I’ve never been shy about my feelings toward one Alberto Del Rio. While others think he is fantastic and entertaining and a great heel, I think he is the most boring 2 dimensional character in the WWE today, and does nothing to ad to any rivalry he’s in. The guy has his handful of go to expressions, his cheesy grin, a wink, and some cars, none of which are compelling or original. I have no doubt in my mind that the only thing that makes his character seem even a bit original and interesting is the fact that he has a Personal Ring Announcer named Ricardo Rodriguez, who is all things considered a very entertaining character.

The Tuxedo donning announcer, with the duty of informing all in attendance of Alberto’s arrival, has more character in his bow tie than Alberto has in his whole body. Ricardo does everything for Alberto including announcing for him, driving him around, taking beatings for him, helping him cheat, and worshiping the ground that Del Rio walks on. He is extremely loyal, and ready and willing to sacrifice himself for his boss on a moments notice. I personally want to understand and watch his character more than I care to see Del Rio.

This week’s “A Matter of Character” is going to put the spotlight on the unheralded MVP of Alberto Del Rio’s entire act, Ricardo Rodriguez. I will analyze his character and point out his strengths and flaws, as I perceive them, while making suggestions for improvement where I can. So enough wasting time, Let’s Do This!

Physical

If there’s anybody on the current WWE Roster that without question looks the part of his or her character, it’s Ricardo Rodriguez. Take one look at the guy and you know without a doubt that he is a smarmy leech. The way he slicks back his hair, the constant smug look plastered on his face, the fact that he’s always decked to the nines in a tuxedo, hell even the fact that he’s a bit pudgy, all lend to the character that is being portrayed. Everything about him contributes to the audience hating him, which is all you can ask for from a heel performer. He does his job well, and there is no one on the roster that could do it better in my opinion.

When he is asked to wrestle, it is usually for comedic segments and let’s face it, he has yet to light the WWE Universe on fire with his in ring ability. That being said, he can hold his own at least a little in the ring and has proven to be excellent at one aspect of in-ring performance, taking and selling bumps. The way he ate that Brogue Kick last night on Raw was phenomenal, and he has taken his share of big bumps during his time with the WWE (including a nasty one off a ladder and through a table at the TLC PPV last year). Again, the fact that he sells these moments so well is part of what make his character a lot of fun. The audience hates him and wants to see the smugness kicked right off his smarmy mug, and every so often it happens, with Ricardo selling like a bomb just went off. It’s very gratifying for the WWE Universe.

Personality

Another thing that Ricardo has in spades is personality that comes through when he talks and the way he presents himself. It’s not that he’s smug guy by nature, but more that he’s adopted the personality of Alberto Del Rio, a guy he obviously looks up to. Whenever he announces the arrival of Alberto Del Rio, you can here the admiration in his voice, and you can see the delight in his face, he’s elated to have the important job of announcing the arrival of Alberto Del Rio.

What more is there to say about Ricardo, he is a follower of the highest order, and in my opinion the very best sidekick/henchman you could have as a WWE superstar. He will look up to and do anything you ask and never will you ever need to worry about him moving on to bigger and better things. Also Ricardo Rodriguez and the personality he brings to the screen are literally the only thing original about Alberto Del Rio’s character, which is a testament to how good he is at being a sidekick and serving his idols best interests, because for months following the arrival of Alberto, I thought his character was fresh, when in truth the only fresh thing about the entire gimmick from the onset was Ricardo Rodriguez. Bravo Ricardo, you masked the repetitive BS that is Alberto Del Rio for a good long while.

Words and Actions

Ricardo Rodriguez is fantastic on the microphone, whether it is loudly and clearly announcing the impending arrival of Alberto Del Rio, or squeaking out his words like a frightened Chihuahua when confronted by the babyface currently feuding with Alberto, he has some range and excels comically.  He has been a part of memorable comedic moments, including his mocking of Sheamus. If there’s one thing that Ricardo does exceptionally well, its commit to whatever is thrown at him, which I definitely respect.

His actions are truly those of a loyal sidekick or henchman. He is completely willing and always ready to fall on his sword to help Alberto Del Rio. He will sacrifice his body to ensure Alberto wins. He’ll eat a Brogue Kick, fall off a Ladder, and take an Attitude Adjustment in order to give his man Alberto a leg up on his competition. Every week he shows his devotion to Alberto by putting himself in harms way at the drop of a dime, and he never holds it against Alberto or asks for anything while doing it. It’d incredibly noble, if it weren’t decidedly underhanded and devious.

Motivation

It’s clear that what motivates Ricardo Rodriguez is his admiration for Alberto Del Rio and his need to follow. Why else would he gladly take beatings and abuse? You definitely couldn’t pay me to constantly take the brunt of your opponent’s assaults so that you can win a match, that’s for damn sure. His obvious fondness of Alberto is the reason why he is willing to walk through fire and do anything that Alberto orders him to do.

I have absolutely no problem with the motivation for the character, and if there’s anything I could complain about, it’s that I don’t have any context for the motivation. Why does Ricardo worship Del Rio to the point of being willing to welcome abuse? How do they know each other? How long have they been working together? Does Del Rio care about Rodriguez at all or is Ricardo simply an employee/commodity to be used and abused? These are questions that I have that would add some much appreciated context to their working relationship, and hell, might even help Del Rio’s character be more than just a wealthy, repetitive D-Bag.

Conflict

The only conflict I could envision for the Ricardo Rodriguez character would come when he’s had enough of being Del Rio’s lackey. I say that, but for years he has suffered assault after assault assisting Alberto, and has come back again and again, happy to take another beating (maybe he’s into BDSM?). Is there anything that can be done to push Ricardo over the edge and get him to ditch Del Rio?

Ricardo has been extremely useful so I don’t see Del Rio ever willingly ditching Ricardo, but that would be the ultimate conflict for Ricardo, a character so desperate for someone to lead him. What would he do without a leader to worship and do everything for? Could he become his own man? We will likely never know the answer to these questions.

Going Forward

This is one of those editions of A Matter of Character where I don’t have much negative feedback about a character, and honestly am fine with the direction they have the character headed in. That being said, there are some aspects of the character I’d love to see expanded.

In the coming months, following Alberto’s next defeat at the hands of Sheamus (hopefully the last for a while seeing as Sheamus has beaten him a thousand times it seems), the WWE should focus on the relationship between Alberto and Ricardo. Who were they before they arrived in the WWE? Did they meet when Ricardo auditioned to be his Ring Announcer or did Del Rio already employ Rodriguez before he got to the WWE?

Have Del Rio put Rodriguez in the worst position he’s ever put him in and have Del Rio show remorse for it after the fact. Use that instance to delve into their back-story, about Ricardo being a young poor man that stopped Alberto from being robbed in Mexico. Alberto gave him a job and the two have worked alongside one another since (by no means what the story should be, but something like that). 

I just want to see their relationship developed and be given context for Ricardo’s devotion to Del Rio. Last night, I got the first glimpse of Del Rio seemingly concerned about the condition of his personal ring announcer after taking a vicious Brogue Kick, and want more of that between the two, Del Rio specifically. Ricardo is already the most original part of Alberto’s gimmick; use him to give some dimension to Alberto’s flat character.

There you have it, but what do you think? Is Ricardo the most original part of ADR’s Character? Would you like to be given some context for their relationship? What direction would you go with the pair to develop both characters more?

Until next time folks, I’m Matty J. Douglas taking a moment to say Rest In Peace Michael Clarke Duncan; the world lost another gem. Have a great NFL Kick Off Week everybody!