Updates from Saturday, Aug. 9
While Del Rio and the WWE have kept quiet about the specifics of the altercation, the prevailing theory, as propagated by Wrestling Observer, is that Del Rio slapped a Web producer backstage after the producer allegedly made a racist joke about him. Del Rio is a third-generation Mexican wrestler. Wrestling Observer’s David Meltzer writes:
“Based on sketchy stories and what wrestlers have been talking about, at catering, somebody asked [Web producer] to clean off his plate. The person joked something along the lines of how that’s Del Rio’s job. Del Rio found out and confronted him. As the story goes, he didn’t apologize and then smiled at him, and Del Rio slapped him.”
Updates from Friday, Aug. 8
The WWE has more on Del Rio:
(1/2) @VivaDelRio is responsible for his own actions. If you’re angry at anyone, be angry at Alberto.— WWE (@WWE) August 8, 2014
(2/2) There’s no excuse for a pro athlete not to conduct themselves in a professional manner.— WWE (@WWE) August 8, 2014
Sescoops.com has the latest on Del Rio's release:
WWE noted that Del Rio was abruptly let go “due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.” Shortly afterwards, reports came out that Del Rio slapped a member of WWE’s social media team.
WWE announced the surprise release of superstar Alberto Del Rio on Thursday after what the company deemed "unprofessional conduct" in an altercation with another employee.
Further details about the altercation are unknown at this time. Del Rio appeared on WWE programming on this week's edition of Monday Night Raw, going one-on-one with Dean Ambrose. WWE's release on the matter did not indicate when the altercation took place or with whom.
Del Rio's release comes after months of behind-the-scenes tension with the former world heavyweight champion. Rumblings about the 37-year-old possibly leaving WWE had been floating in the ether since February, as he had become disenchanted with the way his character was being written. His contract was due to expire this year, though it's unknown at what time.
Ringside Xcess highlighted the strangeness—and bemoaned the alleged ugliness—of Del Rio's departure:
Del Rio was thinking of leaving when his contract expired, but going out this way (if true; no full details yet) is classless.— Ringside Xcess (@RingsideXcess) August 7, 2014
Throughout the year, Del Rio's place on the main event card fluctuated wildly—at times from week to week. After he lost the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to John Cena last October, the company seemed to throw him into different feuds to see what stuck.
Batista and Del Rio went through a rivalry that built up toward Elimination Chamber, with both men using the feud to spring off elsewhere on the card. But while Batista would go on to headline WrestleMania with Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, Del Rio got shuffled through a series of midcards that never really resonated. His best shot for a legitimate title was at Money in the Bank, where he was in a six-way ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Del Rio recently replaced the also-released Ricardo Rodriguez as a backstage interviewer and gave what seems, in retrospect, like an ironic promo.
"You are probably wondering where the fat and useless Ricardo Rodriguez is," Del Rio said, per WrestlingInc.com. "Well, who cares where Ricardo Rodriguez is when you have the best international star to ever come to the WWE right here."
Del Rio, who got called up with a massive following in Mexican wrestling circles, debuted with the WWE in 2010. He was a four-time champion with a pair of WWE Championships and World Heavyweight Championships and won the 2011 Royal Rumble.
It will be interesting to see what happened when details of the altercation become public. For now, WWE will have to reshuffle after the loss of one of its more reliable heels.
Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.