Alberto Del Rio's Possible Role as Transitional Champ Could End at Royal Rumble

Tom Clark@tomclarkbrFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2013

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Alberto Del Rio will be defending the World Heavyweight Championship this Sunday at WWE’s Royal Rumble.  His opponent is former champion Big Show and while both men will certainly give their all in this one, some fans are likely already anticipating the closing moments of the match.  And for me that brings up the question, is Alberto Del Rio a transitional World Champion?

The reason that the end of this bout is what has piqued the curiosity of some fans is of course because Dolph Ziggler is Mr. Money in the Bank.  We have all been expecting him to cash in his World Title contract since the moment he won it and though he has attempted to do so a few times now, it has not actually happened.

So, anytime the World Championship is defended, despite when or where, fans almost immediately begin wondering if that night will be the moment when Ziggler finally wins the gold.

Admit it, you have already thought about it for the Rumble.

Not that this is at all fair to the current champ Del Rio, whose title win came as a surprise to many fans who perhaps did not see him being given that amount of spotlight again at this point.  His sudden elevation on the card, combined with his recent face turn, has now made him more relevant than he has been in quite some time.

So why am I questioning his value as World Champion?

I assure you it has nothing to do with a negative personal opinion.  Though I have never considered Del Rio to be what I feel is a top-tier talent, I do believe that he has it in him.  He has a good look, he can work and he has a niche with not only his gimmick but his ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez.

But I cannot shake the notion that when a guy comes from nowhere to win a top belt, only to have a viable contender already waiting in the wings, that the title reign will be short lived.

And I’m not talking about just Ziggler.

Mark Henry has been on the shelf for quite a while now and when he returns, I believe it could be in a very big way.  He would be a great opponent for Del Rio, mostly because Mark was so over as a monster heel that it would help sell Alberto in his new role.

I feel these two could do some good work together.  Mark’s booking as World Champion was well done by WWE and it would be a shame to see him end up as a one-trick pony.  Could we see The World’s Strongest Man take the championship from Del Rio?

What about Sheamus?  The Great White as a face is the product of the WWE marketing machine at its finest.  With a smile, a great look and a rough-house ring style, Sheamus flourished as World Champion for the majority of 2012.  There is every reason to believe that he will win the title again at some point.

Randy Orton is another name that could potentially step up for another championship run. We have not seen The Viper as World Champion since 2011 and with the possibility of a heel turn down the road, he could be the man to slither his way to a Rumble victory and defeat Alberto at WrestleMania 29.

And let’s not forget about Ryback, the man who came within an eyelash of becoming WWE Champion but was prevented from doing so by Brad Maddox and The Shield.  With all of the work that the company has put in to get this guy over, I have to believe that Ryback will inevitably be given an opportunity at that top level.

So where does that leave The Showoff?  Dolph Ziggler is still toting that wrecked briefcase around with him, a constant reminder that his destiny has likely already been decided.  He has proven himself in the ring week in and week out and eventually he will rise to the occasion, winning the 10 pounds of gold.

Is Alberto Del Rio merely keeping the belt warm for him?

When a Superstar wins a top championship, it often feels as if it were meant to happen. Mark Henry, Sheamus, and Randy Orton are all good examples of this.  If and when Ryback and Dolph Ziggler get there, it will almost certainly be the case for both of them as well.

But I just don’t know if I feel that way right now about Alberto Del Rio. Again, it’s not a personal issue I have with him, as I do enjoy his work.  However for some reason I just don’t have that sense of “destiny” about his title win that he often spoke about as a heel.  For me, it just does not feel right.

Alberto Del Rio will step into the ring this Sunday at the Royal Rumble and though he is a newly crowned champion, could potentially lose the belt to either Big Show or Dolph Ziggler. And if that happens, we could be looking at a man who is, at least this time around, merely just a transitional champion.

Can’t wait to see what happens at the end of this one.