Rumors that Alberto Del Rio could be making a return to World Wrestling Entertainment had been floated out there by websites such as the Wrestling Observer leading up to the October 2015 Hell in a Cell event. Those rumors and reports proved to be spot-on, as the Del Rio character was brought back at the show. Del Rio defeated John Cena for the United States Championship at Hell in a Cell, the first time that Del Rio had ever won that title. With Zeb Coulter now serving as his manager, it seems as if this version of Del Rio will differ from the arrogant aristocrat who was first introduced to WWE fans years ago.
The WWE acknowledged the history of the wrestler who would become Alberto Del Rio when the company first signed him. It was not hidden that he had gone by the name Dos Caras Jr. while working in other promotions. The WWE then completely changed his gimmick, removing his mask and turning him into a rich wrestler who had no problems with showing his face during matches and other appearances. Del Rio ultimately had a successful run in the WWE, but his time with the company quickly came to an end following a backstage incident that you might not know happened.
There is likely plenty that those who are not diehard fans of the WWE or of Del Rio do not know about the performer. For example, you may not be aware that there was once a time when it was a possibility that the Del Rio character was going to disappear before it ever appeared on television. Del Rio could have gone into a different line of work after earning a degree, but the wrestling industry lured him away from that life. That was a smart decision for Del Rio, as the WWE is making it worth his while to be a performer for the company.
15 Real Name
It is said of some performers that wrestling is in their blood. That could not be more true for the man who would become the Alberto Del Rio character. Jose Alberto Rodríguez is the son of the performer Dos Caras. He is a nephew of well-known Luchadores Mil Mascaras and Sicodelico, and Del Rio is a cousin of Sicodelico Jr.. Some people are simply meant to work in the wrestling industry. While is career has had both downs and ups, Del Rio has found success in multiple companies. It is understandable why Del Rio has looked like a natural in the business.
14 His WWE Salary
WWE fans should expect to see quite a bit of Del Rio during at least the first few months of his return to the company. The WWE would be wasting money if that is not the case. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer has reported that Del Rio's deal carries a downside guarantee of $1.45 million (h/t Camel Clutch Blog). That is the type of money that main-event performers earn in the WWE. This does not necessarily mean that Del Rio will win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. Del Rio could, as an example, be pushed as an unbeatable United States champion.
13 His Degree
Imagine a world where somebody else would have played the Alberto Del Rio character or where that character was never created in the first place. Either could have happened had Del Rio perceived a much different life outside of the wrestling industry. Del Rio, per his biography page on the Slam Sports website, earned a degree in architecture from Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi. To the delight of wrestling fans located in multiple countries, Del Rio instead went on to become an architect inside of the ring. It is possible that we have not yet seen the best from Del Rio while working in the WWE.
12 Why He Was Fired
It was somewhat shocking when the following statement was uploaded on the official WWE website in August 2014: “WWE announced the release of Del Rio due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.” The company then took to Twitter to post the following: “@VivaDelRio is responsible for his own actions. If you’re angry at anyone, be angry at Alberto. There’s no excuse for a pro athlete not to conduct themselves in a professional manner.” Del Rio explained, while appearing on the WrestleTalkTV podcast, that he had been fired after he slapped a WWE employee who, according to Del Rio, had made a racist joke. Aaron Olster of the Baltimore Sun speculated that the fact that Del Rio's WWE contract was almost up may have played a role in the company firing the performer.
11 TNA Wrestling?
The state of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling remains somewhat unknown to those who do not work for the company. Sean Rueter of Cageside Seats speculated in the middle of October 2015 that the company, specifically Dixie Carter, was interested in bringing the former Del Rio to TNA. TNA could have offered Del Rio a more-relaxed schedule. What that company could not offer, however, was the money that the WWE ultimately gave the wrestler. This is just another reminder that TNA is not at all a competitor to the WWE. It is now just an option for those who are unsigned by the top wrestling company in the world.
10 Almost An Olympian
It is hardly a secret about Del Rio, if it can even be considered a secret, that he had a mixed martial arts career before he first appeared on WWE television. There were rumors out there after Del Rio was fired by the WWE that he could join up with MMA organization Bellator. While appearing on the PWI Podcast in January 2015, Del Rio explained that there were “offers out there” for him to make a return to MMA. A smart businessman, Del Rio stated that the offer had to be right for him to link up with Bellator or any other organization. It's safe to assume that the “right” offer never came.
8 He Respects CM Punk
CM Punk made headlines in 2014 when he unexpectedly walked away from the company for personal reasons. Punk later retired as a pro wrestler and signed a contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Del Rio explained, during his interview with WrestleTalk TV, that he had respect for Punk. Del Rio referred to the “Straight Edge Superstar” as a “stand-up guy” for standing up for what he believed in. One has to wonder, now that Del Rio is again working as a WWE performer, if the wrestler would have similar comments about Punk today.
7 Del Rio Almost Quit
It turns out that an employee making a racist comment/joke was not the first time that Del Rio had found himself annoyed with the company. He explained while appearing on the Lucha Libre show Tercera Caida (h/t WrestleInc.com) that he thought about leaving the WWE before he ever officially made his debut as Del Rio. Del Rio said that he had contemplated returning to Mexico because he disliked working for developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling. Del Rio also stated, however, that he realized that FCW was important, as it taught wrestlers how to work the WWE style.
6 Return To AAA
Casual fans who only follow the WWE product may have lost track of Del Rio after he departed the company. No worries, as we have you covered. Del Rio, as had been expected, made a return to Mexican wrestling promotion AAA after he was fired by the WWE. The Alberto Del Rio name had been trademarked by the WWE and so the wrestler had to come up with something else to call himself. He went with “El Patron,” which translates to “The Boss.” The man who would be known as The Boss made his return appearance for AAA at Triplemania XXII.
5 Ring of Honor
AAA would be just the first stop along the way for Del Rio before he ultimately made it back to the WWE. He picked up gigs working for Ring of Honor as “Alberto El Patron,” a combination of the names that he had in the WWE and AAA. The wrestler who had won championships on multiple occasions had an opportunity to defeat Jay Lethal for the ROH Television Championship at the ROH 13th Anniversary show. The fates were not on his side on that night, though, as Lethal won the match to retain his championship. Does that mean that Lethal is better than John Cena? Hmm.
4 Lucha Underground
Depending on where you live and how much you care about non-WWE organizations, you may not be aware of the existence of Lucha Underground. The promotion has been praised by wrestling journalists such as Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly. One of the biggest stars of Lucha Underground was the character Alberto el Patron. Wrestling Observer reported in the fall of 2015 that it was unlikely that El Patron would return to Lucha Underground because of financial and creative reasons. That story was one of the reasons it was rumored that Del Rio could reappear on WWE television before the end of the year.
3 MMA Record
As was mentioned earlier in this piece, Del Rio is a respected athlete who had a MMA run before he abandoned that part of his life in favor of a pro wrestling career. Del Rio does, per the Sherdog website, have a winning record of 9-5 as a professional fighter. His quickest victory came in his first fight, a TKO win over Kengo Watanabe. Del Rio's shortest fight ended in just 46 seconds when Mirko Filipović, better known as “Cro Cop,” defeated Del Rio by knockout. In the end, Del Rio decided that “fake” fighting was better for him than MMA. That looks to have been the right call.
2 Del Rio Accidentally Knocked Daniel Bryan Out
Pro wrestling is, of course, fake. Accidents do sometimes happen during matches. Del Rio, during a RFVideo.com shoot, talked about such a mistake that occurred when he was working with Daniel Bryan. Del Rio had apparently made too much contact with Bryan during a match, so much so that Bryan was unable to get up from the blow. Somewhat disturbing about the incident, if Del Rio was right and telling the truth about the matter, is that Del Rio was instructed to continue the match with Bryan. One would hope that the WWE would want to take better care of its performers.
1 Del Rio Respects John Cena
Certain pockets of wrestling fans who are not fond of the leader of the Cenation may want to ignore this portion of the piece. “John Cena is one of the best wrestlers in the world.” That is, word for word, what Del Rio had to say about Cena during an appearance on WrestleTalk TV. Del Rio even hit out at fans who have criticized Cena's wrestling abilities over the years. The WWE has done well to capitalize on the fact that Cena is so polarizing among fans. Those “Let's go Cena” and “Cena sucks!” chants are mainstays of WWE shows. There is no question about what Del Rio thinks of Cena.