With Alberto Del Rio’s World Heavyweight Championship reign likely coming to an end at Hell in a Cell—it’s difficult to imagine WWE having John Cena lose to the star under any circumstances—it seems a pertinent time to examine his run with the belt.
Frankly, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Del Rio hasn’t only had an unremarkable run with WWE’s second most important title; he’s had a downright abysmal one.
It’s not so much that Del Rio has had terrible matches. His bouts throughout the summer against Dolph Ziggler and Christian were very respectable (although Ziggler and Christian probably deserve more of the credit for those bouts than he does.)
However, in terms of charisma and presence, Del Rio was a total and utter flop. He’s done nothing for the title. If anything, he’s dragged it down.
Under him the World Heavyweight Championship has become an afterthought, a midcard belt even. No one has cared about him or his title feuds.
Of course, Del Rio’s terrible run with the title might not be too surprising when looking at the overall story of his WWE career.
Since he debuted amid much fanfare in the summer of 2010, Del Rio has never truly lived up to expectations.
WWE obviously wants him to be a star—as various reports have noted in the past, he’s especially valuable as the company continues to branch out into Mexico—but he doesn’t seem to have what it takes to be a top guy.
His promo style is achingly one-dimensional, with the wrestler seemingly unable to show any range beyond his snobby, rich-guy persona. (Even as a babyface, that was essentially his character too.)
His in-ring skills are perfectly adequate, but he’s not in the same league as guys like Daniel Bryan, CM Punk or Randy Orton, and probably never will be
Generally, everything about Del Rio screams “blandness.”
Truthfully, his likable manager Ricardo Rodriguez has always been significantly more over than his boss (splitting the two up in the storylines has predictably been disastrous.)
OK, so some could argue that Del Rio hasn’t been aided by WWE’s erratic booking.
There may a sliver of truth to this. (Who really thought having Del Rio lose to Cena at Night of Champions in 2011 only weeks after winning the WWE Title for the first time at Summerslam was a good idea?)
But, come on, he’s had a great deal more to work with than the vast majority of the guys on the roster have.
Can you imagine if WWE had given Wade Barrett or Dolph Ziggler the same steady push it has given Del Rio? Those two would almost certainly be more over than he is right now.
Let’s face it, Del Rio has been given plenty of air-time, win after win and numerous high-profile title runs…and he’s still failed miserably.
That’s not the booking team’s fault; it’s his.
Sooner or later—hopefully sooner—WWE will realize it has to cut its losses with Del Rio.
These are uncertain times for WWE right now—ratings are struggling, PPV business is lukewarm, the futures of top stars like CM Punk and Cena seem uncertain—and the company continuing to waste valuable time and resources into a guy who will clearly never be a star will only further hinder it.