By Joseph Hernandez
Coming off a sort of "Electrifying" episode of SmackDown, what aspect of the show is on everyone's mind right now? The Rock & his GOLD segment with the Rhodes Scholars? Perhaps, but the bigger story was the crowning of a Mexican Aristocrat after a brutal contest with the World's Largest Athlete. I am talking about none other than Alberto Del Rio shockingly (not really) defeating Big Show in a Last Man Standing match to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. It was indeed a great moment for Del Rio as he meets his destiny once again.
But the question now is: Why? Well, many people, including myself, think its because Dolph Ziggler needs to cash in on a face and Del Rio fills in the blank. This would make him a transitional champion, which is unfortunate because this will mean another short and meaningless world title reign for the the Essence of Excellence.
But that may not be so in WWE's plans. It actually dates back to the TLC PPV of last year. This was when Alberto Del Rio initially turned when he saved his personal announcer Ricardo Rodriguez from 3MB during a Miz TV segment. The reason for this sudden turn was that WWE wanted a top Hispanic babyface since Rey Mysterio isn't really around anymore and Sin Cara has been categorized as a disappointment. At first, Del Rio received no reaction because the turn really confused people on what his role was now. From that point on wards he was being booked more like a heel than anything as he ran over Santa Claus on the "Christmas Eve" edition of Raw and even faced John Cena in the main event. Another issue with his new was there was no significant character change, which is a problem because without that, nobody would buy him as a face.
Then came the "New Year's Eve" edition of Raw. But it was also "Champion's Choice" night and then-World Heavyweight Champion Big Show chose Ricardo Rodriguez. Before his title match, Ricardo was getting special support from Alberto Del Rio backstage when he was given Del Rio's scarf AND his luxury car to go in WITH STYLE! That little exchange was what sold me on Del Rio's new role. Then came the match and Alberto Del Rio was now being booked right as a babyface as he once again saved his now friend from the grasp of the giant. He would then dissapear the entire following week and even the Raw the week after that. It was announced on that show that four days later on SmackDown, Alberto Del Rio and Big Show would square off in a match. Come Friday night, the match is changed to a last man standing for the World Heavyweight title. That is when Del Rio seized his destiny once again and captured championship gold.
Its clear now that WWE truly want to make Del Rio their top Hispanic babyface and are willing to push him harder than ever. They may have started him off odd, but he is now on the right track. But the question now is: Is he capable of getting to and staying on that spot? Or better yet, lets restate the title of this article: Can Alberto Del Rio be the next Eddie Guerrero?
What made Eddie so special was his morals of lying, cheating and stealing. He was able to apply these to his character and make them work as he remained a face but used the tactics of a heel. That takes talent, people. He was also a very good technical worker and great performer, which was also something that I loved about him. He may have been small, but he was no vanilla midget, Nash. His persona was what made him larger than life and a leader for the Latino/Hispanic community.
Then you look at Alberto Del Rio and what does he offer? Is he charismatic? No. Is he a great in-ring worker? Yes. Does he have a personality as big as Eddie's? Hell no. While Del Rio does possess talents in the ring, he lacks an in-depth character and quite frankly is one dimensional on the mic and in personality. Sure, he has the look so you could see him as a top guy, just not quite.
Its is with heavy heart that I say nobody could ever replace or generate the Latino Heat of Eddie Guerrero. Not Rey Mysterio, not Sin Cara, definitively not Chavo Guerrero and most importantly, not Alberto Del Rio.
So, does this mean its impossible for Del Rio to become the top Hispanic babyface WWE wants him to be? No, but my point in this article is that he will be seen in that spot as the late and great Eddie Guerrero was seen.