World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian

BY John Clapp

August 02, 2013

If World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio thought he was in for a cakewalk at SummerSlam, he was sorely mistaken. On Aug. 18, The Mexican Aristocrat will put the title on the line against two-time World Champion Christian, who earned the No. 1 contender position by trumping Rob Van Dam and Randy Orton in a thrilling Triple Threat Match on the Aug. 2 SmackDown.

Del Rio was originally afforded the opportunity to hand-select his SummerSlam opposition by SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero. But the braggadocios titleholder lost that right when he decided to name his personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, as his opponent in a thinly veiled attempt to keep his title reign safe.

Now staring down a title defense against one of the most respected and cunning veterans in the WWE locker room, Del Rio must prepare to go to a war with a familiar foe. It was Christian, after all, who bested Del Rio in a May 2011 Ladder Match for the then-vacated World Heavyweight Title.

More recently, Captain Charisma scored a rare non-title win over Del Rio on the July 29 edition of Raw. Christian won that battle by escaping the Cross Armbreaker and rolling up Del Rio for the pin. In the subsequent SmackDown Triple Threat Match, Christian cooled The Viper’s engines by deftly reversing his RKO into a winning backslide, further demonstrating his ring savvy, intelligent scouting and big-game composure.

The clever Christian seems to have most Superstars figured out, and since returning in June, he has had little trouble keeping up with the fresh faces and hungry up-and-comers now occupying space in the WWE locker room. The Attitude Era original, with nearly 15 years’ WWE experience under his belt, has defeated Fandango and “Mr. Money in the Bank” Damien Sandow, for example, since making his comeback.

Del Rio is nothing if not dangerous, however, as Dolph Ziggler and countless other Superstars have found out this year. With a devastating array of strikes and submissions at his disposal — not to mention a willingness to break rules — The Mexican Aristocrat has shown precious few vulnerabilities inside the ring.

What will happen when these two ring generals face off for the World Heavyweight Championship at the 26th annual SummerSlam? Will chants of “Si! Si! Si!” give way to an all-important title defense for Del Rio, or will this year’s Biggest Party of the Summer be cause for celebration for the Peeps? Find out on Sunday, Aug. 18, when SummerSlam airs live on pay-per-view.