Friday 26 October 2012

Aristocratic Exposure

When Alberto Del Rio first appeared on WWE television in 2010 he was a breath of fresh air. A mixture of JBL and Ted DiBiase by way of Mexico Del Rio was given the rich braggart heel gimmick that always works so well and had been absent from WWE since Layfield departed in April 2009.
Since debuting ADR has racked up an impressive number of accolades. He won the 2011 Royal Rumble (the first ever to consist of 40 participants), challenged for the World Heavyweight championship at WrestleMania, wrestled Edge in what turned out to be 'The Rated R Superstar's' retirement match, won Money in the Bank, and became a two time WWE champion.
During his first year and a half with the company 'The Essence of Excellence' was involved in feuds with Rey Mysterio, Edge, Christian, Big Show, Sheamus, CM Punk, and John Cena. He's worked matches with pretty much every member of the roster he hasn't feuded with. In fact his recent programme with Randy Orton was one of the few fresh pairings left for him.
And that, in a nutshell, is the problem both he and WWE are now presented with. 'The Mexican Aristocrat' has achieved so much so quickly and blasted through the roster that he now feels stale as an act. With the exception of Ryback Del Rio has worked with every babyface of note and has competed in all of WWE's favourite match types.
Something needs to be done to revitalise the character.
Usually in these sorts of situations the solution is to turn the wrestler in question. This opens up new matches and booking scenarios for those scripting the show. Unfortunately I don't think this is an option here. Del Rio's WWE persona is a natural bad guy. There's nothing there that could be tweaked to make him an even moderately successful crowd pleaser. He is of most use to WWE left as a heel.

This guy's name is Alberto Del Rio. But you already knew that
The writing team aren't completely without options. Once his programme with 'The Viper' wraps up Del Rio could be given a few months off, allowing him to come back to television refreshed in the New Year. The Royal Rumble would be the perfect time for that. That scenario is not a great option though as it's rarely a good idea to have someone healthy and fit paid to sit at home. An alternative would be to station him in the developmental system for a while. That would allow him to do something productive, help to train the guys and gals we see on NXT, while also giving his character a rest.
If he stays on TV then Del Rio has an ongoing programme with Randy Orton that could comfortably stretch to Survivor Series. After that the potential feud with Ryback could be launched. Written well that should easily see both men through to TLC, which gives WWE plenty of time to build up one or two existing names as opponents for ADR. Kofi Kingston and Zack Ryder both spring immediately to mind as guys WWE could and should be doing more with.
The best thing WWE could do with the former CMLL champion would be to put him into a tag team. It would keep him on TV but allow him to develop his character by interacting with others. Mark Henry's currently sitting on the injured list. Why not bring him back to team with ADR? I think they'd be a great addition to the recently revived tag team division.
Thinking a little bigger Del Rio could be made the leader of a group. He already has Ricardo Rodriguez as his personal ring announcer and bump fodder for big matches. David Otunga could be brought back as his legal adviser (and more bump fodder) and 'The World's Strongest Man' could come on board in a bodyguard slash enforcer role, explaining that he enjoys hurting people and ADR will pay him a lot of money to do that. The Prime Time Players could bulk up the numbers, giving ADR henchmen and partners for six man tag matches. Put together in time this unit could be used to battle a face troupe lead by 'The Apex Predator' at Survivor Series.
Alberto Del Rio is not bad at anything his job requires of him. He is a victim of circumstance, hurt by WWE's thin roster and rapid approach to feuds. He can still be a great benefit, just not in his current role as a singles competitor. Let him help some other guys shine for a while.

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