Monday 12 October 2015

ADR: The Potential Return

So the current #hotrumour is that WWE is interested in re-signing Alberto Del Rio. If you've lost track he's the guy who was released from his contract in August of last year (feels like a lot longer ago) for assaulting a member of the production crew backstage after they'd allegedly made racially derogatory comments about him. A response which, honestly, seems pretty just.

Yeah, he looks fetch but ADR didn't fit in too well in LU.
Since being released Del Rio has changed his name to Alberto El Patron, capitalising on WWE's baffling decision not to trademark the 'El Patron' nickname he used during his time in the company. His most prominent appearances have come in Lucha Underground, ROH and AAA. Truth be told he actually seemed a little out of place in LU, both in terms of character and wrestling style. In ROH he wrestled a handful of very good matches in early 2015. Then he stopped being booked for whatever reason (it's likely that his work with the other promotions mentioned here were behind that), a pity as 'The Essence of Excellence' felt like a good fit in the Land of Honor. His AAA work has seemed to go down better though. The promotion is clearly happy to have him as they put their top title, the mega championship, on him in December 2014 and he's still got it now.

You may be wandering why WWE would want to rehire someone they released for attacking a co-worker less than eighteen months ago. The answer here is simple: they have also lost Rey Mysterio and haven't managed to build up a new star to market to their Latin American fans. They need the star power.

Which is odd because they have the perfect guy on the roster. Kalisto is young, talented, wrestles the style, is the nationality required, and wears a mask. He's a significantly better worker now than a guy like Rey Mysterio is. He may not be as breathtaking or revolutionary as Mysterio in his prime but nobody will ever be that good (or at least that significant) again. The aerial antics of 90s Mysterio have been replicated, standardised and exaggerated upon too much for that. But Kalisto would still be a good choice for WWE to push if they want to have marketable Hispanic star.

Push this man.
That nothing much has been done with Kalisto is odd. He received a call-up to the main roster the night after WrestleMania 31 and... that's it really. He and Sin Cara, as the Lucha Dragons, have been booked as just another team. They've only wrestled on two pay-per-views, Elimination Chamber and SummerSlam (and Chamber technically wasn't even a PPV). They've not been protected or presented as anything special, nor has the team been booked to make it clear that Kalisto is a singles star in waiting. Had they been given more to do Kalisto would probably be in a good place to wrestle in prominent singles matches on the company's upcoming Mexico tour and act as a draw for the Fed.

It may be WWE's own fault they haven't replaced ADR and Mysterio but that is ultimately irrelevant. All that matters is that they haven't been replaced. Bringing back Del Rio is a good enough answer in the short term. He's an established name and could fill the top Latin star role as well as giving the top of the card a welcome fresh name to play with. If he were willing to go back, and chances are he would be for the right money (and one thing WWE isn't short of is money) and some form of resolution regarding his initial release, he could help WWE. But if he does they should also help themselves and build up Kalisto anyway. Because he's the guy with the long in-ring future who could be selling merch in ten years.

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