Since returning to the WWE in October of 2015, Alberto Del Rio had aligned himself with Zeb Colter, won the United States Championship, and joined forces with Sheamus, King Barrett, and Rusev to form the League of Nations stable. The common denominator among all three (aside from Del Rio himself) is that none of them stuck. Del Rio ditched Zeb a month into their failed MexAmerican partnership, lost the U.S. title to Kalisto, and watched the League of Nations dissolve shortly after WrestleMania.
Alberto has certainly not been afforded the same opportunities in the nine months since his return as he had during his initial WWE run from 2010-14. Del Rio was a multiple-time world champion, Money in the Bank ladder match winner, and the winner of the biggest Royal Rumble in WWE history.
In comparison, the closest he’s come to the WWE Championship was when he stood beside Sheamus, who turned out to be a transitional champion, while together in their failed stable. Del Rio had another opportunity at the Money in the Bank briefcase last month, but he entered the match as the biggest underdog of the six participants. As for Battle Royals, he was tossed out of one to determine a number one contender to the U.S. title in May and one to determine a number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship just this week.
In summation, Del Rio has transitioned from a main event focal point during his first stint into a veteran star more likely to help put younger talent over. He might not know if he’ll ever be World Champion again, but he has a good idea when his wrestling days will be over. During a recent tour of India, Del Rio granted several exclusive interviews, revealing to SportsKeeda that he’s mapped out his career timeline with one more specific goal in mind before he officially hangs up his boots.
“I have been blessed when it comes to winning the titles as I have won it all and I am always in the scheme of things. I want to become champion one more time and there is one more title I would need to win in WWE to say, ‘I have won all the titles you have to win in this company’ which is the Intercontinental title. Once it’s done, I think I am ready to say goodbye to the sport. I think I have 3-5 more years in wrestling and I am hoping I spend all those years in WWE.”
It’s interesting that he conducted this interview over the weekend and was subsequently placed in Monday night’s Battle Royal to determine a challenger for The Miz with the belt on the line at Battleground. As noted, however, Del Rio did not win, but he did make it to the final five competitors.
The WWE has already gone through a massive roster overhaul with more apparent changes on the horizon. The upcoming draft and brand split will spark an even bigger transformation, one that will definitely usher in a new wave of talent. Whether that leaves low- to mid-card talent in the dust remains to be seen, but with where he’s currently positioned, it seems rather ambitious of Del Rio to project himself sticking around until at least 2019.
Del Rio initially departed the WWE in 2014 after being fired for unprofessional conduct stemming from an incident with an employee who allegedly made a racist joke. He opted for promotions like AAA, Ring of Honor, and Lucha Underground instead of TNA before eventually making amends with WWE and returning late last year. Del Rio said it was plain and simple why he never signed with Dixie Carter to try and resume a career with TNA, as reported by Wrestling Inc.
“At the end of the day you can love what you do, but you have to be rewarded. If somebody wants to have me in their organisation, they have to pay me, and there is no other place like WWE, which is a major league of progress and growth. TNA does not have the wherewithal as WWE does.”
[Image via WWE]