While the majority of pro wrestling fans around the world were watching WWE SummerSlam, many fans were instead watching AAA’s TripleMania XXII, which included two big events in the wrestling business.
The first was the return of Alberto Del Rio, who now goes by Alberto “El Patron”, and referred by his full WWE name during introduction. He came out to the ring with his father, wrestling legend Dos Caras, and cut a promo, as well as throwing some fists with AAA’s biggest heel stable led by Konnan. Del Rio made mention of the incident that got him released by the WWE. Del Rio is reported to have been released after slapping WWE Manager of Social Media Live Event’s Cody Barbierri. Barbierri was said to have made a racially insensitive remark about Del Rio and refused to apologize for it when confronted in person. In his promo, “El Patron” stated that, “There is a monster called racism” in the WWE. AAA played his WWE music at the end of the segment. There is no word on if Barbierri was suspended for his words, but WWE’s Twitter account and website was quick to run down Del Rio’s name after the incident.
At the end of the event, a video played where Rey Mysterio, wearing a sombrero, greeted the AAA fans with the video ending with the hashtag “#FreeREY” displayed. Mysterio is still under contract with the WWE and when reporters asked about Rey during the Alberto “El Patron” press conference, AAA head Joaquin Roldan stated they could not talk about someone under WWE contract. One wonders if anything has changed since.
With his video appearance at the end of TripleMania XXII, it’s quite clear that the things Konnan has been saying on the MLW podcast for months now is true. Rey Mysterio is unhappy in the WWE and unhappy that the WWE rolled his contract over. He hasn’t been seen on television in weeks. According to Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer, Mysterio will likely be a contracted WWE talent until April of 2015.
Let me make something clear. WWE has every right to conduct business however they seem fit. That said, they run a monopoly. Not only do they run a monopoly but we applaud them for it. We applaud when they sign up all of the major drawing independent wrestling talent in North America because they are “going to a better place” when 20 years ago we lashed out at WCW for doing the same to Extreme Championship Wrestling. It was a “raid” when Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho were picked up by Eric Bischoff. It’s “the next step in their careers” when Kevin Steen and Fergal Devitt are getting signed. Why do I mention this? Because WWE has a monopoly, and that doesn’t prevent them from being so protective over 99% of the wrestling industry that they won’t allow Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio to leave their company and work for AAA.
What threat does AAA pose? They just ran a PPV on the same day as SummerSlam. They are going to get an hour of television on the El Rey Network (do you know how to get the El Rey Network? I sure don’t). The WWE has a very strong Latino audience. All these things are true. It’s also true that AAA is simply fighting in North America over scraps because the WWE controls everything. Losing Del Rio and Mysterio isn’t going to cost the WWE much. Mysterio is in the twilight of his career. Del Rio wrestling in North America for AAA isn’t going to cost them their deal with NBC Universal. Even more significant is that by preventing Del Rio from wrestling and preventing Mysterio from leaving his WWE deal just makes WWE look even worse The Hispanic audience in the WWE isn’t looking at this as, “We’re trying to keep the best Latino wrestlers in the WWE!” but “We refuse to let the best Hispanic wrestler work for the top Hispanic wrestling promotion even after one dealt with racism and the other was the victim of an injury clause”. Nothing they can do other than letting the two men go is going to make them look good here.
“…looking like racists…”
Meltzer also reported that the WWE is afraid of looking like racists here. You know, after firing a guy who was the victim of racism. You know, after rolling Mysterio into another year of his contract against his wishes because they want to keep their Hispanic audience. When has the WWE ever been afraid of looking racist before? The WWE might be the last major American company left that has little to no worry about booking minorities into ethnic stereotypes. They just recently turned an “All American” into a babyface while his once heel manager still rallies against, “Illegal immigrants” in America. I’m not saying stereotypes immediately equal racism, but the former Ricardo Rodriguez, once Del Rio’s manager, claimed WWE COO Triple H would refer to him as, “Bumblebee” and never by his real name, referring to the Simpsons character. This is a very real problem the WWE could have, and so far their answer hasn’t been satisfactory.
If you want to argue about WWE’s right? That’s fine. If you want to argue about how #FreeREY isn’t about racism like Del Rio’s situation? Sure. But if you want to talk integrity and doing the right thing? WWE isn’t doing that. And the longer they prolong this, the uglier it’s going to get.