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Unleashed Exclusive: Alberto Del Rio, Accidental Activist?

nolabels-tfts
Greetings!  No Labels here.  I don’t know if I should deem this a review (although it does talk about wrestling), but I will be covering the following things and ranking them on a 0-5 scale (0 being bad, 5 being excellent), not necessarily in any set order:

  1. Was Alberto Del Rio (now El Patron) justified in his action as it pertains to hitting Cody Barbierri?
  2. Did WWE handle the situation appropriately the first time?
  3. Did WWE handle the situation appropriately the second time?
  4. Should Alberto Del Rio be the spokesperson for racism in the WWE?
  5. Did Del Rio actually become more popular as a result of the controversy?

For a while, Mr. Controversy and I discussed taking our talks about wrestling a little further than just our views on the pay-per-views coming out–more specifically, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).  The arrival of the WWE Network fell tremendously short of the company’s expectations and many changes had to be made, including letting go of employees that were part of the roster as well as the magazine segment of WWE.


In early August, an unexpected firing occurred.  Alberto Del Rio was released from WWE due to “unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.”  As more investigation took place, the following details were discovered:

Alberto Del Rio has been talked about more in the past couple of months than he has for his entire stint that he’s been a part of WWE, in my opinion.  After the initial firing, it is reported that Triple H instructed Del Rio that if he “kept his nose clean”, WWE would rehire him within six months but by this time Del Rio had made it clear he would not be returning to the company.

There is a 90 day compete cause in the WWE contract after you’ve been released, which Alberto del Rio fought against and won.  Now he is in AAA, competing as El Patron.  With that victory in the bag, Del Rio is throwing gasoline onto the fire by retweeting claims of racism running rampant in the WWE.

And just like that, Alberto Del Rio has become an activist, saying WWE is racist at every opportunity.

I’m not going to address the whole racist angle because asking if WWE is racist is like asking me if my favorite drink is Dr. Pepper, or asking do I currently have locs in my hair.  (And even if you don’t know the answer to the first part of that statement, it is the same answer as the second part of that statement.)

My viewpoint has more to do is if Del Rio is really the person who is the appropriate spokesperson for racism in the WWE.

th_hmmm-anm-hmmm-female-smiley-emoticoIn my eyes, he really isn’t.

  • First of all, Alberto Del Rio did make it to the promised land.  The Promised Land=WWE Championship.  Not once, but twice.  True, the reigns weren’t for that long but he got there.  I know of way too many other superstars who didn’t get that far but that is to be revealed and talked about in other blog entries down the line.

rdFVh

  • Alberto Del Rio’s gimmick was one where he was allowed to showcase pride in being part of a Mexican aristocracy.  He wasn’t carrying around Coronas and the cars he had weren’t tricked out and on hydrolics.  Out of all the Latino representations in wrestling, his spiel was definitely more flattering than some of the others I’ve seen.
  • Plus, Del Rio wasn’t exactly the easiest man to get along with in the back.  His disputes with the actual Sin Cara went beyond storyline.  Batista was “not impressed“, and there were other WWE superstars that Del Rio necessarily get along with.
  • His contract was nearly up with WWE anyway and the character development particularly in the last year of his contract was shaky at best.  The firing actually ended up being the best thing for him because people are now talking about him when before, no one would have really noticed if he was away.

boredgirlWhen he was a part of WWE, his character bored me (although I dug the entrance music and his cars).  He is of great wrestling lineage but I didn’t feel like WWE gave Alberto a chance to really showcase what he could do.

Ricardo and Alberto were separated too soon in his character development without any concrete idea as to how to further advance his promo deliveries.

Source: iwanticewater.wordpress.com

Source: iwanticewater.wordpress.com

Alberto trying to trash talk was laughable at best.  I didn’t miss him the times when he missed action.  I didn’t care whether he was a heel or a face.  I can’t even say I was sad when he was let go–only the circumstances in which the entire thing happened.

The main thing I’m outraged about is what I deem “the misappropriation of repercussions.”  Here is what I mean:

  • Just like you aren’t supposed to cause physical harm to another employee, you aren’t supposed to say any racial or discriminatory language towards someone either.

As far as I know, the instigator of the whole altercation (Social Media Manager Cody Barbierri) was not punished in the least bit for his disrespect towards Alberto Del Rio–no suspension without pay, no loss of his job.  (If this changes, I’ll be happy to update.)  This is probably not the first nor the last time Cody has said something out of pocket about someone whose background differs from his.  Yet why hasn’t any one else said anything about it (or at least gone on record publicly)? 

CM Punk Indian StyleThis brings me to my next food of thought:

  • Why was WWE scared of Cody’s lawsuit?

I’m not advocating anyone hitting anyone.  Yet, Cody acted like he was in the ring and got the cat piss beat out of him.  All the reports say it was a slap that knocked Cody down.  You mean to tell me that a lawsuit involving a slap spooked WWE enough to say, “You know what Del Rio, the suspension is not enough.  We’re firing your ass!”

SMH RamsaySorry.  Too suspect for me.

Is it really because Cody’s lips are puckered very close to the McMahon backside and he truly has immunity from backlash?  Does Cody have something on them that can make WWE look even worse than it is?  I’m leaning very close to the latter. 

Source: wrestlingwithtext.com

Source: wrestlingwithtext.com

WWE should have remained decisive on their punishment of Del Rio.  If they really felt that all Del Rio needed was to sit out until past Summer Slam, they should have stuck with it.  If they felt a firing was in order, they should have initiated that at the time of incident.  On top of that, the other guy should have gotten punishment, since WWE claims not to to “tolerate discrimination and racism at all”.  The lack of action against Cody clearly shows the opposite.

Verdict is in:

  • The rise of Alberto’s name recognition: 5 Stars
  • The way WWE handled the situation the 1st time: 3.5 Stars (Not to say it’s cool to hit someone but there were other stars who got suspended for a similar offense so it was in line with protocol)
  • The way WWE handled the situation the 2nd time: 0 Stars
  • Cody still having his job: 0 Stars
  • Triple H trying to do “damage control”: 0 Stars (It sounded like he was saying, “I know we fucked up Alberto but we needed to keep everyone happy.  Keep your trap shut, let everything die down and you can come back.”  Um…dude please!)
  • Alberto’s legal savvy: 5 Stars
  • Alberto being an activist: 3 Stars (as indicated by earlier cited reasons)

In conclusion

Source: gorillapressonline.wordpress.com

I hope that Del Rio (now El Patron) definitely gets the respect he deserves at the new organization he is a part of.  I am just unwilling to get behind his stance as being an advocate against racism in the WWE. If racism was indeed the main culprit, Del Rio would have ultimately decided to leave anyway because even with suspension on the table, the other guy would still be around to say even more racist dribble.

If his punishment had just been not to compete at Summer Slam, then this narrative wouldn’t even be playing right now.  Del Rio would be negotiating with WWE about what would need to change about his character (since he did express displeasure at its direction), and WWE would have to figure out whether they would be willing to invest more in him or cut their losses.

kofikingston_1_full_20130815If Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, and Big E Langston (current African-American WWE superstars) start talking about racism, then I will definitely be in attendance.  They have tasted some gold but not WWE Championship gold.  That is definitely worth some multiple blog spotlight.

jackson-eating-popcorn-oBut until then, I wish José Alberto Rodríguez all the best with his current endeavor and will munch on some popcorn while watching the fireworks.

Thanks for checking out this Unleashed Exclusive on The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share, subscribe and comment.  Have a great day!

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About nolabels

I have an appreciation for the unique, love for all types of art, and fierce attractions to brilliant intellectuals (from book smarts to street smarts). Lover of humanity but feel humans have lost their way, just trying to stay true to myself as conformity threatens to take me away. Simply one head, many crowns: Author. Reviewer. Columnist.

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This entry was posted on September 30, 2014 by in September and tagged , , , , , .

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