Alberto Del Rio Retains the World Championship at WWE Royal Rumble

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2013

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Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show at WWE Royal Rumble in a Last Man Standing Match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. And, it happened—at least perhaps in Big Show’s mind—in controversial fashion.

Right from the start, I will say that while some fans could be questioning why this match was the curtain jerk, I was actually not surprised by it. WWE has a history of booking the World Championship very early in a pay-per-view, and The Royal Rumble was no different.

With the Last Man Standing stipulation, it was kill or be killed for both superstars, as Del Rio went for a steel chair very early in the contest. The upper hand went back and forth between both men, as the fight spilled out onto the floor.

Big Show and Del Rio ended up on the main entrance stage, where the giant slammed the champ down from the set through a table.

With his personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez encouraging him to get back up, Del Rio struggled to get back down to ringside.

By this point, Show looked like the massive, unmovable force of nature that he should always appear to be. With the match seemingly in hand, Big Show took the steel steps to Del Rio, but the World Champion moved just in time.

Rodriguez made the mistake of getting in the challenger’s way and took a hard bump on the floor for his efforts. With Del Rio sprawled onto the ringside barricade, Show charged him, but Alberto managed to dodge the attack.

Show went through the wall and was nearly counted out before he got back up and then had his arm bashed by Del Rio with a steel chair.

Using a fire extinguisher, Del Rio continued to keep the advantage and Show was on his back in the ring when the champ locked in the cross arm breaker. Ricardo then duct taped Big Show’s legs around the bottom rope and suddenly the No. 1 contender had no prayer of winning this one.

Alberto Del Rio retained the World Heavyweight Championship in a fairly short match, but one that was very well-received by the crowd in Phoenix.

This bout was just the latest effort by WWE at getting the Mexican aristocrat over in his new role as a baby face superstar. And for those fans who believed the turn was a mistake, they may be changing their minds now.

The fact is that it’s working. With each passing week, Del Rio is gaining traction as a face and the Royal Rumble match saw even more progress made toward that end. The question now is: what will happen next for the World Champion?

Big Show is still a huge threat for the gold, and this feud is not over. Having your boots duct taped to the bottom rope and losing as a result of that is not the way to go out, especially for the World’s Largest Athlete.

You better believe that Show will definitely be looking for retribution against the man who left him bound to the ring while he celebrated on the ramp.

Then there’s Dolph Ziggler, the man who could cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the big gold belt at any moment.  

It did not happen at The Royal Rumble, but the truth is that Del Rio is still in danger, no matter where he is or what program he’s on. At any moment, Ziggler could realize his dream by becoming the new World Champion.

And let’s not forget about the superstar who will win the Rumble. Will that man challenge Del Rio for the gold, and who will that man be?

Alberto Del Rio versus Big Show may have been a rather short match, but it was entertaining and the live crowd was definitely into it. WWE fans seem to be buying Del Rio as a baby face, and the best is yet to come for this World Heavyweight Champion.