Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Alberto Del Rio = JBL + Tito Santana Knockoff

If there is one thing in professional wrestling that I hate/despise is the constant copying and pasting of past gimmicks that worked for others, but not for new wrestlers. Case in point for myself--Alberto Del Rio.

It seems everyone on the internet, not so much the live audience, has drank the Kool Aid of Alberto Del Rio. For those that are new to my blog: when I write about a wrestler I was give history about him or her. Let me offer some history of Alberto Del Rio.

Alberto Rodríguez (born May 25, 1977) is a Mexican professional wrestler, currently signed onto World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), performing on its SmackDown brand under the ring name Alberto Del Rio. He is the 2011 Royal Rumble winner. Before working for WWE, Rodriguez used the name Dos Caras, Jr. as both a mixed martial artist and luchador in mostly Mexico and Japan. He worked in both of Mexico's main wrestling promotions and achieved success in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), where he is a former World Heavyweight Champion.

Son of noted luchador Dos Caras, nephew of Mil Mascaras and Sicodelico, and cousin to Sicodelico, Jr. and Hijo de Sicodelico, Rodríguez is part of one of the most well known Mexican wrestling families. The name Dos Caras translates to Two Faces, referring to the symbol of a double headed eagle on his mask.

Born in San Luis Potosí as the son of luchador Dos Caras. Rodríguez graduated from Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosí where he earned a degree in architecture. Growing up in a family of wrestlers Rodríguez decided to take up Greco-Roman wrestling, training under Leonel Kolesni and Juan Fernández. He earned a place on the Mexican national team in Greco-Roman wrestling and while competing on the national team obtained several accomplishments. In 1997, he placed third at the World Junior Championships, in the Czech Republic. He also won the Central American and Caribbean Games in his weight division three times and won a medal at the Pan American Games. Rodríguez was on track to compete at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but due to a lack of funding and support, Mexico did not send a wrestling team that year.

After not competing at the 2000 Olympic games Rodriguez turned to the family business, and trained with his father to become a professional wrestler. Junior made his debut appearance on May 9, 2000 as he ran in during an Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA) show to save his father from a beat down from El Texano, Pirata Morgan and Espectro, Jr. After making follow up TV show appearances Caras did not make his in ring debut until September 29 of that year when he teamed with Sangre Chicana, El Alebrije and La Parka, Jr. to defeat Los Consagrados (El Texano, Pirata Morgan, Espectro, Jr. and El Cobarde) at AAA's summer event Verano de Escándalo. After his debut Rodriguez would travel to Japan to compete as well, making his Japanese debut on October 11 by teaming with his father to defeat the team of El Azteca and Chiba. Junior continued his AAA storyline with Los Consagrados, teaming with Octagón, La Parka, Jr. and Hong Kong Lee to defeat Los Consagrados by disqualification. Over the next couple of years Caras would work both in Mexico and Japan to gain experience in the ring. In Mexico he worked exclusively for AAA making appearances at shows such as the 2002 Verano de Escándalo, where he teamed with Gronda and El Hijo del Solitario to defeat the trio of Pirata Morgan, Sangre Chicana and El Brazo.

In 2005, Rodriguez was signed to a contract with Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). In his first test in the company, Caras competed in the 2005 Copa Jr., but the storyline of the tournament saw him defeated in the semi-final by Dr. Wagner, Jr. Junior's advancement to the semi-final of the cup, mere months after signing with the company was an indicator that the bookers were interested in elevating him up the rankings, this was further supported when he received matches for both the CMLL World Heavyweight Championship and the CMLL World Light Heavyweight Championship inside a three week period. The following year on March 31, 2006 Caras was entered again into the Copa Jr. tournament and earned a return victory over Dr. Wager, Jr. who knocked him out of the tournament the previous year. He also won against Heavy Metal and Apolo Dantes to gain a place in the final, defeating Héctor Garza to win the prize. While working in Japan, Caras had taken to teaming with another second generation wrestler, Lizmark, Jr., and when both found themselves in CMLL they were teamed up once again with the team's famous fathers being the selling point. Over the next year Caras found himself without much direction, he worked storylines with Último Guerrero and Kenzo Suzuki but nothing long term came of it. Caras received two opportunities to challenge Universo 2000 for the CMLL World Heavyweight title but came up short until his third attempt on July 8, 2007 when he became the CMLL World Heavyweight Champion. While in wrestling promotions outside of Mexico the Heavyweight title would indicate that he was the top man in the federation, Mexican wrestling promotions tend to put more emphasis on the lower weight divisions over the heavyweights.

Caras's run with the CMLL World Heavyweight championship remained largely uneventful with only four title defenses in the 533 days that he held the championship. After defending against Lizmark, Jr. and former champion Universo 2000 it would be 9 months before his next defense. By the fall of 2008 a story broke that Rodriguez had wrestled a dark match for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and that they had offered him a contract. Over the following months conflicting reports of whether he had signed or not arose but he remained CMLL World Heavyweight Champion. When Caras lost the title to Último Guerrero it was believed that he had indeed signed with WWE, with him being rumored to be a surprise participant in the 2009 Royal Rumble. However, Rodriguez remained with CMLL and stated that he signed a four year deal and chose CMLL because they offered him a better deal than WWE.

Through out his entire career Dos Caras, Jr. had always played a heroic character, known in Mexico as a técnico. However, after the contract dealings with WWE surfaced he began showing signs of becoming a villain, known as a rudo. He would turn his attention away from the matches and instead try to win the approval of the fans, often costing his team the match because he was distracted. Caras himself explained this behavior by stating that he "hurt his shoulder, but bravely stayed in the arena". After hinting at a change for weeks Caras finally cemented his villainous persona on April 11, 2009, the first member of the Rodríguez family to be a heel. After becoming a rudo, he began working a storyline with Shocker.

On June 17, 2009, Rodriguez confirmed that he had signed a three-year contract with WWE, stating that he would not have to go to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental territory, but would go directly to the main roster. Furthermore, he would retain the rights to his name, mask and image but allow the WWE to use it for promotional purposes while he is under contract with them. He agreed to the contract since it addressed the main reasons why he turned down the WWE's offer in January 2009. Despite his claims, he had a match with Kris Logan at FCW wrestling under the name Dos. He later also went on to wrestle under the ring names Dorado and El Dorado. During a segment on the Abraham Washington show at the August 6 taping, Rodriguez revealed a new, unmasked wrestling character named Alberto Banderas . During Raw's WrestleMania Revenge tour of Europe in April 2010, Caras made numerous appearances in untelevised matches for the Raw brand. One night he wrestled as Dos Caras, but he did not wear his mask. He was presented as a villain in a losing effort against Christian. The following month Caras put his mask back on for WWE's tour of Mexico and worked as a hometown hero, prior to returning unmasked during untelevised matches for subsequent Raw and SmackDown shows.

On the June 25, 2010 episode of SmackDown, Rodriguez debuted on a pre-taped promotional video as the unmasked Alberto Del Rio. Thereafter, a vignette aired every week on SmackDown promoting his character as an arrogant rich Mexican aristocrat, espousing his own virtues of honesty, integrity and mental faculties. After two months, he debuted on the August 20 edition of SmackDown by defeating fellow luchadore Rey Mysterio in the main event using his new cross armbar submission. As part of his act, Del Rio makes his entrances in a Rolls-Royce, while he is being introduced by his personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez. The following week, Del Rio continued the storyline with Mysterio by attacking him after his match with Kane, giving him a storyline injury by refusing to relinquish his armbar. Two weeks later he defeated Matt Hardy via submission in Hardy's last appearance with the company causing Hardy's friend Christian to challenge Del Rio to a match at Night of Champions. Although he declined the match, on the September 24 edition of SmackDown Del Rio attacked Christian and injured him the same way he did Mysterio the previous month, marking the third successive wrestler Del Rio was scripted to injure. This was done to write Christian off television, as he had suffered a torn pectoral muscle. Mysterio returned on the October 8 SmackDown episode and handed Del Rio his first defeat in the main event match. In October Del Rio defeated Chris Masters to represent the SmackDown brand at Bragging Rights, but during the pay-per-view event he attacked teammate Rey Mysterio, before being eliminated from the match by Team Raw's CM Punk. At Survivor Series, in the traditional five-on-five elimination match, Del Rio captained a team against Rey Mysterio's team. Although Del Rio's team lost he was never technically eliminated, instead Big Show knocked him out with a punch and he was removed from the match. On the November 26 SmackDown, Del Rio defeated Big Show via countout to qualify for the 2010 King of the Ring tournament.In the tournament the next week on Raw, he made United States Champion Daniel Bryan submit in the first round, but would be defeated by John Morrison in the semi-final after being distracted by Mysterio who was inside his car.

On the November 30 episode of WWE NXT, it was announced that Del Rio would be a mentor to Conor O'Brian on the fourth season of NXT, starting the following week. On December 19 at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs Del Rio competed in a Fatal-4-Way Tables, Ladders and Chairs match for the World Heavyweight Championship, which was won by Edge and also included the then champion Kane and Rey Mysterio.On the January 7, 2011, edition of SmackDown, Del Rio defeated Mysterio in a Two Out of Three Falls match, with help from Ricardo Rodriguez to end his long feud with Mysterio. On January 18 Del Rio's NXT rookie Conor O'Brian became the second contestant eliminated from the competition. The following week the rookies competed in a fatal four way match in which the winner would be able to change their pro. Brodus Clay won the match and chose Del Rio as his new pro. On January 30, 2011, Del Rio defeated 39 other participants to win the 2011 Royal Rumble and earned the right to compete for either the World Heavyweight Championship or the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXVII by last eliminating Santino Marella. The following night on Raw, Del Rio chose to compete for the World Heavyweight Championship, which, at the time of his choosing, was held by Edge.

Source: Online World of Wrestling and WWE.com

After reading all of his history and background, I will admit--Alberto Del Rio started to grow on me but not as Alberto Del Rio. He seemed to care more about his style of wrestling, ring psychology, and overall entertainment when he was in AAA and CMLL as well as wearing a mask. Did he fall into the attitude "well I am in WWE now. I really do not have to work."? My answer--YES.

First of all, he takes FOREVER to get to the ring; even though he drives up the ramp ala JBL in a trick out Bentley. Is that for heel heat and the attitude of "you paid to see me, you will wait."? Oh most definitely, but that does not mean it does not piss me off. Then when he gets onto the microphone, his accent is so thick you can hardly understand him; unless you have an Spanish/Latin background. He is using the same promos, the same speech, the same gimmick as JBL. I am all for getting new stars over, for example Bryan Danielson who then became Daniel Bryan, the nerd who attractive women love and arrogant men love to hate as well as Mike Mizanin, who came from reality television to one of the biggest stars in the WWE today. Both Bryan and Mike used their own personalities outside of the ring to make themselves into faces and heels. Alberto Del Rio--if he was writing a document, he just copied and pasted from JBL's playbook.

In the matches that I have seen of his in the WWE, he at most has 10 moves and/or cheats to win. To top it all off, his finisher is a flying armbar. Let me repeat that--A FLYING ARMBAR. A finishing move is supposed to be devastating and powerful. Triple H has the pedigree. CM Punk has the Pepsi Plunge which is a pedigree off the top rope and the GTS. Randy Orton has the RKO as well as a punt kick to the head. What is so devastating and powerful about a FLYING ARMBAR? If you can tell me, I will listen.

Therefore, I do not like Alberto Del Rio. Until he can show me some originality or even go back to his days of CMLL and AAA and use that in WWE (heck CM Punk did it with his straight edge lifestyle, than maybe I will cheer for him.

1 comment:

  1. right on point can't stand him hes recycled and not original. we don't need carbon copies. also too early too soon. remember when orton first won the title. he was too young. well same for del rio.


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