It was his destiny to win the Royal Rumble, much as it was his destiny to become WWE Champion. But, destiny, it seems, now has other plans for Alberto Del Rio.
The two-time WWE Champion has been diagnosed with a groin tear that will supposedly keep him out for a period of between four and six weeks. While injuries are of course not a good thing, this one medical condition could have a fantastic effect on Del Rio's career if the creative staff approach things in the right manner.
For starters, this is a chance to get Del Rio, who to many is starting to grate, off of television for a period of four to six episodes of Monday Night Raw. Rather than having him wheeled out to speak to crowds by Ricardo Rodriguez, they should follow through on his promise to return "more vicious and aggressive than ever."
On the surface, depriving the WWE's flagship show of one of its key heels for such a time seems ill-advised.
However, with the return of Kane in what seems to be a villainous role, plus the "It Begins" promos hinting at the return of someone with a high-profile, WWE can afford to be without him for a time, especially if they use his layoff to reconstruct his flawed gimmick.
The fact is, Del Rio and his character has been exposed as one-dimensional, repetitive and, most damning of all, ineffectual. He is a wrestler, but not a superstar, a heel without heat. People aren't interested in him.
Where did it go so wrong?
At its most basic form, Del Rio's gimmick is terrific. Not only is it terrific, it is timeless.
Rich, aristocratic villains have been reviled by wrestling fans for as long as the business has existed, and in WWE, men like John Bradshaw Layfield and Ted Dibiase Sr. are iconic heels.
Unfortunately, instead of playing on the classic conventions of the rich heel, the creative talents employed by WWE have instead focused on providing Del Rio with an assortment of different cars and his own personal ring announcer.
These aren't bad ideas, but they are merely footnotes. Such aspects do not make a character, they simply mask a shallow gimmick. Or, they did. No more. Del Rio, unfortunately, has been found out.
It is time for him to be treated with more respect by the writers, who have undermined him so recurrently that if he had somehow gotten over with the fans, he would have to be considered the most charismatic man in history. But he isn't, and he hasn't.
The man has talent. Genuine talent. In tandem with that, he should be given a character and angles that reflect such ability.
How then, can that be done?
First, he should be kept off of television for the duration of his injury, while a new angle surrounding him is introduced. Preferably one that can play on his aristocratic image.
Picture, then, scenarios in which the likes of CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Zack Ryder are attacked in numbers by peripheral members of the roster like Drew McIntyre, Tyson Kidd, Tyler Reks and Curt Hawkins.
Suddenly, intrigue is aroused in viewers, especially if the babyface champions are made to look genuinely vulnerable.
Imagine, after such events, that referees stop officiating matches fairly; instead of counting to three when Punk hits his GTS on an opponent, they instead disqualify him for an offence he didn't commit. Meanwhile, they allow people to interfere and attack him without disqualifying the culprits.
Chaos emerges, and the perpetrator is revealed to be Del Rio. Because, quite simply, he is rich. He bought off the referees, and paid the wrestlers to act as mercenaries.
Right now, Del Rio, supposedly a rich man, never uses his wealth for a tactical advantage over opponents. That needs to change for him to be an affective heel.
What's more, and perhaps most crucially, he needs to develop a mean streak. That should include him attacking his own employees, because they cannot retaliate for fear of not getting paid. His money, meanwhile, could lead to the creating of a stable, much like J.B.L's cabinet.
If it aint broke, don't fix it.
If John Laurinaitis continues his stance/facade of impartiality, he could threaten to fire Del Rio. Rather than complaining about it, or whining about his destiny, Del Rio simply won't care.
He's rich, and doesn't need a contract. He'll wrestle without it. He'll do whatever the hell he wants, consequences be damned. On his say so, his employees will behave the same way. He will monopolise power in the WWE.
And then he will be a good heel. In fact, he will be a fantastic heel.
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