Being the child of a wrestling legend has never been an easy cross to bear. From David Smith Hart to Lacey Von Erich, the streets are paved with unrealistic expectations from promotions demanding the talent that their families possess shine through. Of course, in the instances of Randy Orton and Charlotte Flair, opportunities are also available to defy the odds and create legacies of their own. Jose Alberto Rodriguez could have been the latter, but will mostly be defined in history as the former.
Beginning his career as luchador Dos Caras Jr, Rodriguez opened eyes in both wrestling and MMA circles. He eventually earned the top title in CMLL, but was forced to job the belt after wrestling unmasked on a Smackdown dark match. Perhaps this poor decision should have alerted WWE to Rodriguez’s erratic nature. Perhaps ensuing negotiations, with him demanding an immediate main-roster run (instead of reporting to pre-NXT Florida Championship Wrestling) and an announcing job for his cousin Jesus (Ricardo) Rodriguez, could have been a warning. But Vince McMahon saw only a money gimmick as a rich foreign heel, and Alberto Del Rio was created.
To be certain, Del Rio definitely found success in WWE. He immediately feuded with fellow AAA alum Rey Mysterio, ultimately winning their campaign of matches. The year 2011 saw ADR win both Royal Rumble and Money In The Bank, and he utilized the briefcase to shockingly take the belt from smark favorite CM Punk at Summerslam. The next two years were marred by injuries and horrendous booking, as he was forced down fans’ throats as “Mexico’s Greatest Export” in a babyface role. That run was mercifully ended by a heel turn, but momentum was lost. Del Rio was fired after slapping a social media head for WWE for making a busboy slur.
In Ring Of Honor and Lucha Underground, the re-christened Alberto El Patron did not achieve similar success. He returned to WWE, defeated John Cena for his US Championship, and stupifyingly aligned himself with xenophobe Zeb Colter as members of MexAmerica. Yes, the term MexAmerica actually existed. He was enlisted as a charter member of The League Of Nations, and became nothing more than a punching bag for Roman Reigns. He dropped the belt to Kalisto(?!?) a few months later, began an extra-marital affair with Paige, and walked away from Stamford after violating their Wellness policy.
Again, El Patron wandered the land of indies, no-showing as many events as he possibly could. In yet more proof of their questionable sanity in booking practices, Impact Wrestling placed the top belt on Rodriguez in his first match in the promotion. He then united Jeff Jarrett’s fool’s gold GFW Title with Impact’s. It seemed Rodriguez had finally reached his potential. Soon afterward, he tuned up Paige like a violin in Orlando’s airport during an alleged cocaine binge, and was forced to drop the belt via suspension. Months later he would return, but a feud with champion Austin Aries was cut short by yet another no-show during a Lucha Underground/Impact dual card. Another release for El Patron followed, and AAA now gets his irrational services.
So, what is at the core of these decisions? Recreational drug use, laziness, and preference in paramours have been cited in the past. I wonder, however, if the struggle to emerge from the shadows of the Rodriguez wrestling tree is to blame. During his run in Impact, he was able to team in the ring with both his father and brother against the reformed LAX stable. Of course, the Rodriguez family eventually prevailed in this mid-card feud. But when the main-event called, Dos Caras and El Hijo de Dos Caras had returned back to Mexico. Jose Alberto Rodriguez was once again left to his own devices. The results speak for themselves.