Wrestlemania III Attendance, also Randy Orton

Hi Scott,

I e-mailed you a few weeks ago with an article claiming that the 93,000 for Wrestlemania 3 was actually a legitimate number and was just wondering what your take on it was. It was during the week before Wrestlemania, so I understand if you were too busy to answer (or if you didn't want to dignify an uproxx article with a response, which is also understandable).

I have a question regarding Randy Orton that's been bugging me for awhile, though. In every shoot interview that Bayless has posted where the wrestlers are asked about him, everyone has praised Orton to high heaven, either as a joy to see him wrestle or by those who have faced him as the perfect person to wrestle against. I know he's not shitting in *everybody's* bag, but why the universal praise? Is it because he's never hurt anyone in the ring?

Thanks,

Vince

​Zane Breslov, the actual promoter of the show, has gone on record saying that there were only 78,000 people in the building.  I have no idea why this 93,000 thing persists even though we know they've literally lied about the Wrestlemania attendance every year for the past two decades.  Is it because ​people think that one year was when they were telling the truth?  
As for Orton, wrestlers have different standards as far as what they like than fans do, obviously.  

Why did Orton lose the title so soon in 2004?

Hi Scott,

Michael Xavier here. I've been off-blog because of the current product and am watching PPVs during the Reign of Terror that I missed because that was the last time I wasn't interested in the product. Plus, it was just referenced in the Max Landis short movie (by the way, congrats on the mention!)

Anyway, Orton beat Benoit for the RAW belt at SummerSlam 2004. It went on last, Orton won clean, and Benoit even did the "handshake of respect" to completely put him over. It was essentially portrayed as a career-making performance. The next night he got kicked out of Evolution and then lost the belt at the next PPV to Hunter. He was basically Hunter's bitch in rematches and Batista was later pushed into the RAW championship spot instead. Orton didn't get another run with a top title until he won the WWE title in October 2007, more than 3 years later.

What was the point of putting Orton over so strongly at SummerSlam only to have him lose the belt so suddenly? I'd get it if ratings and house shows tanked, but he was already being set up to lose it to Hunter the very next night, and then was essentially out of serious consideration of being champion for 3 years.

Anyway, any knowledge on this?

​The explanation I've always heard is that Hunter felt like they needed a heel champion for whatever the voting PPV was that year (Taboo Tuesday or Cyber Sunday, I forget) because fans wouldn't want to vote between three heels and the choices were stronger on the babyface side anyway.  Plus Orton was really a spectacular flop as champion, like really badly, so it worked out OK anyway.  ​

HHH vs. Orton vs. Batista vs. Bryan

Hello,

After the close of Raw, do you think it's possible they set up a four-way dance for the title? They have established an animosity (some subtle, some more overt) between all four competitors. Also, it would seriously stack the odds against Bryan and truly make him an underdog, making his (presumed) win more impressive. Plus, you could still have Batista/Bryan and HHH/Bryan later down the line.

It just doesn't make sense at the moment for them to stick with Orton/Batista, especially if it is the closing match. They would HAVE to know what the reaction would be either a complete burial on the likes of Goldberg/Lesnar or crickets like HHH/Jericho or HHH/Orton.

Thoughts?  


I know that people keep saying "They can't possibly run Orton-Batista" but they honestly think it's a big match that people want to see, and all signs point to them signing an idiotic agreement to put Batista over for the title in the main event of the show.  So no matter if everyone hates it or not, they're gonna do it.  Bryan's probably gonna have to settle for getting the belt somewhere between Wrestlemani-RAW and Extreme Rules.  

The Postgame: Randy Orton, sympathetic figure?

Thousands of words have been written in recent months from any corner of the internet about a WWE star whose run on top has been submarined by bad writing, bad booking and a perceived lack of faith from within the company almost entirely based on what we see on-screen.

I’m going to write some more of those words today, but as you probably figured out from the headline, they won’t be about Daniel Bryan.

It’s hard to make a strong case that one should feel bad for Randy Orton. He was born into the business and earmarked for success before he even hit the main roster. He’s never really drawn significant money but has maintained a lofty spot near the top, if not at it, for 10 years now. He was dreadfully boring in the ring in his first turn as a main event heel even if his character was mildly interesting. He was dull as dishwater- albeit very over with most live crowds- as a top babyface from 2010 to 2013 even if his ringwork was generally proficient in this period. Not only that, but if they followed their own drug testing rules to a tee, he’d have been long ago unemployed. (Allegedly, along with many other backstage miscreant behavior he’s been accused of.)

It’s not the kind of career Daniel Bryan, CM Punk or most other wrestlers would ever have been afforded the opportunity to have, or more accurately have continue past….any number of points, really. And that’s only if we stick to what we know (never drawn money) and leave out what we think we know (the backstage misbehavior) and what we perceive (i.e., any opinion of him as a performer).

Thus, it’s a difficult exercise to even imagine Orton as any sort of sympathy case. In the long view, he’s certainly not one.

But in the here and now, it’s hard to imagine a champion getting any shorter shrift heading into Wrestlemania.

In the beginning, Orton as the flunky avatar for what the Authority wanted to be the ideal WWE champion was a great hook: it was a nifty twist on the old corporate heel champion bit that’s been done so many times. But something strange happened that made the perplexing booking that ensued so much worse: he was terrific in the role. As this piece is more a dissection of everything that’s been wrong with how Orton has been booked in the last seven months, and less an paean to Orton, I’ll direct you to the Masked Man’s excellent Grantland piece from two months ago if such an ode is your thing.

From vacillating between dominant corporate champ and the Authority’s underachieving whipping boy to cleanly jobbing to almost the entire Elimination Chamber lineup leading up to that show, his on-screen portrayal has been uneven at best, and not meritocratic in the least based on his actual work in recent months.

But in the so-called “Reality Era” of WWE that we now not only view but actively participate in, that’s never the whole story, is it?

The tumult surrounding the Wrestlemania build is, of course, well-documented: crowds are becoming more agitated every week that Daniel Bryan is kept out of the main event. CM Punk quit. A very audible fart in church would be received better than Batista’s return and instant placement into Wrestlemania’s main event has been.

Caught in the middle of this, quietly continuing to do the best he can with what he’s been given, is Randy Orton. If you can’t get past his background, maybe this is another example to you of Orton being handed something he doesn’t deserve. And maybe you’re right. But let’s say an audible is called for, say, Batista or even Lesnar as the corporate “face of the WWE” to face underdog Bryan at Wrestlemania, a cool-sounding idea that many floated. The part-time star usurping the spot of the guy who’s been here every week, doing as he’s asked and having good matches pretty much every time out.

Sounds familiar.

Aren’t these the circumstances that made CM Punk quit?

Maybe he should be closer to the midcard than the main event in the first place, but we can’t blame Randy Orton for Daniel Bryan not being in the WWE title match. We can’t blame him for Batista’s return, or how poorly he’s been received since. Nothing in life takes place in a vacuum, though, and Randy Orton has long ago used up whatever goodwill would have engendered a sympathetic reaction to how shoddily he’s been booked since Summerslam.

I guess if there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that even an asshole with a spot he never earned in the first place can be unfairly jerked around in professional wrestling. Even if it’s all the way to the bank.

Cesaro vs. Randy Orton: SmackDown, Feb. 14, 2014

You marks are all kidding yourself if you think that Orton putting him over clean as a sheet and the announcers treating it as a big deal will have ANY effect on his rise to the next level.  No one pays attention to that SOUTHERN RASSLIN shit.  It’s the fact that he is now just Cesaro that will determine his main event fate.  GENIUS.

Also, burying this on Smackdown and putting yet another Orton-Cena match that means nothing on RAW?  GENIUS.

Also, I think Ellen Page was taking the “mutants as metaphor” aspect of the X-Men movies a bit too seriously.  There’s method acting and then there’s taking it too far.

Also, more like ROBOFLOP, am I right?

That’s all I got tonight.

Randy Orton: Face Of The Company

Just to expand on something in the comments from RAW thread:

What’s amazing is like you said, why haven’t they done ANYTHING with the “face of the company” gimmick? Instead of being HHH/Steph’s chew toy, Orton could have actually been an interesting heel character. Show videos of him being the “face of the company” at public events and being hated— photo ops with kids who can’t stand him, being obnoxious on local TV appearances, stuff like that. Have him come out and review his latest Randy Orton merchandise, or berate interns because his locker room didn’t have enough fresh cut flowers,. Give him a lackey to carry a mirror so Orton can look at himself as he comes down the ring. Bring a fan in the ring because Randy wants to let the commoner worship the face of the company. There’s a million ways you could go with Orton as the pompous champion who prides himself as being the most popular person in WWE when obviously he’s not.

I don’t know if you watch NXT or not, but this is an exact description of the Bo Dallas character and his Honky Tonk Man 2014 deal.  And although it’s fun for the most part, it does NOT work for the guy who is supposed to be the champion, and it’s not going to work for Bo when he gets called up.  They’ve really booked themselves into a corner with Bo and this deal, because once he loses that belt the character is dead in the water and really Bo is LONG past the point where the joke has been beaten into the ground as it is.  Orton might be able to make it work, but it’s not translating to Dallas as a top guy, I’ll say that. 

Terrific Masked Man piece on Randy Orton

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10158206/why-randy-orton-now-champion-need

I’m sure this will engender some interesting discussion, if it hasn’t  already in a threadjack somewhere. Personally, I think he’s 100 percent correct. I’ve admittedly never been as down on Orton as some of you- never a big fan, either- but he’s killing it in this role. I wrote shortly after his heel turn that he was the perfect avatar for the Authority in that storyline, but it’s pretty obvious he’s a lot more than that now.

Hulk Hogan and Cowboy Bob Orton main Event WM 30???

Hey Scott, any chance with the rumored involvement of the Hulkster the WM match we get is Cena and Hogan against Orton and his dad?  There would be the symmetry of 2 guys from the WM1 Main Event in there 30 years later and can continue the "legendary" Cena-Orton feud.  And Bob can even wear the cast!

In this scenario I'd have Punk-HHH for the title as the main event with Dbry-HBK and Brock-Taker as the other features.  Or, if Shawn really won't wrestle again, how about Punk-HHH-Bryan triple threat for the title with HBK as special ref?

Or am I crazy and we are getting Cena-HHH for the title to end this storyline once and for all?


Bob Orton still has major heat due to working matches in 2005 and blading after being diagnosed with Hepatitis.  I really doubt they'd bring him back again, especially for a payday like that.


And they still have no idea where they're going at this point aside from "Cena maybe in a tag match with or against Hogan or something, and Vince against HHH somehow" according to the WON. So I guess anything is possible.

Greatest Randy Orton vs. John Cena Match?

First of all, I loved the ending to Raw this week. It was a balls-to-the-wall ending that planted the seeds and foreshadowed things to possibly come. That said, I am not excited for this unification match. The unification of the titles is something  fans have looked forward to seeing for years, and the build just hasn’t come close to living up to the hype. It feels like just another PPV main event, to be honest.

Anywho, what is the greatest Orton and Cena match in your opinions?  Personally, I have to go with their “I Quit Match” from Breaking Point 2009.

Road-agents and wrestlers sometimes put a lot thought into the match and surprise me with their creativity. That is what happened on this night: They structured out a masterpiece that displayed a strategical plan and in-ring characterizations (two things that lack in modern wrestling imo.)

Orton channeled something you’d see straight out of a horror movie, torturing Cena with painful devices and triggered his already injured head. Through the power of facial expressions and body language, he made it clear that his character was trying to do more than just win the match; it was trying to end Cena’s career.
But as compelling as a character’s strengths are, its weaknesses are even more compelling. And, Orton’s weaknesses were exposed by Cena, even in a vulnerable situation, as Orton became too concerned with toying with Cena rather than finishing him off. That led to Orton receiving his comeuppance by hoisting on his own petard.
This was a very well structured brawl, with good psychology and storytelling. Cena’s comeback being too abrupt, Orton tapping out a wee too quickly, and the lack of color are the only things holding this down from being a 5-star classic.

Cena and Orton

So, between them Cena and Orton have held:

19 WWE Championships, 6 World Heavyweight Champions, 1 Intercontinental
Championship, 3 United States Championships, 2 WWE Tag team Championships, 3
World Tag team Championships, and won 3 Royal Rumbles. The FIRST of those
titles was won in December 2003. Cena is still 36, Orton only 33.

The obvious question…if YOU were booking WWE, would you keep going with what
works(these two guys), or push someone new? It's clear that no one else can
really do the business they can(including Daniel Bryan). But if something
happened to one or both of Cena and/or Orton, what could they realistically
do?

To be fair, you forgot the 2 Money in the Bank wins between them.
And nothing will ever happen to them, because in WWE-world everything good that happens remains that way forever and no one ever needs to think ahead and have contingency plans.