What Alberto Del Rio Must Do to Be Taken Seriously as WWE World Champion

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2013

photo by wwe.com
photo by wwe.com

Alberto Del Rio is currently the holder of the World Heavyweight Championship in WWE. He took the title from Dolph Ziggler at the Payback pay-per-view on June 16, and he has been enjoying arguably the best heel run of his WWE career thus far.  

However, for some fans, it's just not good enough. In fact, it seems that nothing is good enough for some fans when it comes to Del Rio's ability to be taken seriously as the company's second top titleholder. So what should Del Rio do?

Right off the bat, I have to say that I like where Del Rio is right now in WWE. He gets heat from the crowd, and his ability in the ring is still as competent as ever. And since the suspension of his mouthpiece, Ricardo Rodriguez, I believe that Del Rio has gotten along just fine on his own.

He is still very capable of making the audience hate him, and as a heel, nothing is more important.

The fact is, Del Rio is just good at what he does. When he's in character, there is very little about him that does not seem genuine. When he looks at the fans with disdain, it feels real. When he smiles at the pain he's inflicting on his opponent, he seems to really be enjoying causing physical damage.

Everything about him from his look to his arrogance to his overall physical presence just screams heel to me. So why are so many fans still on the fence with this guy?

The worst part about this is, when he was running as a babyface, it just did not feel real at all. Though he seemed to truly be doing as much as he could with the new change of pace, it just never seemed to catch on. He was over in some cities more than others. He just never seemed to be fully fleshed out as a top protagonist.

So his return to rule-breaking should have been just what the doctor ordered. It's the easy answer, right?

Could the trouble that appears to be following Del Rio right now be his booking? The truth is, Del Rio has not exactly looked like World Championship material since regaining the belt; maybe that is the reason for the discontent among some fans.

Del Rio traded one disqualification for another with Chris Jericho. He was embarrassed by Dolph Ziggler during Fiesta Del Rio. He was pinned by John Cena during a champion vs. champion match that basically had no meaning at all.  

He and CM Punk went to a double count-out, thanks to a distraction by Paul Heyman. Del Rio faced Sin Cara in a match that virtually had no ending whatsoever, and he was pinned by Randy Orton in the middle of the ring.

And all of that happened on just Raw and SmackDown. Del Rio only retained the championship against Ziggler at Money in the Bank because of interference by AJ Lee. This is a match that he, perhaps, should have cleanly won, but it just didn't happen.

Apart from getting that disqualification win against Dolph, Del Rio had three clear-cut victories.  

One was against Ziggler on the night that AJ turned on him, one against a bruised Sheamus and one against Rob Van Dam. Other than that, however, Del Rio's World title resume in 2013 is not that impressive at all.

So, what's the answer? Is Del Rio supposed to win every match now that he has the strap again? Is he supposed to be so strong as titleholder that he simply cannot be touched by anyone he faces in the ring?

Well, that would be a start.

I know, this flies in the face of everything that we have seen from WWE in recent years, and it only seems to apply to John Cena as the company's top draw, but I believe that Del Rio has to become untouchable, at least to a point. Can he be hurt? Of course. Can he be threatened by a legitimate contender who could potentially wrestle the title away from him? Absolutely.

But to keep delivering quality matches week in and week out, only to be met with a no-finish or lose outright is just making Del Rio look like somewhat of a fluke champion. It seems he can't close the deal, and maybe that is the real problem here.

After all, much of the drama in having a heel as a titleholder is the fact every babyface in the company is trying to catch him.

For fans to see their favorites come so close night after night, only for that heel to somehow nail a sneaky finish or eke out a victory by cheating just frustrates them to the point that they want revenge. They want the face to win more than they ever did before as their hate for the rule-breaking villain becomes palpable.

Del Rio's win over Rob Van Dam on the July 26 edition of SmackDown is the perfect example of this. Yes, it was a cheap win. But for me, it made all the sense in the world. Del Rio is a talented, old-school heel who is working with a roster full of talented challengers, and he must use whatever means necessary to win.

He is strong enough to win on his own, without help or cheap victories. But it's become apparent that is not the way WWE wants to handle it. If that is indeed the case, then Del Rio must start winning at any cost, and he must start doing it now.

Alberto Del Rio is riding high as the current World Heavyweight champion in WWE. He is one of the best heels the company has and is featured on a regular basis on television. But for some fans out there, his run is falling extremely short of expectations.  

For him to be taken seriously, I believe, he must start winning. Be it by hook or by crook, he must consistently win every time he steps into the ring. But that is up to WWE.

Because until the company decides to start taking Del Rio's title run seriously, there is no way fans can be expected to.