The WWE have seen a number of high profile superstars either leave, be released, or simply take time away from the ring in 2014. Some splits have been more amicable than others, but, bar CM Punk's long-running dispute with the WWE it is the exit of Alberto Del Rio that has caught most attention.
The Mexican wrestler was unceremoniously fired from the company on August 7 after an altercation with Cody Barbierri, a now former member of the WWE's social media team. Del Rio reportedly struck Barbierri after the now former employee had made a racist joke at the expense of Del Rio and his fellow Mexican wrestlers.
In the proceeding months Del Rio has had to fight for his right to wrestle away from the WWE and has recently hinted at the level of racism currently prevalent in the company.
Now though, speaking to WrestleTalk TV, the former WWE Superstar has opened up about the incident and explained the major concern the WWE had that led to Del Rio being fired rather than simply suspended.
"I got fired because I stand up for myself against a (expletive) racist prick."
After explaining that he slapped Barbierri after the latter had told a racist joke and refused to apologize (smiling instead), Del Rio revealed that initially the WWE big shots called him in the next day in order to suspend him for three weeks.
"I slapped him and then the next day the big shots of the company called me in and were like 'ok, you're going to get suspended for three weeks with no salary but after those three weeks everything is going to be just fine," Del Rio explained this week.
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But the WWE's view quickly changed when it became apparent that Barbierri was planning legal action. Del Rio continues the story.
"This guy said he was going to sue the company and for that reason the company decided to let me go."
And Del Rio made it clear that he too was wary of being hit by legal action, only feeling comfortable discussing the events after taking the proper precautions.
"This is the first time I talk about the incident in front of a camera because...in the United States they can sue you for whatever.
"I don't want these guys coming after me and suing me and taking everything away from my children just because I'm talking about it."
Relief to talk
After a difficult few months Alberto Del Rio has been back wrestling in AAA and Wrestle-1 but the former Superstar made it clear that he had had to face some demons during that time.
"I was struggling for two months trying to get this thing off my chest and i couldn't do it 'cos I was afraid of these guys coming after me."
The whole situation certainly does not shed a good light on the WWE with fans having questioned both their decision to fire Del Rio, and their lack of action against what seems to be a growing issue of racism.
Fellow latino superstar Ricardo Rodriguez, himself let go by the WWE this year, has also spoken about unsavoury language in the WWE environment, linking Triple H in particular to one derogatory phrase.
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