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UPDATE: Alberto Del Rio returned to WWE at the Hell in a Cell PPV.
Alberto answered John Cena’s U.S. Title Open Challenge and promptly won the U.S. Title from Cena on his first night back in WWE.
Alberto returned to WWE more than one year after being released by WWE following a backstage incident.
“I’m grateful for a 2nd chance to come back to WWE #HellinaCell and I’m happy to be performing again,” Alberto tweeted. He followed with a similar tweet in Spanish.
After being released, Alberto went on TV in Mexico basically calling WWE racist, then he appeared on Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground, and AAA in Mexico before returning to WWE.
OCTOBER 15 REPORT
U.S. wrestling promoters are looking for difference-makers at a time when there is over-saturation and general apathy toward anything not labeled NXT.
At the center is Alberto Del Rio (Alberto El Patron), who works for AAA in Mexico, but might be looking to make a bigger splash in the U.S. again.
Alberto was heralded as the top star for the Lucha Underground promotion when he signed earlier this year. However, his presence made more of a difference on the Spanish-language version of LU that aired on Unimas, rather than the English version on El Rey Network.
There’s always the possibility of returning to WWE, but that seems odd considering the contentious nature of his departure and Alberto going on Mexico TV basically calling WWE racist.
TNA certainly thinks Alberto could be a difference-maker, but they do not have the environment to make a free agent make a difference. Plus, their uncertain TV future makes TNA unattractive, like an NFL team without a head coach during free agency.
Alberto already experimented with Ring of Honor, which enjoyed a brief pop from Alberto’s presence at the beginning of 2015, but it felt like Alberto was there just to have exhibition matches.
Alberto is a business man who will seek the best financial deal, but his presence in the middle of all of these promotions captures something about the current state of U.S. pro wrestling.
WWE is about the brand, leaving little room for difference-makers on the main roster, TNA has too much uncertainty, ROH isn’t big enough for Alberto to have difference-making matches, AAA wants to expand its U.S. presence via Lucha Underground, but it’s so difficult to create momentum and awareness when WWE owns 90-95 percent of the TV market share. There’s New Japan, which also wants to expand its U.S. presence, but that relationship is currently linked to ROH, which, again, isn’t big enough or has enough reach on a national level.
So, Alberto waits. It will be interesting to see where he ends up heading. Or, if he simply focuses his energy on AAA in Mexico while waiting for the U.S. scene to clear up.