In a surprising move, WWE announced yesterday that they had fired former Champion Alberto Del Rio, who was one of the top heels in the company for years. The move was announced in a terse, short statement released on the WWE website.
WWE announced the release of Alberto Del Rio due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.
The announcement was peculiar for a couple of reasons. First, the company used Del Rio’s on-screen name in the announcement, and not his real name, Alberto Rodriguez, as is generally protocol for the company. Even more telling was the fact that the company did not wish him well on his future endeavors, which is a go-to statement when it comes to WWE releases.
This could be due to the fact that the company is furious at the reported backstage altercation and does not want to say anything that could be taken as positive about the disgruntled wrestler.
But could there be more to the story?
The company has updated their announcement with a series of tweets sent from the official WWE account, saying Del Rio is responsible for his actions and even including his Twitter handle in their tweets.
(1/2) @VivaDelRio is responsible for his own actions. If you’re angry at anyone, be angry at Alberto.
— WWE (@WWE) August 8, 2014
(2/2) There’s no excuse for a pro athlete not to conduct themselves in a professional manner.
— WWE (@WWE) August 8, 2014
Pretty harsh and direct criticism from the company, which tends to distance themselves from released talent almost immediately. The tweets were even retweeted by executive Triple H.
The question has to be asked; could this all be an elaborate work by the WWE and Del Rio? For those unfamiliar with the term, a ‘work’ is a something planned to happen in the WWE world, but that also looks like legitimate.
Taking a look at Del Rio’s Twitter account, you can still find a link in his bio to his WWE Superstars page and profile, which is surprisingly still posted on the WWE website. With the abrupt and public nature of his release, it would seem like WWE would move quickly to remove him from the active roster section.
Another telling point is that the story was top story on WWE.com all day yesterday, and is still on their front page today.
In cases of a release, the company tends to make the announcement and move on, not keep it as front page news for two days.
There are two real options in play here. WWE could really be furious with Del Rio, who had made it known for months both publicly and privately that he was likely leaving when his contract was up, and has decided to make a statement with him. The fact that Triple H has weighed in could signal that Del Rio’s altercation directly dealt with the on-screen COO.
This situation is a bit similar to that of CM Punk, who walked out on the company back in January. There was talk for months that it was all an elaborate work, but Punk’s profile was removed from the WWE website once his contract ran out in July. With Del Rio still under contract, this is a possible reason you can still find him on the site.
Or, the company is giving us an elaborate work meant to make Del Rio’s stale and increasingly unimportant character considerably more interesting. If so, that would be a minor miracle in itself.
We’ll find out soon enough if this is a legit firing or just another company work, but either way, the situation has been handled curiously to say the least.