Sunday, August 10, 2014

Top Ten Alberto Del Rio Matches

A big deal fairly quick. When Alberto Del Rio's profile leaked on before his television debut, it actually said that he would be a big deal fairly quick. This would prove to be true as Del Rio made his debut and made a quick impact entering a feud with fellow Mexican, Rey Mysterio. He would earn his first World Title shot just a few months into his career in a Fatal Four Way TLC match at TLC, but couldn't win. He would however, win the Royal Rumble the following month. That's where we pick this up. The top ten matches of Del Rio's career in chronological order.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Edge at WrestleMania XXVII

We'll start with the most infamous match in the career of Alberto Del Rio. It will forever go down in history as the final match in the career of the “Rated R Superstar” Edge. Del Rio won the first ever 40 man Royal Rumble in WWE history to earn this shot and while the build up wasn't great, I was looking forward to this. Christian seconded Edge, while Del Rio had Brodus Clay at ringside. We got treated to the first opening World Title match in WrestleMania history and a relatively clean bout that was competitive and fun. Edge would retain the gold after 11 minutes, but Del Rio showed that he can go in the ring.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian at Extreme Rules 2011

After Edge announced that he would have to retire due to injury, the World Heavyweight Title was held in abeyance! That guy gets a lot of reigns. Christian would take Edge's spot against Del Rio at Extreme Rules and it would be in Christian's patented ladder match. What followed was a 21 minute battle that I've seen multiple times actually. It went back and forth for the entire time and a lot of people thought Del Rio would pull it out. Unfortunately for him, Christian would realize his dream and capitalize on the emotional momentum from his best friend's retirement. Del Rio would have to figure out another route to his destiny.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Money in the Bank 2011

If being a champion was his destiny then Money in the Bank is the easiest path to take to get there. This particular Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View is my favorite ever. With the historic CM Punk/John Cena match, nearly anything else would be overshadowed. In the midst of it though, was a fantastic Money in the Bank match featuring the Raw superstars. Del Rio joined Mysterio, R-Truth, The Miz, Alex Riley, Kofi Kingston, Jack Swagger and Evan Bourne for nearly 16 minutes of action. Del Rio was in trouble early on as everyone buried him under a sea of ladders. He withstood The Miz returning to the ring from injury and snatched the briefcase after unmasking Mysterio. Things were about to get controversial for Del Rio.

Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk at Survivor Series 2011

Following the events of Money in the Bank, CM Punk and John Cena met to determine the WWE Title at SummerSlam. After Punk won, he was attacked by Kevin Nash of all people. Del Rio used this opportune moment to cash in his briefcase. After some lackluster matches with John Cena, Del Rio was slated to meet CM Punk in Madison Square Garden. They didn't go on last due to the Rock and John Cena teaming up, but they might have had the best match of the night. Following 17 grueling minutes, CM Punk was able to get the win and begin a record breaking 434 day reign as WWE Champion.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus at Night of Champions 2012

Early on in 2012, Del Rio was sidelined with an injury, but returned the night after WrestleMania XXVIII and engaged in a feud with then World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus. They would have a series of matches throughout the year, but they Night of Champions match in Boston topped them all. By September, their feud was getting very tired but that did not stop the match from being must see. These are two guys who seem to always put on good matches, especially when together. A 14 minute World Title match ended with Del Rio coming up just short. Five matches into this and just one Del Rio win.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Randy Orton at Smackdown

2012 would continue to be rough for the Mexican Aristocrat as he was unable to score many big wins or titles. His focus turned to Randy Orton at the end of the year and Del Rio took to calling himself the “New Apex Predator” and the “Real Deal”. They would compete at Hell in a Cell with Orton coming out on top before a rematch was scheduled for the November 6th edition of Friday Night Smackdown. This time though, the match would be a Falls Count Anywhere contest. Del Rio cost himself this one as he got overconfident and cocky, allowing Orton to nail a sick RKO on the steel steps and earn the W.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show at Smackdown

At TLC 2012, Alberto Del Rio randomly turned face when 3MB targeted Ricardo Rodriguez. His face turn led him into a showdown with then World Heavyweight Champion, the Big Show. On my 23rd birthday, January 11th, 2013, Del Rio was granted a title shot, but it was going to be in a Last Man Standing match. Definitely a tall task (pun intended) when facing the Big Show. The crowd in Miami was hot for Del Rio as he worked towards his first World Heavyweight Title. Both guys used weapons around the ring but the creative ending came when Del Rio flipped the announce table on Show and the referee counted to ten, earning Del Rio the World Heavyweight Championship!

Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler at Money in the Bank 2013

Del Rio's time as World Heavyweight Champion would last through WrestleMania 29, where he defeated Jack Swagger. The next night however, he wouldn't be so lucky because Dolph Ziggler would cash in his Money in the Bank successfully on Del Rio in one of the best moments in recent Raw history. Del Rio would get a rematch at Payback and won following underhanded tactics, turning heel again. Ziggler would turn face and get his rematch at Money in the Bank. For more than 14 minutes, two of the best workers the WWE has to offer went head to head and the crowd wasn't sure who would win. Unfortunately, untimely interference from Dolph's girlfriend AJ Lee resulted in the disqualification win for Del Rio.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian at SummerSlam 2013

SummerSlam 2013 is a phenomenal show. From Daniel Bryan topping John Cena for the WWE Championship, to Randy Orton cashing in Money in the Bank to the war between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. But, one thing that gets lost in the shuffle is the World Heavyweight Title match. Many people, myself included, didn't give Christian a snowball's chance in hell here. I remember sitting at home watching with my brother and we slowly found ourselves believing that Christian would pull this off. That says something about the two guys performing because they totally changed my perspective. After many near falls in 12 minutes, Christian was forced to submit to the Cross Armbreaker.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Sheamus at Main Event

His World Title reign ended at the hands of John Cena at Hell in a Cell and things went downhill from there for Del Rio. He failed to get the belt back at Survivor Series, lost to Batista at Elimination Chamber and lost in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Del Rio went from World Champion to nobody in the span of a few months. That didn't stop him from putting on good matches and the most recent is a Last Man Standing United States Title match with Sheamus. For being a match with little to no build, we saw the use of kendo sticks and other weapons in a fun brawl that Sheamus would win.

Alberto Del Rio was only around for about four years with the WWE and while he won four World Titles, I'll mainly remember him as a guy who was consistent in the ring, but had some character issues. Check out the matches on this list if you want proof of the man's ability.