A few months back I wrote a column looking at ways Alberto Del Rio could become relevant and effective again in WWE after his momentum had faded and died.
With hindsight, there was a ludicrous mistake in that article: I never once considered Del Rio as a face. So long had he been a heel, and so poorly backed by the fans was he, that it seemed a nonsense idea.
But WWE went with it, and people raised eyebrows and turned their noses up. I think they had a right to as well, for WWE has a history of imposing face turns on us like history has no relevance and as if the fans can just like someone because they say so.
However, the turn of Del Rio has so far been quite perfectly planned.
Even as WWE.com let us all know that Del Rio had beaten Big Show for the World Heavyweight Championship, it seemed an odd choice having seen Sheamus fall to Big Show and Del Rio beaten easily in his feud with the Irishman.
How can Del Rio beat a man with such complete physical dominance over him? What can ADR do that Sheamus before him could not?
The match could very well be the free TV match of the year come December again, and was the perfect way to get the Mexican over with the fans. He already had a good Latino following, but the way to convince the doubters was not with flimsy stories, but with action.
As long as I have watched wrestling the fans have always respected the men who put on great matches.
Main eventing a show that The Rock took center stage on also gave Del Rio the crowd in a fervent mood. All the ingredients were there to get everyone in the arena behind Del Rio, if only he could perform.
And his match with Big Show on Smackdown was a fantastic match.
A Last Man Standing match against the giant is quite the prospect and WWE booked it well. Show had his physical dominance, Del Rio took an absolute battering. But he fought valiantly, and showed the recovery skills all the best faces always do.
Even his escape from the WMD Punch was well booked. Rolling out of the ring onto his feet, rather than actually making it to stand. Little touches the fans notice and appreciate.
And then the finish was wonderful. Big Show downed on the attack, pounced upon with a weapon and knocked to the ground. But ADR had recovered from worse, so why should this stop the Big Show?
Del Rio had this covered as he slowly, but surely, tipped the announce table on top of the giant and saw the referee count to 10.
The crowd was electric, and most importantly they were behind him.
The match was a fantastic watch too, and much credit again should be given to the Big Show as he performed brilliantly once more.
Now we have to see where WWE will go with Del Rio. He is certainly getting over now, but a defeat too soon could crush all his momentum.
And the 20th anniversary episode of Raw seems a perfect stage for Dolph Ziggler to use that briefcase.
WWE has put real energy back into the World Heavyweight scene, and long may it continue.
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