I have to admit, when I first saw the Alberto del Rio vignettes airing on Smackdown and WWE NXT, I wasn’t all that impressed. It looked like a cool premise, and my interest was slightly piqued, but I never thought in a million years that the former Dos Caras, Jr. would ever deliver to the point of meeting the expectations the WWE was setting forth for him.
After three appearances on WWE TV, two on Smackdown and one Monday night on the 900th episode of RAW, well, I’m glad to say that I was wrong.
Alberto del Rio has been a shot in the arm to Smackdown and to the company on the whole. It’s nothing all that original, actually. You could say he’s the Mexican Million Dollar Man, or what Eddie Guerrero might have been had he hit the lottery. He comes to the ring in fine cars, has his own ring announcer and dresses stylishly even by WWE wrestler standards (talking guys like Chris Jericho, Big Show and others who dress regularly in suits, not John Cena, Bret Hart or “Pantsless” Randy Orton over here). He’s very smooth, chic and debonair. It’s hardly original, and yet he’s so buzzworthy because he has executed so well in his first appearances on WWE television.
[adinserter block=”2″]It’s almost as if the WWE has stumbled upon its own version of an Internet meme superpower. Everyone knows about the Chuck Norris Facts, and Dos Equis’ ad campaign for The Most Interesting Man in the World is a poorly veiled ape of that. The funny thing is, if del Rio grew a beard, he would bear a striking resemblance to the titular suave life of the party who doesn’t always drink beer, but when he does, he drinks Dos Equis in more than just looks. He deftly exudes a combination of drinkable smoothness as well as animal charisma. If he were to come hang-gliding to the ring with a supermodel on each arm, it would be par for the course for him.
The most promising thing for us the fans though is that they’re giving him a chance to succeed right away. They’re not shunting him into a heatless feud with, say, the Dudebusters or Chris Masters. They put him right up against Rey Mysterio and are letting him dominate perhaps the most over babyface on the WWE’s roster right now. This will allow del Rio to get a nice heat boost right from jump. Then, he’ll be able to supplement that with his natural awesomeness, and he’ll be around longer than, say, Mike Knox (whom I’m still bitter about them misusing) or any of your other flavors of the month.
For as much as the WWE has done wrong recently, even as recently as Monday with their utterly dull and self-serving 900th episode of RAW, they are doing right by the up-and-coming superstars. They seemingly realize that their current crop will not last forever and that they’re already starting to drop like flies. Because of this, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, The Miz and Daniel Bryan are all being put in great position to succeed, and del Rio is just the next in line. Unlike in the past though, all those names I just mentioned are talented, charismatic and seemingly are being picked because of their abilities, not because of their looks.
[adinserter block=”1″]Alberto del Rio has the potential to be the greatest of these, and that’s not faint praise either, given how high I am on Bryan, Swagger and especially Miz. It could be that del Rio has the most polished personality of the group. It could be that he appeals to an insanely large Latino demographic that still by-and-large loves pro wrestling. It could just be my judgment being clouded by how awesome the Most Interesting Man ad campaign really is and how I’m bleeding it over into my perception of del Rio. Still, there’s no denying that he’s got a very bright future in the WWE if he stays healthy and out of trouble.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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