I made this comment in the “angle-killing promo” thread but I feel it deserves more discussion. Alberto Del Rio was brought in and treated like the next huge superstar upon his debut. He won his matches often and with authority. Also, the character and the approach to the character was fresh and seemed to be quite over. He won the Rumble and seemed ready to steamroll WWE in 2011. Clearly, he has been seen as an upper to mid-carder since his return from injury and unfortunately, he felt that way during his runs as WWE Champion last fall. Why do you think this is? I have a couple of theories:
1) His push was inadvertently killed when the WHC was not put on him at WM 27. The situation with Edge and its aftermath (Christian as sympathetic face/opportunity to get the title to Orton quicker) definitely contributed as ADR was the main heel on SmackDown for several months following his debut, then it became the Orton/Christian/Henry show (not that that was bad for the fans in and of itself). I believe Del Rio had a much greater upside in the long term than Christian and he should’ve gotten the belt at WM regardless of the Edge situation. Orton/Christian were great matches, but I think an Orton/Del Rio feud culminating at SummerSlam last year would’ve been a bigger deal in the long term. After all, Christian is now the IC Champ, allowed to freely appear on TNA PPV’s and has always been an afterthought to VKM. 2) His character began to change and I think it has had a negative effect. After he debuted, he always had the s----eating, I’m better than all of you, heel grin and laugh before, during and after his matches. It made his character humorous to an extent and worked great in getting heel heat. Now, he’s a sneering, sinister guy who cuts typically boring promos. The fact that he was this smiling jackass, over-the-top guy with a personal ring Spanish announcer was fresh and great about his character. Now, he’s boring other than when Ricardo gets a chance to do something. 3) This is what I mentioned in the prior thread. Shortly after he cashed in at SummerSlam, John Cena cut a promo calling Del Rio an illegitimate champion, basically because he got the title through the briefcase. It has been very difficult to take Del Rio seriously since then (granted, he’s been on the shelf for much of that time). Cena may have single-handedly killed Del Rio, a large portion of whatever bump comes with winning MITB (we’ll see after this year’s event) and whatever much-needed added value and prestige that the WWE Championship received during the Summer of Punk. What say you? Do you agree that the Del Rio character is now an after-thought with little hopes of revival? If so, what do you think was the primary factor in making things work out that way.
I think the primary one is that Vince supposedly likes him because “he looks like he could kick my ass”, but ADR doesn’t get to kick any ass on TV. He’s beaten Santino like a drum, sure, but goes 50/50 with everyone else and is only seen as a World title contender because we’re told he is. At this point keeping him in the World title picture as a placeholder is just wasting everyone’s time. They could make him and Ricardo into tag champions and milk that for a few months, or have him decimate one of the secondary champions and use his built-in prestige to restore some cred to those titles, for instance. But yeah, the main thing is that now EVERY PROMO is about his destiny and how he’s better than us. The writers have nothing new for him to say and once the Sheamus “feud” runs its course there’s nothing left for him to do based on this version of the character.