Welcome to a special Friday edition of FATP. Sorry for being late again this week. Things have been crazy here and I’ve literally just had time to get this article written down! Thanks to everyone who retweeted the link from my Twitter feed, and the official PWMania Twitter feed, to the Undertaker article that I wrote last week, especially those of you who gave me their feedback! It’s awesome to get your feedback. Don’t be shy. If you see the link from the PWMania feed, feel free to tweet me your thoughts too!
This week, I wanted to talk about one of the most natural wrestlers on the planet – Randy Orton. Despite his reported problems, Orton is one of the guys that I love watching perform. Everything looks so natural to him. It’s almost as if it’s effortless. There’s a fluidity to his matches that nobody else on the roster seems to be able to match, except for CM Punk or Chris Jericho. Orton is someone who is unbelievably talented, yet for the last couple of years, something’s been missing.
Apart from his World Championship run between May and September 2011, he’s not really done anything. If you take that run out of consideration (including his series of excellent matches with Christian), then Orton hasn’t had a stand-out match. It’s as if turning Orton babyface has killed his momentum. There’s no bite to the Viper (see what I did there!) Yes, Orton’s probably still in the dog-house right now after serving a 60-day suspension for his 2nd violation of the WWE Wellness Policy last summer, but since he lost the World Championship to Mark Henry at Night of Champions 18 months ago, he’s done nothing. Looking back on it, Orton’s babyface turn probably wasn’t the best move.
For me, Orton is a natural heel. From the way he looks, talks, acts and wrestles, he just oozes “bad guy”. It’s been well-documented that Orton prefers to work as a heel, but the problem WWE now face is how do they turn Orton heel. There are no established babyfaces that WWE fans care about for Orton to turn on. John Cena isn’t a babyface. He’s a tweener. That might sound weird, but think about it. A tweener is someone who splits the crowd and that’s what Cena does. Sheamus is getting there, but he’s nowhere near over enough for the crowd to give a crap if Orton was to turn on him. Other than that, you’re almost out of options. Chris Jericho? Maybe, but he won’t be around long enough and we’ve already seen Orton/Jericho go at it plenty of times.
As I see it, there’s only one man that WWE can base an Orton heel turn around, and that’s the current WWE Champion, The Rock. Think about it. I’d go as far as to say 75-80% of the crowd are solidly behind Rock every time we see him. They eat it up. Catchphrases, jokes, charisma, everything. If I was in charge of WWE creative for turning Orton heel, here’s how I’d do it.
At Elimination Chamber, Orton loses in the SmackDown Chamber match. Let him be the first one to lose. On the way back up the ramp, Orton goes berserk – lashing out at ringside, tearing shit up, before going backstage. Then, during the WWE Championship match between Rock and Punk, have a ref bump. Orton comes out and “tries to revive” the referee. When the ref doesn’t come round, Orton slides in the ring as both men stumble to his feet. He drops down, thumps the mat and goes to RKO Punk, but instead, he swivels around and RKO’s Rocky. The ref comes to as Punk covers Rock and counts the 1-2-3. That would accomplish 2 things: it keeps the people bitching about Rock’s title win happy, because he loses the belt, and it turns Orton into a massive heel. Simple, but effective.
Going forward, WWE would build the feud around Orton’s jealousy of the Rock. Rock always mentions that he’s a 3rd-generation wrestler, but so is Orton. He’s tired of being overlooked as a 3rd-generation star and he’s accomplished more in his wrestling career than Rock has, so he decided to cost Rock the WWE Championship. Hell, WWE could even include a 3rd 3rd-generation star in the feud – Joe Hennig (or Michael McGillicutty as he’s known just now). It gives Orton new impetus and turns him into a huge heel, and it gives Joe Hennig a purpose for being on WWE TV. Orton then goes on to face Rock at Mania to find out who the best 3rd-generation WWE superstar is, and Orton goes over after a close-fought encounter. Apart from popping for the RKO, the crowd would be all over Orton. The fact that Rock is the most over babyface on the entire WWE roster, and he’s not even a full-time guy, points to bigger problems in the WWE as a whole, but I’ll get in to that a little more next week.
I know that Orton turning on Rock at the Chamber would raise a whole lot of questions, particularly over the WWE Championship scene. People are bitching about the fact that WWE said Rock/Cena at last year’s WrestleMania was “Once in a Lifetime”, yet, for all the world, it looks like WWE are going down that route again this year. My take on that is this – if you take anything that’s said in a wrestling ring literally, then you’re a moron and should be sectioned for your own safety. “Once in a Lifetime” was a marketing ploy to get people to buy the event, and they did. People bought into it. I don’t particularly want to see Rock/Cena 2, but it will make WWE a shedload of money, so I understand why they’d go down that route. I just feel that the match wasn’t that great 1st time around, and the outcome will be predictable if it happens again.
As far as I can see, using Rock to turn Orton heel is the only way WWE can go. I love watching Orton as a bad guy. It’s more natural for him and he works better that way. And it’s the only way for WWE to give the Viper his venom back.
That’ll wrap things up for this week. What do you guys think? Is there any other way for WWE to turn Orton heel? You know the drill by now. Either get in touch with me on Twitter @george_sltd or leave a comment below. Don’t be shy. I’ll reply to any feedback you’ve got for me! In next week’s FATP, I’ll talk about WWE’s lack of established main-event babyfaces, so get ready for that! Until then, have a great week.