Randy Orton successfully defended his WWE Championship this past Sunday at the 27th Survivor Series, against the much larger Big Show, and after months of cheating, yet defeating, his previous arch-nemesis Daniel Bryan.
And somehow, “the face of WWE” continues to play second fiddle to the usually overbearing, always long-winded, semi-retired sports entertainer and the latest ina revolving door of heel authority figures, Triple H.
WWE has done quite a few things right with Orton’s current championship reign, but the negatives throughout the storyline are tipping the scales out of Orton’s favor. Let’s take a quick look at the good and the bad.
Good: For someone like Orton, dragging the Money in the Bank around seemed like a demotion. However, it was a guaranteed title shot, and he cashed it in at Summerslam, atthe opportune time for an evil heel – when his on-again, off-again bearded buddy and brand new WWE Champ Daniel Bryan least expected it and could least combat it. A couple of swift moves and, boom, new WWE Champion.
Bad: It happened at the whim of Triple H.
Good: Orton loses the WWE Title back to the still red-hot Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions, only to devilishly demand it back the following night on Monday Night Raw, through a web of lies, deceit and nefariousness.
Bad: All of those lies, that deceit and that nefariousness were actually at the hands of Triple H.
Good: Big Show is introduced into the storyline, as Bryan’s bestie but befuddled by bad breaks in finance, bringing him to the beck and call of the bad guy’s side. Orton saves a little face thanks to a no-contest after Big Show’s hesitant interference, injecting an ancillary player into a headlining spot.
Bad: Big Show was actually intimidated into this whole thing by the mean boss who bought his mortgage, Triple H. Hunter then holds the title in “abeyance,” a 10-cent word that should never be uttered in pro wrestling again.
Good: Orton wins the WWE Title in brutal fashion against his summertime nemesis, Bryan, in the demonic Hell in a Cell, becoming once again the face of WWE.
Bad: That only happened because Bryan was superkicked by special referee Shawn Michaels, best friend of Triple H.
Good: Orton gets a win over Big Show at the (former) fourth-biggest pay-per-view on the WWE calendar, Survivor Series, using the punt kick that has shelved numerous opponents in the past.
Bad: Orton had to capitalize on non-physical interference by Triple H.
Yet to be determined: Survivor Series closes with a staring contest between World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and WWE Champion Randy Orton, teasing a future contest between the two.
Bad: John Cena was standing next to Triple H.
Subtract the common thread of You-Know-Who, and WWE has done an excellent job booking a heel champion, and even more important, making lemonade out of lemons. The underachieving Orton has spent 11 years in the WWE, kinda sorta over with the crowd as both a heel and a babyface, but never really carrying the WWE torch.
Now, if he can’t carry it, it’s because he can’t wrestle it out of the grasp of a guy who doesn’t even wrestle anymore.
When it comes time to book the big blow-off match for this months-long storyline, who will you pay to see get beaten up? I’m not sure, either.