For years, we’ve heard that WWE desperately wants a Hispanic superstar, and when Alberto Del Rio made his surprise return to the company back in October of 2015, it seemed like he’d be their guy. But, instead of going with him as a top babyface, they brought him in with Zeb Coulter, and had him be a heel. Strange, right?
It’s even more strange when you consider the fact that WWE was paying him a ton of money, and, furthermore, they believed that he would be a top Hispanic star, which begs the question, why pair him with Zeb Coulter upon his return? We’ll probably never know the answer.
During the Q&A portion of Thursday’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer talked about Alberto Del Rio’s WWE return in 2015, and why the company had him defeat John Cena in such a short match.
“[Del Rio won] because Cena was going away. It was the American Grit show. So he was leaving, and they wanted to get Del Rio over strong, and like two weeks later they changed their mind on Del Rio. The idea was for him to beat John Cena clean in the middle, and then when John came back, John and Del Rio would have a big feud, but by the time John got back they’d already killed Del Rio. So, there you go, that’s why they did it.
“But they wanted Del Rio to come back with huge impact because they were paying him all kinds of money, and then they put him with Zeb Coulter, and that’s another one… I mean, I know Vince has had his hits, but that wasn’t one of them. Every aspect of that on paper was just ridiculous. I mean, number one, [Del Rio] came back as babyface, so they turned him heel. Then, they put him with Zeb, which was just like, who would ever do that? Unless the idea was that they just wanted to make sure that he didn’t get over, and if the idea is for him to not get over, then why are you paying him so much money?”
While the exact details of Del Rio’s WWE contract were never confirmed, the rumor was that he had a downside guarantee of over $1 million, which is extremely rare in WWE.