Seeing as Mr. Alberto Del Rio is once again relevant after signing with Impact Wrestling. Now that everyone is talking about him again, I feel now is a good time to write this. The Mexican Aristocrat was skilled within the ropes, that is without question. However a reputation of phoning it in and complacency followed him, especially during his second tenure. Despite that, he has put one some great matches. Here are four underrated ones few ever talk about.
4. Versus Sheamus (Main Event 2014)
‘Tis highly unlikely that many of you have seen this. How many of you actually watch Main Event? If you haven’t, you’re missing out. This was a highly enjoyable Last Man Standing match for the United States Championship.
This was a thrilling bout that saw lots of weapon shots, particularly with the Singapore canes. Unfortunately Del Rio wound up with the short end of the kendo stick, and he was put through a table for his troubles. He was unable to answer the ten count and lost.
Despite the loss, it was a highly entertaining match. It was part of the attempted rehabilitation of the US title after Dean Ambrose’s particularly abysmal reign. It was quite a laudable effort, really. The match really put the title over, and Del Rio and Sheamus looked absolutely vicious in the ring. Even if there was no title on the line, this would still have been a great match.
3. Versus 3 Other Guys (Smackdown 2016)
In the time between the announcement of the impending brand split and the implementation of the brand split, Smackdown was mostly kinda spinning its wheels. I mean, it had been irrelevant for three or so years prior to the draft, but during that stretch in 2016, it really felt like they were just killing time until July.
Despite that, they still had some great matches. It’s just no one really watched them. It was their loss, though, as on June 30, there was an excellent fatal four way. Del Rio fought against Sheamus, Cesaro, an Apollo Crews for a shot at Rusev’s United States Championship later that night. It was an exciting affair that did not let up. Each man fought like they had something to prove. It was a hard-hitting match, and the few who remember it will remember Cesaro’s apron cannonball that knocked Sheamus silly.
In the end it was the Essence of Excellence who tapped out to Cesaro’s Sharpshooter. After the match Del Rio caught a case of the grumpy-grumps and attacked the Swiss Superman, allowing Rusev to clean up the scraps and retain his title.
2. Versus Christian (Extreme Rules 2011)
This match was held after Edge’s final match at Wrestlemania XVII. Edge was forced to retire, and rather than taking the World Heavyweight title with him when he appeared in Vikings, he opted to vacate it. Del Rio thought he could waltz in and take the title, but he was forced to face Christian in a Ladder match for the vacant title.
The Essence of Excellence and Captain Charisma went to war over the title. It was an electrifying contest, with an undeniable chemistry between the two competitors. The Aristocrat took his fair share of bumps, and at times it even looked like he was gonna shock the world by actually retrieving the World Heavyweight Championship. However it would be Christian who prevailed this time. The Canadian celebrated with his buddy, the recently-retired Edge, and all was well.
Of course, Christian dropped the title to Randy Orton less than a week later, but that’s a story for another time.
1. Versus Big Show (Smackdown 2013)
At one point in his career, Alberto Del Rio was a face. He was rich, and he had a butler/personal announcer, but the people loved him anyway. Go figure. Still, don’t let this detract from this awesome Last Man Standing match that took place on the January 11 episode of Smackdown. For some reason, this is also the only match on this list that the Essence of Excellence wins. Go figure.
It had its fair share of exciting bumps, with tables, chairs, and carnage galore. Barricades were broken, stairs were slammed into, and chests (mainly Del Rio) were slapped. It was a great rendition of the “giant slayer” trope. Big Show was simply too strong or stubborn to stay down, so Del Rio had to resort to other means. After being put through a whole lot of tables, both men were at their breaking points. In a highly creative finish, Mexico’s Greatest Export overturned the announce table onto the prone Big Show. He was unable to get up, and Del Rio became champion.
WWE hates to be redundant, so the duo had another Last Man Standing match that same month at the Royal Rumble. That match was also good, so no harm there, I guess.