Shortly after WWE announced that Del Rio was let go "due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee," Ring of Honor founder and RF Video owner Rob Feinstein claimed that Del Rio slapped a member of WWE's social media team at a television taping this week. This claim was backed up by both F4WOnline.com and PWInsider.com. To add a new layer to the story, the identity of the person Del Rio had the backstage altercation with has apparently been revealed.
As members of the F4WOnline.com message board were discussing Del Rio's termination and speculating which WWE employee was on the receiving end of his slap, Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer remarked "Cody Barbierri."
On LinkedIn and Twitter, Barbierri identifies himself as WWE's manager of social media live events. Though not identified by name, F4WOnline.com's updated story on Del Rio's termination says the altercation involved the social media manager of WWE.
According to the new report, WWE's social media manager was supposedly asked to wipe his plate clean following a meal in catering. He allegedly joked that it was Del Rio's job to clean the plate, which could be perceived as racist by Hispanic people. Del Rio was informed of the comment, and confronted him. The individual did not apologize for his remark and then smiled at him. Fuming, Del Rio slapped him.
Addressing the matter Friday evening, WWE released a statement via Twitter asking fans to direct their anger toward Del Rio since he did not conduct himself in a professional matter: "@VivaDelRio is responsible for his own actions. If you're angry at anyone, be angry at Alberto. There's no excuse for a pro athlete not to conduct themselves in a professional manner."
Paul "Triple H" Levesque, WWE's Executive Vice President, Talent, Live Events and Creative, re-Tweeted the comment in its entirety.
According to F4WOnline.com, Del Rio is believed to be subject to a 90-day no-compete clause, which would prevent him from immediately joining TNA and AAA. Both organizations are reportedly interested in his services.
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