Alberto El Patron: The Bender Heard Round The World

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When former WWE World Champion Alberto Del Rio left the company for the second time last year, he had the entire internet fan base behind him. There was no arguing that the WWE had brutally mishandled his second tenure with the company after a quick hot start (where he ended John Cena‘s US Championship run). The independent circuit is the hottest it’s ever been, with quality promotions and opponents all awaiting for someone of Alberto’s stature to return to. Many fans hoped that Del Rio – who goes by Alberto El Patron outside of WWE – would finally get to showcase his abilities to their full potential, as glimpsed during his brief stint with Lucha Underground following his first departure from the WWE in 2014. But as the months have gone by, Alberto El Patron has become a punchline to jokes and memes alike, dragging down his impressionable young fiance, WWE Superstar Paige, into a world more akin to Sid and Nancy than John Cena and Nikki Bella.

Love kills indeed

The entire strange mess began in May of 2016, long before his eventual departure from the WWE in September, when El Patron went public with his relationship with Paige. Eyebrows were raised, as El Patron was a married man. The following month, his estranged wife Angela Velkei (the mother of his three children) filed for divorce on the count of adultery, something El Patron denied. He claimed the marriage had ended the previous year due to “cruel treatment” from Velkei. Regardless, many began to wonder what kind of man Alberto El Patron really was. With his new relationship in the public eye, both Paige and El Patron – whom she refers to as Papi – began to use Social Media to highlight every waking moment of their relationship, often showing sides of the couples private life that would insinuate heavy partying during work tours. Many feared for the influence El Patron’s party lifestyle would have on his younger partner – El Patron was 39 years old and Paige was 23 at the time.

Photo: Twitter

Throughout the past few months, Alberto has been taking more and more to his Social Media accounts – primarily Twitter and Periscope – and posting videos where he’s in a continuous tirade against the WWE and, more specifically, Triple H (whom he repeatedly refers to as Big Nose With The Small Dick). While it’s not unusual for former employees of any company to talk badly of experiences at prior promotions, these often came out seemingly unprovoked, fuelled more by whatever substances – alcohol or otherwise – that El Patron had ingested than a specific incident. At times, Paige was laughing along with the accusations, at other times she was frequently trying to shut down his phone. Paige, of course, is still under WWE contract and her life story is currently in production from WWE Studios in conjunction with The Rock‘s production company.

Photo: Twitter

During his tirades, El Patron blamed the WWE for a multitude of things, including the leaking of his fiance’s sex videos earlier this year. During one rant in April he announced that he and Paige were getting married in June (which is currently impossible as his divorce is still pending) and that Paige is not returning to the WWE because she was pregnant (turns out this was not true). At first, fans on Social Media found them entertaining – after all, many of the anti-WWE fans found humour in someone calling out the WWE and berating Triple H. But the increasing amount of them became troubling for even the most ardent supporter, as El Patron seemed more obsessed talking trash to the WWE than promoting anything worthwhile that he was doing. And worse off, Paige looked to be in similar inebriated states during much of them – for someone going through rehab for serious surgery, the combination of partying and any pain prescriptions could be catastrophic. Suddenly the support El Patron received early turned to fear and worry about Paige’s future – her career and her life.

Photo: Twitter

This past week was no exception. And in fact, it was worse. After some awkward bantering with Paige’s father, UK wrestler Ricky Knight (the two face off at an upcoming WAW show in the UK), Alberto claimed on Twitter that the decline in Total Divas ratings were due to the fact that E! and WWE were starting to edit out much of the Paige narrative – Alberto was also a big part of that, and now that he was no longer with the company and actively harassing the company online, what incentive was there to enhance his career? It made perfect business sense. But in Alberto’s mind, they were the true stars and their removal was the reason for the slump.

Alberto continued his Twitter tirades, this time attacking wrestling fans – calling them “marks” – and showing himself and Paige once again drinking. Seemingly, the couple were on a plane, most likely heading to the United Kingdom, where he was scheduled to face Joe Coffey at the WCPW PPV No Regrets.

But the following day, WCWP announced that due to “illness”, El Patron would no longer be in his scheduled match, let alone on the card.

To make matters worse, he pulled out of the WCPW Meet & Greet today as well.

Alberto has not commented since his last photo of himself and Paige drinking on the flight, which has led many to the speculation that he missed the show because he was hung over or in no shape to perform. Why would one show themselves clearly en route in an air flight to said match, only to be pulled over “illness”? Did Alberto no-show the Meet & Greet or was he pulled as punishment for missing the PPV itself?

Photo: WWE

The situation is still ongoing and like many of his no-shows in the past, will result in some kind of a convoluted excuse of why things didn’t work out – everyone remember that gem from last October following his release, where he missed a show with AAA in Mexico because he’d been stabbed? Well, after more and more facts came out, the story got more and more confusing. Was he actually stabbed defending Paige or was it just another of his drunken bar fights gone wrong?

Photo: WWE

Regardless of what did or didn’t happen for Alberto in his last WWE run, Alberto El Patron will be turning 40 this year. He’s had a lengthy run in this industry. He’s been a professional wrestler for 17 years, since his Mexican debut in 2000, and much like his future wife, grew up in the industry. His father is Lucha Libre legend Dos Caras, and his uncle is WWE Hall of Famer Mil Mascaras. Granted Paige started only 5 years later in 2005, but at the age of 13 – in the UK, wrestlers start at a much younger age. She’s really only been on the international platform for professional wrestling since 2011, when she made her debut with Shimmer in the USA and subsequent jump to NXT later that year. At 24 years old (she’ll turn 25 this August), she still has years ahead of her.

It would be an absolute shame if all of Paige’s bridges were burned by the one person who is supposed to love her the most. Paige has all the potential and ability in the world, but no one is going to keep investing in the pomp and circumstance of such a talent if it comes with the unreliable and harmful baggage that Alberto El Patron seems to be on the path of.

Photo: Lucha Underground

Addiction and substance abuse are nothing to make light of. If these two are indeed in the throes of wrestling’s version of a Sid and Nancy romance, they need help not enablers. Alberto’s constant public displays of intoxication followed by rants that are at times unintelligible and no-showing events with excuses upon excuses are not helping his own reputation, and certainly not helping Paige’s career. The powderkeg of problems surrounding the two are so volatile, that recent reports seem to indicate that the WWE has zero plans in effect for Paige’s return to the ring should she be medically cleared in the next month or so. Which is sad, because the women’s division in the WWE is finally at a level that someone with Paige’s prodigal abilities should – and would – thrive in more than she did before.

For all parties involved, including both Paige and Alberto’s families, let’s hope this one has a happy ending.

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