EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — In an epic WrestleMania showdown for the hearts and minds of the WWE Universe inside a sold-out MetLife Stadium, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio conquered “Jack Swagger’s America,” making his ruthless No. 1 contender tap out to the Cross Armbreaker.
In contrast to the World Heavyweight Title contest at The Show of Shows one year ago — decided in a mere 18 seconds — this year’s knockdown, drag-out fight was a grueling match from start to finish.
After Colter expressed his “right” to match distraction early on, Swagger was able to knock Del Rio off the ropes and take control of the personal showdown in vicious fashion. But the resilient Del Rio fought back with a series of earth-shattering kicks and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, stomping Colter’s hand in the process.
The explosive action only intensified with each moment that passed, as each Superstar pulled out all the stops to gain the advantage over the other. This back-and-forth reached a new level when Swagger cinched in his dreaded Patriot Lock. In miraculous fashion, Del Rio stunned the capacity crowd by countering the painful maneuver with his own Cross Armbreaker. Swagger then pulled a rabbit out of his own hat, shocking all by reversing Del Rio’s hold to trap his opponent in a second Patriot Lock — a dreaded fate Del Rio barely escaped by reaching the ropes.
Del Rio roared back with a wicked boot to the face that nearly earned him the three-count. But at the last second, Colter engineered a halt to the count by grabbing his Superstar’s foot and hoisting it up onto the rope. This interference brought a still-injured Ricardo Rodriguez after the meddling “patriot.” When Colter turned the announcer’s crutch against him, though, Del Rio left the action and came after the would-be attacker — allowing Swagger to hold the advantage once again.
Although that could have proved to be the difference in the match, Del Rio had enough presence of mind to reverse his No. 1 contender’s fortune one last time, locking in another Cross Armbreaker in the center of the ring to make Swagger tap out for a huge victory.
After earning the right to challenge Del Rio in a World Heavyweight Championship in a No. 1 Contender’s Elimination Chamber Match — surviving five other former World Champions — Jack Swagger and his newly revealed compatriot, Zeb Colter, set out to create “Jack Swagger’s America.” Claiming WWE was a microcosm of America’s problems — with Alberto Del Rio “sneaking in” during Swagger’s past losing streak to take his position — they set out to take back the World Title and create a new Bill of Rights for “legal” Americans. “We the People!”
Del Rio was not about to let that happen. Since winning his third World Championship, the reigning titleholder had captured the hearts of the WWE Universe and was ready to fight all the people. Although born in Mexico, Del Rio made it clear that he was made in America.
As the rivalry traveled The Road to WrestleMania, Swagger broke the ankle of Del Rio’s friend, Ricardo Rodriguez, Del Rio and his personal ring announcer struck back with a sneak attack on Swagger and Colter, and their treacherous adversaries unleashed a merciless two-on-one assault that left the reigning titleholder visually reeling.
But in the end, when this extremely controversial and personal battle was won, it was Del Rio that emerged with a Star-Spangled victory on The Grandest Stage of Them All.