World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio def. Rob Van Dam (Battleground Hardcore Rules Match)

BY John Clapp

October 06, 2013

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Rob Van Dam cut his teeth in Extreme Championship Wrestling, but with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line in a Battleground Hardcore Rules Match, Alberto Del Rio proved he was plenty capable of tapping into his ruthless side.

In just over 16 minutes of action that included ladders, trash cans and steel chairs — and more than one chant of “This is awesome!” — Del Rio made RVD tap out to one of the most viciously creative Cross Armbreaker variations ever witnessed.

At the outset, there was no denying which Superstar had the support of the WWE Universe inside the First Niagara Center: The World Champion’s introduction was met with a chorus of boos, whereas “Mr. Pay-Per-View” — who captured his first title in ECW in Buffalo more than 15 years ago — received a hero’s welcome when Ricardo Rodriguez belted out his name.

Less than a minute into the contest, Van Dam gave WWE fans an idea of what was to come, hitting a risky moonsault off the ringside barrier. Soon thereafter, the first hardcore salvo came when the ECW Original slingshot into the ring and DDT’ed Del Rio onto a steel chair.

The First Niagara Center erupted when RVD and Ricardo then retrieved a steel ladder. Van Dam tried weaponizing his unorthodox arsenal to mixed results: A split-legged moonsault onto Del Rio, who was laying on top of a ladder, connected; a subsequent Rolling Thunder attempt, however, resulted in RVD’s back meeting the cold steel of the ladder.

That misstep opened the door for the World Heavyweight Champion to go for the Cross Armbreaker — an effort that Rodriguez stopped by slamming the spit bucket into his former boss. An incensed Del Rio dispatched his challenger and began berating his ex-ring announcer, demanding Ricardo hand over the bucket. Staying true to his allegiance with RVD, the man with the golden voice refused to go along, instead hitting Del Rio with it again. The rejection only further angered the champion, who tore into the overmatched ring announcer.

With his opponent distracted, the resilient RVD bounced back, baseball sliding a ladder into Del Rio’s skull and then, to the amazement of the WWE Universe, hitting a modified Five-Star Frog Splash off the ring apron and onto the ladder and the champion. RVD tried to up the insanity even more, replicating last month’s Van Terminator, a coast-to-coast dropkick assisted by a chair.

That high-risk maneuver missed the mark, though, and Del Rio took over from there. After a drop toe hold onto an open chair, Del Rio side kicked RVD’s arm, closed the chair around Van Dam’s damaged appendage and cinched in the Cross Armbreaker, leaving the ECW Original no choice but to submit.

Now that he’s turned back two consecutive pay-per-view challenges by RVD, where does Del Rio — emboldened by a supremely physical win, but cognizant that Mr. Money in the Bank, Damien Sandow, remains lurking in the shadows — go from here?