If you don't believe that WWE has big plans for Alberto Del Rio, then you're simply not paying attention.
At the Survivor Series, Del Rio led a team against Rey Mysterio and his team. Rey Mysterio and the Big Show were the remaining survivors of the big 10-man tag team match, but it was Del Rio who management was building towards.
Despite it being a scripted event, wins and losses still count in professional wrestling. Win a handful of matches in a row, and the audience begins to take notice.
Lose some key matches, and there's a chance that you lose credibility in the eyes of the fans. That's why writers have to go through a certain extent in order to protect a wrestler from losses.
At the Survivor Series, Del Rio was obviously being protected.
If you take a look at his team, Del Rio had quite a few important guys on there. Jack Swagger is a former world champion, but he didn't make it to the end. Drew McIntyre has been pegged as a future star for WWE, but he couldn't avoid elimination.
Cody Rhodes was entertaining in the match, but he wasn't viewed as a credible threat to the babyface team. None of these guys were protected.
The only one who was protected was Del Rio. Rather than having him be eliminated, management went another route. They had him removed from the match after being knocked out by a big punch from the Big Show.
By doing that, WWE enables his character to proclaim that he wasn't actually beaten. He can also gain more heel heat by blaming his teammates.
This type of protection means WWE has big things in store for Del Rio.
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