WWE confirmed on its website today that it has suspended Alberto Del Rio, who competes on the SmackDown Live brand, for his first violation of the promotion’s Wellness Policy.

Suspension comes one day after last SmackDown appearance

Del Rio’s suspension, which takes effect on Thursday, August 18, was announced just one day after he had appeared on SmackDown Live in a losing effort against John Cena.

Since the brand split began, Del Rio had yet to win a match, either on a televised SmackDown episode or in the house show circuit, as the Mexican star has continued to struggle, close to one year after he returned to WWE.

Prior to his October 2015 return, Del Rio (b. Jose Alberto Rodriguez) had competed in Lucha Underground under the name Alberto El Patron, and had achieved great success as one of the promotion’s biggest names.

That added to the promise of his WWE comeback, though things have not gone as many had hoped after he beat Cena to briefly hold the United States title from late 2015 to early 2016.

What’s next for Del Rio post-suspension?

In recent years, we’ve seen drug-related cases lead to a WWE wrestler losing their push upon their return. Del Rio’s old rival Jack Swagger wasn’t suspended by WWE after a marijuana arrest in 2013, but this arguably led to his demotion to the midcard; currently, Swagger is hardly seen on WWE programming, and when he appears, he often loses.

More recently, Roman Reigns served a 30-day Wellness Policy suspension, and that’s also seen him get de-pushed. Once the future “face of the company” WWE had adamantly insisted on pushing, Reigns is now fighting for a midcard title, as he’s scheduled to face Rusev for the United States Championship at SummerSlam.

As Del Rio hardly had any momentum ahead of his Wellness Policy strike, chances are he may indeed fade further into the background.

As mentioned, he hasn’t won since the brand split took effect, and at 39, he’s no spring chicken. That said, it's likelyhe may be used by WWE to put over younger, promising SmackDown Live talents, of which there are many; he does, after all, have the talent and experience to make newer stars look good. And since his contract expires this fall, rumors have swirled that he may be considering moving to another company, with TNA among the rumored options.

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