Wrestler of the Day – February 22: Alberto Del Rio

My best option for today was Dos Caras, so here’s his more famous (in America that is) son: Alberto Del Rio.

After a successful amateur wrestling career, Alberto would become a professional with AAA before moving on to CMLL. Here’s one of his last CMLL matches against Shocker on June 12, 2009.

Dos Caras Jr. vs. Shocker

This is 2/3 falls and Shocker is the technico (good guy) coming in. Caras jumps Shocker during the entrances and blasts him with what looked like a pipe to gain the early advantage. I’m assuming it’s part of a deviloutfit/gimmick, but I think Caras has a tail. He pulls it off and whips Shocker over the back before taking him outside for a suplex on the ramp. Shocker comes back with one of his own before taking him back inside and ripping off half of Caras’ mask, which is a BIG deal in Mexico. There’s a hard low blow from Shocker for a very quick DQ.

We take a break and come back with the second fall and I stare at the gorgeous girl holding up the Round 2 sign. Caras scores with a quick superkick and finally takes his shirt off. Shocker shrugs it off and grabs a cross armbreaker of all things for a very fast submission. The second fall didn’t even last two minutes.

Back with round three (and an even hotter ring girl in even less clothing) and both guys pose on the corners. Shocker comes back with a hard clothesline for two and a hurricanrana gets the same. Caras gets a very slow two count off a sunset flip out of the corner but misses a charge and falls to the floor. A nice flip dive by Shocker puts both guys down but it’s Caras hooking a surfboard hold back inside.

Shocker counters into an STF but Caras quickly makes the rope and throws Shocker to the mat. A German suplex gets a very close two on Shocker but the referee gets bumped. As he gets back up, Shocker falls to the mat and feigns getting hit low for the DQ in an Eddi Guerrero special.

Rating: C+. I liked the match (though not as much as that second ring girl. My goodness.) but again it would help to know the story. Shocker is a guy I liked when he was in TNA but I haven’t seen a ton of him since. You can see Del Rio’s offense here and he really hasn’t changed much, save for stealing the armbreaker from Shocker.

Caras would be in FCW less than a year later, wrestling under the name of Alberto Banderas.

Alberto Banderas vs. Heath Slater

No date given on this one but commentary references an alliance between Slater and Michael Tarver, which history seems to put in December 2009 or January 2010. This is also a rematch from last week where Banderas won. Alberto takes him to the mat to start and hits the hard kick to the back for two. A hiptoss gets two more on Slater but he pops up and stomps away in the corner. We hit the chinlock for a good while before Banderas comes back with a powerslam but Tarver runs out to shove him off the top for the DQ.

Rating: C-. Just like in 2013, I’m astounded by how much more interesting Del Rio is as a face. He has a charisma that makes me want to care about him which is never present in his heel character. The match was nothing special but the character stuff here was far more interesting than the wrestling.

Alberto would make his main roster debut on the August 20, 2010 episode of Smackdown, convincing Rey Mysterio to face him later in the night.

AlbertoDelRiovs. ReyMysterio

Del Rio has his own announcer and comes out in a Rolls Royce. The announcer speaks Spanish of course to really hammer in the whole he’s evil thing. There are clearly empty seats about 8 rows back from the ring. They couldn’t fill those in? It’s pretty even to start as Del Rio hits the floor and we take the last break of the show.

Del Rio works on the arm which is apparently a trait in the company as of late. He hits what I think was an enziguri but it was kind of hard to see. According to the replay it hit the arm, which is a very nice touch. Top rope back splash misses and we’re back to even. 619 is caught as Del Rio has looked very good so far. Out of nowhere Del Rio gets a cross armbreaker and Rey actually taps out. I don’t think a lot of people expected that. I certainly didn’t.

Rating: B. Del Rio looked FAR better than I expected him to here. A clean win is far more than you would expect him to. The looks he gives for the whole match are a nice touch as well. This was a good match and a GREAT debut for Del Rio. I’m fairly impressed, though it’s only a first impression.

Del Rio would catch fire in a hurry and win the Royal Rumble just four months later. He would face Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 27.

Smackdown World Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. Edge

Del Rio is challenging and comes out in a Rolls Royce. The video screen is made to look like a driveway for Del Rio to be driving from in a cool sight. Also at ringside is Del Rio’s bodyguard Brodus Clay. Does anyone even remember that association? Christian is of course here to second Edge. Alberto sends him into the corner to start but Edge comes back with some hard slaps. A backdrop puts Alberto down and a second one puts him on the floor.

Back in and Del Rio grabs an armbar to take over, only to be armdragged down. Alberto goes right back to the arm as Brodus talks trash. Back to the armbar but Del Rio misses a charge and falls out to the floor. Edge dives off the top to take Del Rio down again and we head back inside. The champion heads to the top but Alberto pulls him down with a top rope armdrag for two. Edge comes back with a big boot to get himself a breather but he can’t follow up.

A running forearm puts Del Rio down again and a flapjack gets two. Alberto grabs a Codebreaker to the arm but the cross armbreaker is countered into an Edge-O-Matic for two. Del Rio rolls through a rollup and grabs the armbreaker but Edge gets his feet on the ropes to quickly escape. Edge snaps Alberto’s neck on the top rope but as he goes up top, Del Rio hits the enziguri in the corner for two.

Brodus and Christian get in a fight on the floor but Del Rio kicks Christian down. There’s the Edgecution to set up the spear but it hits post instead. The armbreaker goes on but Edge keeps his hands together….for a minute before Alberto gets the hold on full. Edge gets on top of Alberto to break it up and there’s the Edgecator (modified Sharpshooter) but Del Rio rolls away. Not that it matters as Edge pops up and hits the spear to retain.

Rating: C+. For a world title match at Wrestlemania, this was a disappointment. For Edge’s last match because his neck was REALLY messed up, this was pretty decent stuff. Edge would retire a few days later and vacate the title, which says to me that he should have put Del Rio over here. At the end of the day it makes Alberto look weak to lose to a guy that banged up but it did give Edge a good moment to go out on. Nothing great though.

That didn’t work out so well but Del Rio would stay in the title hunt, competing in the Smackdown Money in the Bank match.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger vs. Evan Bourne vs. R-Truth vs. Alex Riley vs. The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio

Everyone grabs a mini ladder as they come into the ring.  Rey comes out last and gets almost ZERO reaction.  Everyone has a ladder and they surround Del Rio, beating him down rather easily.  Booker picks Evan Bourne which Lawler is surprised at.  Some of the guys are out of the ring now and Swagger is thrown out for the second time.  Truth and Miz have a stand off and duel a bit.

Swagger takes them both out because that’s just smart.  He sets up a ladder but Kofi and Bourne run in at the same time for an attempt to go up.  Now they team up and take out some heels.  Rey gets a rana to take Swagger to the floor again and Truth takes Kofi out.  Riley crotches him on a ladder and is the only one standing.  Miz comes in for the save but all the ladders are too short anyway so it’s not like it matters.

Riley dives over the top and takes out Swagger and Miz in a nice spot.  Truth dives over to take out all three of them.  Kofi and Rey do a double dive to take all of them out.  Bourne goes up and everyone gasps.  SHOOTING STAR PRESS ONTO ALL FIVE GUYS!!!  Bourne goes up a big ladder but Miz makes the save.  Bourne gets a hand on it but so does Miz.  Del Rio pops up and shoves it down as Miz may have hurt his knee.

He landed on it coming down and may have jammed it.  I think it’s worked but it doesn’t look right AT ALL.  This might be legit actually.  Miz is carried out but can’t seem to put any weight on the knee.  I think he might be actually hurt if the visual is any sign of it.  Truth and Del Rio are both climbed over (literally) by Rey and Bourne.  The faces hit stereo ranas to take out the heels.  That looked SWEET.

Swagger is all alone but Kofi is like screw that and jumps over him onto the ladder.  Swagger puts an ankle lock on him instead and Riley tries to steal the case but fails.  Rey vs. Truth at the moment with Rey taking a ladder to the ribs.  He climbs onto a ladder but falls onto it face first.  Kofi goes up and uses a ladder as a step down for a Boom Drop onto Truth.  Booker of course criticizes him for dancing too much.

This match is a lot more choreographed and you can tell it a lot.  Truth messes up a see-saw spot to Swagger.  Good thing Swagger was nice enough to sit there and let Truth do it again.  Rey and Riley slug it out on the ladder but Bourne and Del Rio get ladders of their own.  Down goes Alberto and Rey has his hand on it.  All seven guys are on ladders in what looks like a clothed orgy, which kind of defeats the purpose but you get the idea.

Down goes Del Rio and there goes Jack too.  Bourne is tossed but the other four are all there still.  Truth goes down and Kofi gets a swinging kick to knock Rey off.  He’s all alone but Swagger makes a last second stop.  They both fall and it looked VERY bad as Kofi’s knee landed on Swagger’s throat.  HERE’S MIZ!  He literally hops down the aisle on one leg but Rey stops (to huge booing).

Rey and Del Rio fight a bit but down goes Del Rio.  Never mind as he’s coming back up again.  Briefcase to Alberto’s head but Rey still can’t get it.  REY’S MASK IS OFF!  Everything falls down and Rey has to cover his face.  Alberto goes up as Rey is all terrified.  Alberto is all alone and it’s over.  Didn’t see that one coming.

Rating: B. Good, but nowhere near as good as the SD one.  The spots here were awesome to say the least but the sloppiness hurt it a good bit.  Miz coming back in was great and an awesome false finish.  Rey losing his mask was rather surprising and I’m seriously wondering how badly hurt Swagger is because that didn’t look like a planned fall at all.  Messy but fun, which is about par for the course in MITB to be honest.

Del Rio would cash in his title shot at Summerslam, lose it a month later, but then get a rematch at Hell in a Cell 2011.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk

After big match intros we’re ready to go. There’s a TON of time for this as it’s only about 10 minutes after 10. They emphasize that the fall has to be in the ring. Fair enough. Alberto immediately hits the floor and runs a lot. Both guys chase him and they slide in to get in what they can and the Super Best Friends fight over who gets to beat up Del Rio. Punk tries to steal the title on a rollup but it only gets two.

The big stars face off and both escape the other’s finishers. Del Rio tries to take Cena out but gets caught in an AA attempt on the floor. Punk dives onto Del Rio and Cena to break it up for some reason and back in the ring a neckbreaker gets two on Del Rio. The dueling chants begin but after being a CM Punk/Let’s Go Cena chant it’s turned into Cena Sucks very quickly. See the issue? It’s not so much pro Punk but rather anti-Cena.

Del Rio gets back into this and sends Punk into the cage. Cena is down also and Punk is the only one left standing after he takes out Alberto. He loads up a table on the floor but Cena shoves him into the cage to avoid a bulldog. Alberto gets a chair in and hits a belly to back onto the chair with Cena slowing breaking the chair down. That looked good. There are the chants again.

Cena is in the Tree of Woe and Del Rio misses a charge, sending his shoulder into the post. Off to Punk vs. Del Rio and with Punk in trouble, Cena dives off the top with the legdrop and gets two on both guys. This is good so far. AA is escaped by Alberto and he goes for the ribs/back of Cena. Del Rio is sent to the floor and Ricardo fans him off. Cena and Punk slug it out and it’s boo/yay time. GTS is broken up by a chair swung by Del Rio.

He picks up the chair and comes off the top with it to land on both of the Super Best Friends, getting two on each. Del Rio charges at Punk in the corner but is dropped over the top and hits the stairs on the way out. You couldn’t see it but you could hear it. AA out of nowhere gets two on Punk with Alberto saving. Del Rio is sent to the floor again and this time it’s the GTS to Cena for two. Del Rio saves again and sends Punk into the steps. He’s been the wild card in this so far and it’s working.

Cena is sent into the cage again so it’s Punk vs. Del Rio in the ring. Punk fights back and the Macho Elbow gets two. Cena comes back in and sends Punk through the table at ringside. Cena grabs the STF and Ricardo takes down the referee and breaks into the Cell. Ricardo has a pipe with him but Cena takes him down and throws him out of the Cell. Del Rio gets the pipe and bashes Cena with it. He throws Cena out and locks him outside with the key inside. Ok this is interesting.

The Mexican hits a German on the American for two. Punk goes up and Del Rio hits the running enziguri for two. Cross armbreaker is broken up and Punk fires off the kicks. Leg lariat puts Del Rio down and Cena is just now getting up and figures out that he’s locked out. Punk hits the bulldog as Cena looks for the key. Springboard clothesline gets two and Cena is trying to break the chain and the lock open. Alberto goes to the floor and grabs the pipe. It’s only about 10:30 so there’s plenty of time here. Two pipe shots put Punk down and Del Rio wins it at 24:12. I guess there isn’t a lot of time left.

Rating: B+. Good match here as they had time to work with and made it violent. You can have good stuff like this without blood and this was one of the better ones ever. The ending came much earlier than I was expecting and the championship changing is a nice surprise. Also it gives Del Rio a more legitimate title reign which is something he needed. I’m sure Cena vs. Del Rio is booked for Vengeance though.

It’s not much of a match and the story means nothing, but here’s the main event from the first Raw in Mexico.

John Cena/Jim Ross vs. Alberto Del Rio/Michael Cole

 

The announcers start us off and Cole talks a lot of trash until JR clocks him. Off to the wrestlers for a wrestling match. What a concept. Alberto and Cena smirk at each other and speed things up. The fans are booing Cena…I think. Off to a chinlock by the champ and the fans are cheering for Cena. Now it’s Cena with the chinlock as Josh says Cena weighs 251lbs. That means he gained 20 pounds since his entrance.

 

Del Rio takes over and we’re waiting on the hot tag to Ross it seems. Cole gets some pikes in at Cena and Del Rio gets two. Alberto hits a top rope shot to the head and some kicks. Cena can’t see Alberto. Back to the chinlock and the fans cheer Cena but aren’t really booing Alberto. The Mexican gets a German on the American for two. Cena fires off some stuff but a running enziguri in the corner stops him for two.

 

Alberto goes up but misses a senton back splash and Cena engages his finishing sequence. Del Rio runs from the AA and tags in Cole. Cena gives him kind of a belly to belly to bring him in and makes the hot tag to JR. Is JR a big deal in Mexico? I mean, wouldn’t he be on the English commentary team which most people in Mexico don’t hear? An AA ends Cole and JR gets the win with an ankle lock at 11:40.

 

Rating: D+. Man this was boring. The Spanish/English/JR thing is still confusing but again it’s WWE which at the moment is pretty stupid. I wasn’t into this match for the most part because it was just Del Rio vs. Cena and then a screwy ending. Not much to see here and another weak main event from Raw, which is becoming a tradition.

Del Rio would turn face later in the year and receive a surprise title match against Big Show on the January 11, 2013 episode of Smackdown in a last man standing match.

Smackdown World Title: Big Show vs. Alberto Del Rio

Last man standing and Show is defending. Show starts with a hard chop and a slam to put Del Rio down for a short count. Del Rio comes back with a superkick to the stomach but gets chopped right back down again. Show pulls out a table but sets it up between the announcers’ table and the ring instead of putting it inside. Rather than saving it for later Show pulls Del Rio to the floor and casually slams him through the table for a six count.

Back in and Del Rio kicks Show in the ribs to knock a chair out of his hands. Del Rio GOES OFF on Show with some chair shots, showing more emotion in a ten second stretch than he’s shown in the last two years combined. He goes for the cross armbreaker but Show picks him up and carries him to the ropes. Show tries to throw him to the floor but Del Rio hooks the armbreaker over the ropes for a few moments before finally dropping him.

The fall from the apron gets a seven count on Del Rio as Show rests his arm. We take a break and come back with Alberto hitting a running kick to Show’s arm on the floor. Show gets in a shot to break the momentum and slides in another table. Del Rio fires off more kicks to the ribs and dropkicks Show through the table to a big reaction. I’ll give Alberto this: he isn’t backing down.

That only gets a seven as well so Del Rio jumps on Show’s back. After about thirty seconds Show flips Del Rio over but Alberto fires off whatever strikes he can get off to stagger the big man, including a pair of boots in the corner. Del Rio charges into a chokeslam though, drawing an eight count. A headbutt puts Del Rio on the floor and there’s the spear through the barricade as Show is known to do.

Alberto gets up AGAIN at nine this time so Show sends him into the ring again. The WMD connects clean…..but Del Rio gets up at eight AGAIN. The crowd is losing it in a hurry. Del Rio is down at nine but he was up enough to stop the count. Show picks up the steps but misses a charge into the post and drives the steps into his own head.

Alberto blasts Show with the steps and then hits him with them again in the bad shoulder. A THIRD shot finally puts Show down behind the announce table and in a brilliant move, Del Rio turns the announce table over on top of Show. Show can’t escape and Del Rio wins the title at 14:08 shown of 17:38. Ricardo can barely even make the announcement from being so excited.

Rating: B. This wasn’t much of a match, but man alive did they put Del Rio over STRONG here. I don’t think he’ll make it to Mania or even through Elimination Chamber with the title, but this was a great moment and the place legitimately seemed thrilled that Del Rio won the title. To say they’re pushing him as a big deal is an understatement. One thing though: JBL said Alberto survived two KO punches and I read the same in a spoiler, but I only saw one here. Not that it matters much but that was curious.

Del Rio would hold the title going into Wrestlemania 29 where he would defend against the winner of the Elimination Chamber, Jack Swagger.

Smackdown World Title: Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger

Swagger’s entrance is cut off as he and Colter are in the ring after the video package. Colter goes on his usual rant about how awful New York is because of all the non-English languages being spoken. Apparently those foreigners are plotting something. Swagger pounds away to start but Del Rio sends him to the floor for a baseball slide. Alberto pounds on Jack on the floor for a bit before heading inside again. Colter starts distracting the champion immediately and Jack takes over.

A hard clothesline gets two for Swagger and it’s off to an armbar, which Del Rio rolls up for two. Swagger comes back with the Vader Bomb for two but as he tries to wrap the champion’s legs around the post, Alberto pulls Jack’s shoulder into the post. Back in and Swagger charges into a boot to the face and there are some clotheslines from the champion. Both Swagger and Colter get kicked in the face with the actual wrestler getting covered for two as a result.

The armbreaker is countered and Swagger hits a high belly to belly suplex for two. Jack goes after the leg but the Patriot Lock is quickly broken up. The Vader Bomb is broken up as well and Del Rio hits the ten forearms to the back followed by the Backstabber for two. The champion hits a hard German suplex for two but the armbreaker is countered into the gutwrench powerbomb for two.

There’s another Patriot Lock but as Swagger tries the grapevine, Del Rio slides over into the armbreaker in a sweet counter. Jack powers out of that into the Patriot Lock again but Alberto makes the rope. Another gutwrench powerbomb is countered and Del Rio fires off a kick to the head, only to hurt his ankle even more.

The corner enziguri hits Swagger but Colter puts the foot on the ropes at two. Ricardo goes after Zeb but gets kicked in the ankle. Del Rio and Colter both have a crutch but the distraction lets Swagger deck Alberto. They head back in and there’s the cross armbreaker out of nowhere for the tap out at 10:37. It was as sudden as it sounds.

Rating: C+. That ending came out of nowhere and cut short what was looking to be a good match. Thankfully they kept this a mat based match which is where both of these guys shine. The counters were pretty sweet out there and both guys looked good, but at the end of the day that ending stopped this dead in its tracks, which is a shame.

Alberto would trade the title with Dolph Ziggler over the summer before heading into Summerslam to defend against Christian.

Smackdown World Title: Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio

Christian won a three way to get the shot and has pinned Del Rio twice in the last few weeks. Alberto makes Lillian do his intro in Spanish in a nice touch. Christian quickly sends Del Rio out to the floor but misses a baseball slide. Back in and Del Rio escapes a top rope rana attempt and hits an enziguri to send Christian into the Tree of Woe. Alberto fires off kicks to the chest and a running one somewhere near the shoulder.

Del Rio sends the shoulder into the barricade, meaning he has his psychology boots on tonight. Alberto sends Christian crashing down to the mat and hits a dropkick to the shoulder. King: “That’ll shake your maracas.” A top rope stomp to the shoulder gets two but Christian avoids a running crotch attack in the ropes to send the champion to the floor. Christian hits a BIG dive off the top to take Del Rio down again and Christian pounds away back inside.

Del Rio misses a top rope enziguri and takes a high cross body for two. Alberto begs for a breather but suckers Christian in for a headbutt to the ribs. Christian flips out of a belly to back but can’t hit the Killswitch. The sunset flip out of the corner is countered into the Backstabber (the knees clearly slid off to the side and never hit the back) for two. A rollup gets two for Christian but he gets caught by the corner enziguri for another near fall. This is MUCH better than I was expecting coming in.

The sunset flip out of the corner is blocked by Alberto but Christian hits a running enziguri of his own. A top rope hurricanrana gets a VERY close two for the challenger as the fans are way into these near falls. The spear is countered by a fast dropkick for two for the champion and the low superkick gets the same. Del Rio lowers his knee pad but another shot to the head is countered into a rollup for two. There’s the spear but Christian’s arm gives out (THANK YOU! Edge did the same spot in 2001 but pinned Lance Storm like it was nothing). Del Rio grabs the armbreaker out of nowhere and Christian TAPS at 12:34.

Rating: B+. I REALLY liked this match but the 50/50 booking is so stupid. Christian beat Del Rio twice clean in a few weeks but now Del Rio gets a win so we’re supposed to be impressed? It doesn’t work that way no matter what WWE thinks. Enough of the bad stuff though as this was a great match with both guys looking awesome out there. The crowd was totally into it and the ending was a surprise. Really good stuff here.

We’ll wrap it up with a match against the hottest star in wrestling right now.

Daniel Bryan vs. Alberto Del Rio

Non-title of course. Daniel is aggressive to start but gets caught in a quick suplex and chinlock less than two minutes into the match. Bryan suplexes out of it and fires off the kicks, only to get caught in a Backstabber for two. Del Rio avoids a running dropkick in the corner and stomps away as we take a break. Back with Bryan missing the headbutt but almost getting the YES Lock, only to have Del Rio make the ropes. Del Rio comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for two as he’s bleeding from the lip a bit.

Bryan explodes out of the corner with a clothesline but Del Rio hits a Codebreaker on the arm for two. A middle rope dropkick gets two for Del Rio and he avoids a charge, sending Bryan shoulder first into the post. The corner enziguri misses though and both guys are down. Bryan fires off the kicks to the chest and the running dropkick in the corner followed by the top rope hurricanrana for two.

Del Rio is kicked to the floor and hit by the FLYING GOAT. Back inside and the missile dropkick has Del Rio in trouble but here’s Orton on the big screen. He apologizes for what happened to Brie earlier but says he’ll go check on her. Orton goes into the trainer’s room and Brie can be heard screaming after the door shuts. Bryan gets rolled up for two but kicks Del Rio in the head and runs to the back for the countout at 16:29.

Rating: C+. The match was ok but this show is so far beyond saving at this point that it doesn’t matter. At least they didn’t do the same distraction leads to a pin sequence and they didn’t job the champion again. This Orton vs. Bryan feud is just not working though and I think everyone knows it.

Alberto is a very talented gu\y who can work a great match at times, but at the same time his character in WWE has crippled him for years now. There’s just nothing there that we haven’t seen before and it’s really become a problem. His in ring psychology is always great and he’s fine once the bell rings, but unfortunately that’s nowhere near as important.

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1 comment

  1. MikeCheyne says:

    I used to go nuts overanalyzing Del Rio because I’m fond of his work. His big problem was that every time it seemed like he was ready to hit the next plane, something didn’t work. After fans seemed to grow sick of his character being pushed down the audience, they responded to him a bit after WrestleMania when he prepared to feud with Sheamus. On paper, this was a good feud and Del Rio seemed like a slick, fiendish villain to match the brawler. Unfortunately, it proved to be a lame feud where Sheamus always won. Then, a well-timed face turn and an excellent last man standing match seemed to make Del Rio into a really sharp traditional babyface. That turn was ruined by the stupid Swagger storyline. Then we get the Ziggler cash in/very sharp double turn, and now Del Rio looks like a great heel again…except the Ziggler story doesn’t reach any fruition and ADR ends up as a transition heel champ against faces of the month before jobbing to Cena and ending up as Batista’s personal jobber. On paper, ADR had a really nice 2013 with a solid array of good to great matches, but the character had no momentum. I really think the Ricardo storyline was a terrible idea–Ricardo was a great stooge and the face turn for Ricardo had potential but never worked.