WWE: Power Ranking Alberto Del Rio's Top 10 Matches Thus Far
Three years ago today, Alberto Del Rio made his long awaited WWE debut on SmackDown. It was reported shortly thereafter that he would become a big deal fairly quickly, and it's safe to say that prediction couldn't have been more accurate.
On the night of August 20, 2010, Del Rio surprisingly scored a clean victory over Rey Mysterio. He went on to win the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank Ladder match in the year that followed, in addition to four world titles.
As the current World Heavyweight Champion and the lead heel of the blue brand, it's safe to say that Del Rio has achieved a substantial amount of success thus far in his career. However, the Mexican aristocrat has a lot left to accomplish and will look to do so in coming years.
Here, I will ranking the top 10 best matches of Alberto Del Rio's illustrious career up to this point. Of course, these are all based off of my opinion alone, so be sure to keep an open mind while reading.
10. Vs. Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship (Night of Champions 2012)
No more than 24 hours removed from WrestleMania 28, Alberto Del Rio made his unexpected return from injury and immediately set his sights on Sheamus' World Heavyweight Championship. He jumped ship to SmackDown shortly thereafter and chased Sheamus for the title over the summer.
After coming up short at both the WWE Money in the Bank and SummerSlam pay-per-views, Del Rio was granted one final shot at the prestigious prize at Night of Champions. Obviously, the feud grew tremendously tiresome by this point, but there's denying that the two provided the best match of their rivalry at this event.
Del Rio came close to winning his first World Heavyweight Championship that night, but it wasn't meant to be. Sheamus scored the victory and put an end to his feud with Del Rio once and for all.
9. Vs. Rey Mysterio in 2-out-of-3 Falls Match (SmackDown, January 7, 2011)
In his WWE debut match, Alberto Del Rio cleanly defeated Rey Mysterio on the August 20 episode of SmackDown in 2010. He continued to torment Mysterio in the weeks that followed and even injured the arm of the Master of 619 at one point, putting him on the shelf indefinitely.
The two resumed their raging rivalry once Mysterio returned to the ring that fall, picking up right where they left off. Mysterio handed Del Rio his first singles loss in WWE on the October 8 edition of SmackDown, evening the playing field in the process.
On the premiere edition of SmackDown in 2011, Del Rio and Mysterio clashed in an electric 2-out-of-3 Falls match, where both competitors scored one fall apiece. In the end, Del Rio picked up the final fall via count-out and concluded the rivalry on a high note.
8. Vs. Randy Orton in a Falls Count Anywhere Match (SmackDown, November 6, 2012)
After his feud with then-World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus concluded, Alberto Del Rio then set his sights on Randy Orton in the final few months of 2012. Del Rio cost Orton a shot at the world title in late September and took him out of commission for two weeks shortly thereafter.
During the course of their feud, Del Rio mocked Orton and dubbed himself the new Apex Predator of the WWE. The two met in a standard singles match at the WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, which was won by The Viper.
A rematch was held at the SuperSmackDown live special on November 6, but this time under Falls Count Anywhere rules. The brawl between the two sadistic Superstars spilled all over the England arena, with both Orton and Del Rio getting the upper hand at various points.
Towards the end of the bout, Del Rio grew cocky and taunted his downed opponent on the microphone. However, Orton bounced back with a vicious looking RKO on the steel steps to score the victory.
7. Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank 2011)
Following his brief feud with Big Show, Alberto Del Rio shifted his focus to the grandest prize in the industry: the WWE Championship. He earned the right to contend for the title by winning a Triple Threat match on the July 4 edition of Raw in 2011, but nothing ever came of it.
Instead, Del Rio was named one of eight participants in Raw's version of the Money in the Bank Ladder match at the pay-per-view of the same name. The match was filled with an array of talent, but none more ready for a run with the WWE title than Del Rio.
As Rey Mysterio ascended the ladder during the bout, Del Rio raced up the other side and ripped the mask off Mysterio's head. The Mexican aristocrat took advantage of the opportunity, unhooked the briefcase and became the new Mr. Money in the Bank.
Although it wasn't originally a part of his destiny, winning the Money in the Bank Ladder match was a major milestone in Del Rio's career that eventually led him to the WWE Championship.
6. Vs. CM Punk for the WWE Championship (Survivor Series 2011)
Del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase on CM Punk at 2011's SummerSlam event, winning his first WWE Championship in the process. His reign was short-lived, however, as he dropped the strap to John Cena the following month at Night of Champions.
Two weeks later, Del Rio regained the gold by defeating Cena and Punk in a Hell in a Cell match at the event of the same name. Del Rio successfully defended the title against Cena in a Last Man Standing match at Vengeance and then turned his attention to Punk going into Survivor Series.
With the gold up for grabs, Del Rio and Punk contested a great match that saw both competitors come close to scoring the win. At last, Punk locked in the brutal Anaconda Vise and forced the Latino star to tap out and relinquish his WWE title.
Sure, Del Rio was on the losing end of this particular battle, but he put forth a strong effort and allowed The Voice of the Voiceless to embark on a lengthy reign as champion.
5. Vs. Edge, Kane and Rey Mysterio in a TLC Match (WWE TLC 2010)
Originally, Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio were supposed to conclude their rivalry in a Chairs match at 2010's WWE TLC pay-per-view. However, they were later announced as participants in the TLC match also involving Edge and Kane for the World Heavyweight Championship.
This marked Del Rio's first shot at the world title, and he did everything in his power to attempt to capture it. His ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez even got involved at one point, but he was met with a brutal chokeslam at the hands of Kane.
As Del Rio inched closer to the prestigious prize, his archenemy Mysterio tipped the ladder over, causing Del Rio to take a long fall through two tables at ringside. Although Del Rio was down for the count, that wouldn't be the last time he would receive a shot at the strap.
4. Vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship (WrestleMania 27)
One month after his impressive showing at WWE TLC, Alberto Del Rio took part in the 2011 Royal Rumble match. For the first time ever, the annual battle royal would feature 40 Superstars, but Del Rio was still determined on emerging victorious and take one step closer to fulfilling his destiny.
Sure enough, Del Rio lastly eliminated Santino Marella (yes, you read that correctly) to pick up the biggest win in Rumble history. The next night on Raw, he chose to contend for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 27 against Edge.
Instead of closing The Show of Shows, Del Rio and Edge were placed in the opening match, but they still managed to make the most of it. Del Rio targeted the injured arm of Edge on several occasions, but wasn't able to force him to tap out.
Following a distraction from Edge's best friend Christian at ringside, the Rated-R Superstar did what he did best and took advantage of the opportunity to nail the Spear on Del Rio for the victory. It later became apparent that this was Edge's final match due to retiring shortly thereafter, so Del Rio claimed that he was the one responsible for putting him on the shelf for good.
3. Vs. Christian for the World Heavyweight Championship (SummerSlam 2013)
Since returning from a ten month layoff in June, Christian has been a massive roll and has had his eyes on the World Heavyweight Championship. After weeks of clamoring for "one more match", he earned a title shot by winning a Triple Threat match on the August 2 edition of SmackDown.
Prior to SummerSlam, Christian had already defeated Del Rio on two separate occasions, so the question going into the event was whether he could pull off the big victory when it mattered most. The familiar foes put on an absolute clinic at the biggest blockbuster finisher, each hitting their respective signature maneuvers to no avail.
Christian connected with the spear on Del Rio, but hesitated to cover him due to his injured pectoral muscle. Del Rio capitalized on the injury and locked in the armbar for the much-needed win.
Del Rio and Christian have had a handful of great matches over the years, but I found their latest encounter to be the most entertaining.
2. Vs. Dolph Ziggler for the World Championship (Money in the Bank 2013)
One night removed from a successful title defense at WrestleMania 29, Alberto Del Rio was placed in a Handicap match against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter. Although he won that match, he subsequently lost to Dolph Ziggler, who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
The two finally met in a rematch at WWE Payback, which was won by Del Rio after he resorted to underhanded tactics to regain the gold. This turned Ziggler into a fan favorite and reverted Del Rio back to a heel in the process.
Ziggler looked to invoke his rematch clause against Del Rio at WWE Money in the Bank, and thus the stage was set. The two rivals have collided on a number of occasions over the last year, but none of their matches were exciting as their encounter at this particular pay-per-view.
The match featured plenty of back-and-forth action that the Philadelphia crowd was red hot for. The bleached-blonde Superstar came close to winning his third world title, but it was Divas Champion AJ Lee who ultimately cost Ziggler the strap.
1. Vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match (SmackDown, January 11, 2013)
At last year's WWE TLC event, Alberto Del Rio surprisingly turned face by coming to the aid of his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. Aside from a one-off heel turn on the Christmas Eve edition of Raw, Del Rio had seemingly become a fan favorite for the first time in his career.
In the weeks that followed, Del Rio entered a feud with then-World Heavyweight Champion Big Show. He was granted a shot at the title on the January 11 edition of SmackDown in a Last Man Standing match.
If Del Rio's face turn wasn't cemented before, it certainly was on this unforgettable night. The Miami crowd was fully behind Del Rio, encouraging him to beat the ten count and avoid being defeated by the World's Largest Athlete.
The two familiar foes took full advantage of the extreme stipulation. From tables to steel steps, Show and Del Rio utilized everything in sight.
After turning the tables on Show (literally, he flipped the commentating table on top of him), Del Rio was pronounced the new World Heavyweight Champion. The Mexican aristocrat received a massive ovation for his valiant victory, a monumental moment in the career of Alberto Del Rio.