It’s no secret that there have been plans to bring Alberto Del Rio into TNA. As a former world champion with years of wrestling experience, including two runs in WWE, he does look like the type of talent who could give the company some much-needed star power. But new reports suggest that he might not be showing up on Impact Wrestling anytime soon.
In recent years, TNA has made bigger stars out of many former WWE wrestlers. At the time of his release from WWE in 2014, Drew McIntyre was mired in jobber status as one-third of the stable 3MB, but he was able to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship under his real name, Drew Galloway. After Derrick Bateman’s release in 2013, the former NXT rookie search contestant joined TNA under the ring name Ethan Carter III, or EC3 for short, and has since become one of the company’s biggest stars. Even the Hardy Boyz — established WWE stars Matt and Jeff Hardy — have arguably become bigger in TNA, thanks to their reinvention as “Broken” Matt Hardy and Brother Nero and their accompanying storylines.
Your mileage may vary when it comes to Brodus Clay becoming Tyrus or Damien Sandow becoming Aron Rex, and the jury is still out on recent acquisition Cody Rhodes, as he’s only made a few appearances so far. But TNA has generally done well in making bigger names out of former WWE Superstars, and it has been rumored almost since his September 2016 WWE release that Alberto Del Rio would soon join TNA.
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In October of 2016, Del Rio, who had once said he chose not to sign with TNA because the company couldn’t afford him, hinted to ESPN that he would like to rejoin some of his old WWE friends, including the aforementioned Drew Galloway, Aron Rex, and Cody Rhodes, in TNA if given the chance. There were also reports that the promotion was hoping to have him start last month but had to move his planned start date to March.
However, that may have just recently changed. The latest from PWInsider (c/o Ringside News) suggests that plans to bring Alberto Del Rio to TNA have ground to a halt, and that the company may have lost interest in the 39-year-old Mexican star.
A report from ComicBook.com added some information on why the TNA/Del Rio plans may have fallen through, and it appears to have something to do with Alberto’s asking price. With TNA still struggling financially, even with Anthem Sports & Entertainment in control, the company may be playing it safe and trying to increase its budget before making any big moves.
“See, Del Rio has a large booking fee and Anthem has made it know they’re being careful with how money is spent. They are not looking into bringing in any former WWE names unless it’s a very special situation.”
That “very special situation” may likely mean the sudden availability of a main event-caliber WWE Superstar, but looking at how Alberto Del Rio was booked in his second WWE run from 2015 to 2016, he was certainly far away from the main event scene. On a recent episode of The Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast, Del Rio told Roberts (quotes c/o the Inquisitr) that he found his “Mex-America” re-debut angle with manager Zeb Colter to be the dumbest he had ever done in his career.
“The ‘Mex-America’ storyline was so stupid because nobody understood what we were trying to do. I couldn’t understand what we were trying to do so the people didn’t click with it because it was just really confusing.”
Being placed in the League of Nations stable after splitting with Colter didn’t help either, as the four-man faction featuring Del Rio, Rusev, Sheamus, and Wade Barrett was largely a mid-card group that never really clicked with the WWE Universe.
It’s unsure whether Alberto Del Rio and TNA will resume talks in the near future, but for the meantime, he shall continue taking independent bookings, such as his recent appearances in the U.K.’s WhatCulture Pro Wrestling (WCPW).
[Featured Image by WWE]