Alberto Del Rio was fired by World Wrestling Entertainment on Thursday, ending his four-year run with the company.
On Thursday night, this message was posted on WWE.com: “WWE announced the release of Del Rio due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.”
According to Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly, Del Rio slapped a WWE.com staff member this week.
While the timing of and speculation surrounding his firing is surprising, his departure from the company isn't. His contract was nearly up, and he had seemed likely to leave WWE. To leave on such bad terms, however, stains his short but impactful run in WWE.
Del Rio debuted in 2010 and quickly got a big push. He was a huge star in Mexico, under the name Dos Caras Jr., and WWE hoped he could become as big a star stateside. Just five months after he debuted, he won the Royal Rumble, then ended up losing in his title match to Edge.
But WWE continued to push him, and he won the Money in the Bank briefcase in July. Almost exactly a year after his debut, he cashed in the briefcase against CM Punk, winning the WWE title for the first time.
He ended up winning the WWE title twice and the World Heavyweight title twice. Fans tended to be torn on his style, with some liking his stiff mixed-martial arts style and others criticizing his pace inside the ring. But his impact was obvious, winning championships and enjoying several notable feuds, including ones against CM Punk, Big Show and Sheamus.
Del Rio won't leave wrestling altogether, and it wouldn't surprise anyone to see him back in Mexico's AAA promotion after his noncompete clause expires. Still, this is a sudden end to a short, but distinguished, career.
Have any thoughts on Del Rio's career and departure? Leave them below or find me on Twitter @TheAOster.