Former WWE champion and current AAA champ Alberto Del Rio surprised the WWE Universe when he answered John Cena’s U.S. Title Open Challenge and defeated the champ. A new report reveals all of the details behind the return of Del Rio at Hell in a Cell 2015.
[adinserter block=”1″]While rumors of Del Rio returning to the WWE have been swirling for the last couple of weeks, nobody predicted that Del Rio would be the man to answer the challenge at Hell in a Cell. Most predictions ranged from Tyler Breeze to Samoa Joe, but it was Del Rio who took the spot. Time appears to have healed some deep wounds between Del Rio and the WWE.
Del Rio left the company in August 2014 amidst a lot of controversy. Del Rio was “fired for unprofessional conduct” after he slapped an employee on the social media side. The employee allegedly made a racist remark about Del Rio earlier in the day. Del Rio approached the employee and reportedly demanded an apology. The arrogant employee allegedly refused to do so and was slapped…hard by Del Rio. Vince McMahon originally wanted to suspend Del Rio, but Triple H called him later to fire him. Most speculated at the time that the change of action was due to the threat of a lawsuit.
Del Rio and the WWE quickly came to terms on a settlement that would prevent Del Rio from speaking out about the incident. However, Del Rio did do one interview prior to that agreement in which he gave his side of the story.
“Yes, I continued being one of the top guys in USA. But there was an incident in which there was an altercation with a WWE employee. I won’t give all the details just yet. I’m still assessing which is the best way, legally, so that nothing that I say can be used against me. You know that US laws are completely different than the ones in Mexico. It was an incident in which I was offended. I was completely the victim. I have not spoken or said anything due to the same situation. They went ahead and said that I had unprofessional conduct. It’s true. Yes, I slapped this WWE employee because, I always say, that you can take my job, but no one will take my dignity, or my pride. And I won’t let anyone offend or humiliate my homeland, which is Mexico. I don’t forget my roots. Like I said, I am defending myself. This problem led to the end of my contract with them in one of the moments where I was at the top of the tier, just like I have always been throughout my 6 years with them.”
Del Rio even went into details surrounding the slap. “He was already standing up. He was about to leave when he said that comment. The only thing he does after his comment is, with his face as close to me as mine is to yours right now, he does a douchey smirk with one side of mouth. And then I hit him. I’ll say it again, I will always be embarrassed of the way I reacted. I’m not regretful. Sure, it costed me my job. But they are the ones that lose more in this situation.”
[adinserter block=”2″]So how did we get here a little over a year later after such a high-profile split? Dave Meltzer had the details on his latest F4WOnline.com podcast. According to Meltzer, Del Rio’s renewed interest in returning to the WWE came after a falling out with Lucha Underground. Del Rio received a big money offer to join Lucha Underground when he left the WWE, telling most people he was making WWE-type money without the schedule. Lucha Underground and Del Rio recently had a falling out over creative and money, leaving Del Rio without a large source of income. The WWE also had renewed interest lately due to the stale product, falling ratings, and John Cena leaving. Meltzer reported that Del Rio got a great deal which includes a big money guarantee and fewer dates than most of the full-time performers sans Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, and Chris Jericho. Meltzer also reported that Del Rio was always the guy for this Open Challenge, although the deal may have been consummated just recently.
While I always love a good surprise, I just can’t get that excited about Del Rio. He’s a solid performer and one of the best on the roster, but I can’t imagine that anyone is going to suddenly tune back into the WWE because Del Rio is back. If he was that big of a draw, it would have showed in Lucha Underground. I think he’s a solid hand, but his star lost a lot of shine months before he left the company in 2014. He’s great to have on the roster but pushing him as a top guy to build around in order to revitalize a stale product doesn’t make sense to me.
What makes sense to me is making some new stars, bringing guys up from NXT, and giving these talents the same kind of a push that they are prepared to give a guy like Del Rio. Regardless, he’s back and he will probably be here with the WWE for quite a while.