According to a report from PWInsider.com, there is apparently some concern within WWE that Alberto Del Rio may decide to leave the company once his contract expires. Yes, this would be yet another case of a wrestler feeling like the creative direction of his character isn't strong enough.
The man himself has allegedly been creating a stir by voicing his frustrations.
Considering the nature of pro wrestling, especially in the so-called "new kayfabe" age, it's best to take any report like this with a grain of salt but there's no doubt that Del Rio has fallen out of favor, at least as far as his portrayal on television is concerned.
Let's take a look at his 2013 run:
- Turned babyface and became the Latino hero character to start the year. Defeated Big Show to win the world heavyweight championship in a Last Man Standing match on SmackDown. Soundly went over Show during their feud.
- Entered into a program with Jack Swagger upon Zeb Colter's entry on the scene. Retained the world heavyweight title at WrestleMania 29 in a submission match between the two.
- Lost the world heavyweight title to Dolph Ziggler on Raw the next night. After a concussion, Ziggler was forced out but Del Rio went over Swagger in the meantime. He also won a series of matches against Big E. Langston, who was serving as Ziggler's muscle during that period.
- Won the world heavyweight title back from Ziggler at Payback, turning heel in the process. He would go on to defeat Ziggler a couple more times to end their program.
- A brief program with Christian right after gave way to a series of matches with Rob Van Dam. Del Rio suffered losses along the way, mostly disqualification or non-title. He had broken away from his manager, Ricardo Rodriguez, shortly before all this.
- John Cena returned from injury much earlier than expected and defeated Del Rio to win the world heavyweight championship at Hell in a Cell in October. That was the last Del Rio would hold the world title for the year. He had two separate reigns of 90 and 133 days. He lost the rematch at Survivor Series the next month.
He was world heavyweight champion for most of the year before kicking off the 2014 campaign in a feud with Batista designed solely to get "The Animal" over on his way to a title shot at WrestleMania 30.
That's gotta hurt. But bad enough to leave?