE passed that point with Del Rio a long time ago. 

He has never been a success as World Heavyweight champion in the past, so what’s the point of giving him yet another run in the present?

The WWE is trying like hell to sell Del Rio as a top guy again just like it has been over the past three years, but guess what, WWE?

No one bought it in 2011 or 2012, so you can bet that no one is going to be buying it in 2013.

 

Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!

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