It appears that the absence of Rey Mysterio Jr. has caused some panic within the WWE brass. Mysterio, who has been battling injuries over the last few years, has been off of WWE TV since early February due to a torn ACL. Although he's expected back in June, there's serious concern over Mysterio's future with the WWE. According to a March 18 report by The Wrestling Observer, there's a chance that Rey might not be back with the company at all. Apparently, the WWE is considering releasing Mysterio outright from the company. However, this contractual release depends on whether or not the company can secure merchandising rights for Mysterio's products.
Over the years, Rey has been one of the top draws in merchandise, right behind the leader John Cena. The WWE does not want to lose out on the money that they make off of Rey, especially if he shows up with another company. Mysterio has been with the WWE since 2002 and has won every major title within the company. The 38 year old star has been hampered by major knee injuries over the last few years but remains determined to get back into the ring.
With Rey out of the picture, the WWE has turned to Alberto Del Rio to fill the role of the company's top Latin star. Del Rio is currently the world heavyweight champion and will be defending his title against Jack Swagger at WrestleMania 29. Unfortunately, Rey's absence has caused the WWE to place a lot of pressure on Del Rio as they have gone all out to turn Alberto into a "face" after several years as one of the top "heels" in the company.
Despite their best efforts, Del Rio hasn't gotten "over" with the fans as much as the WWE would like. One year ago at this time, the WWE, at the behest of Vince McMahon, was pushing for Alberto to be more aggressive in the ring and become a major "heel". Now, at the behest of McMahon, the company is pushing Del Rio to be this era's version of Tito Santana.
Del Rio is in a no win situation with the company as they are unable to fully grasp what to do with his character. Additionally, he's locked in a feud with Jack Swagger that has lost steam heading into WrestleMania. Del Rio is expected to retain the title at Mania but there's a solid chance that he could drop the belt by June, so the company can build SmackDown around another star.
Follow me on Twitter @Rockwellfitness
Follow me on FaceBook @ProRasslin.net