For about 20 years, Randy Orton has been a mainstay in WWE. He’s the youngest to win a world championship at 24-years-old and has won over 15 titles. Currently, he seems to be finding his next level by stalking the WWE halls as a cheeky attempted murderer. Having reduced Bray Wyatt/The Fiend to cinders and threatening to do the same to others, is Randy Orton redefining Camp in the WWE Universe? More than likely he’s trying to develop a way to stay entertaining in modern times.
The WWE Universe is a special place. Here, a person is invited to suspend one’s disbelief and simply play along with the outlandish and flashy fisticuffs on offer. As times change, how to continue this tradition effectively also has to evolve. What’s coming to light is WWE is not clear on how to orchestrate this evolution. Randy Orton, a legacy member of the roster, has grown up through the ranks. With plenty of titles already won, he’s in an interesting position.
There’s no real impetus to acquire more titles. So, what is he to do? Should he retire since there’s nothing left for him? Is he just supposed to hang out and plot how to get away with murder? Well, Yes, and No. Orton has to do what he can to keep himself interesting and right now being the resident “Bad Man” is working for him. So now, the task becomes finding the next wrestler for a mouth-watering feud. That is if he’s not “scarred” for life.
To look at the story-arc currently in play on RAW, Bray Wyatt should be the continuing rival. Alexa Bliss is carrying out his vengeance but given how this week’s episode has been thoroughly dragged on social media, it’s unlikely WWE will draw this out too much longer. Also, it’s hard to guess how Wyatt will reinvent himself or if he will hold fans’ interest. Though many find what he’s doing engaging, there are gaping plot holes in the ongoing gimmick.
An up-and-coming option is Keith Lee. He could prove a formidable opponent. Yet, would Randy Orton be so kind as to put him over? It would be politic since Orton has little left to prove but his character being so self-serving, would he lose clean? Probably only under certain conditions.
Sheamus is well overdue for a solid push but it’s hard to say that a feud with Orton would best serve him at present. Orton is an attempted murderer after all. Is it worth the “risk”? A feud for them would need creative motivation.
Braun Strowman could be a possible opponent when he returns. With Orton stomping around and threatening to light people on fire, there’s a good chance Strowman could play the Face to this gratuitous Heel. If that’s how Orton likes to play, why doesn’t he play with him and see what happens when he “gets these hands”. Strowman having history with Bray Wyatt could also strangely tie them together.
Bobby Lashley is an outside shot. He and the Hurt Business have been making strong showings of late and with Lashley currently holding the US Title, there could be an incentive for Orton to add another trophy to the mantle. Extra spice could be added with Orton doing so just because he can. That could make Lashley quite salty, leading to a simmering feud.
We also shouldn’t forget Edge. It can be said Orton put him on the Injured List. Yet, the problems here are Edge’s age/health and how WWE tends to play an angle to death. If they go here when he gets back, the key is keeping the rivalry fresh.
There are other peripheral possibilities if WWE chooses to brand hop. Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins could prove compelling adversaries with proper set-ups but would that happen? It’s not impossible but they would have to push for a good game-plan. If Orton stays in good shape, he’s still a good 5-10 years out from retirement. It will be up to him to make sure his final years count.