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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.)
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
> http://www.pwmania.com/photo-of-randy-ortons-wwe-championship-title-belt-side-plates#.UhTNTn-QOSo Not gonna lie, I was hoping for an RNN logo.
With the fans now completely on Bryan's side, fueled by VKM antics, shouldn't be the time to do the opposite? To give him a solid title reign with the WWE title, like they did with Punk? (of course I don't think they'll give a 400 days type of reign to Bryan, but you get my point)
I'd like you to clarify this, thank you!
Hey, speaking of Jesse…. > Since you have two people writing in about Randy Orton, might as well give you a lucky number three on the subject in terms of a third email on him.
> Any reason why the WWE refuses to turn Randy Orton heel? With the ascension of Punk, the WWE has been struggling with the need to find heels and let alone those who are big enough to be credible threats. And as it has been said, Orton seems to know that his days as the top face is over what with him wanting to go heel.
> This is most notable when you consider that Sheamus has effectively upstaged Orton as a top face on Smackdown and the fact that Orton would have been tailor made for a rival for Punk during his time as a good guy world champion, far better than Jericho in terms of a filler feud during the first half of 2012.
> Does Vince fear that turning Orton heel might hurt his merch sales? Or is it more or less him being contrary simply for the sake of being contrary, especially since Orton himself has requested a return to the dark side for his character?
> Jesse He just turned on Smackdown, didn't he? Unless he was possessed by Dr. Octopus.
Randy Orton’s career has taken a rare course in the last couple of years and I’m wondering your take on it.
By WrestleMania 25, Orton had developed into the hottest and possibly best heel act in the business. This rise included overcoming injuries, disciplinary problems and an already failed run at the top. Then, by WrestleMania 26, he is one of the hottest babyfaces, while making no changes to his character. However, other than his feuds with Miz and Christian in 2011, he has been out of the championship picture. He is apparently being used only for the name and attraction of “The Viper Randy Orton” and to work with mostly up-and-coming mid-card level guys. He hasn’t main-evented a PPV in a long, long, time yet he is a multi-time WWE and World Heavyweight Champion who is by no means long in the tooth.
Is he in limbo because of the fear of him getting into trouble again? Is he in a role that he prefers and has requested? It’s so rare to see someone rise to main-eventing WrestleMania and win dozens of titles, lose no drawing power or crowd heat, yet still just become another guy on the show for an extended period of time. What say you?
Well, I…hang on, I’ve got a beep. Scott,
I think that, in answer to both queries, the two strikes are hurting him a LOT. Because now they can never get 100% behind him as the top guy without worrying that he’ll screw up and get himself fired. As for my personal feelings, I mostly enjoy him as a worker these days, but he doesn’t connect with me on a character level, much like Sheamus. He’s a guy who has good matches and gets good reactions but I don’t particularly care about him one way or another and he tends to win a lot for no real reason.
The SmarK DVD Rant for Superstar Collection: Randy Orton I know we just got an Orton DVD set, but this is the 90 minute cheaper version with just four matches on it. I still really like this concept, actually. WWE title, Three Stages of Hell: Randy Orton v. HHH This is from The Bash 2009, a point where I wasn’t even watching the product outside of Wrestlemania and the Backlash where Orton won the title from HHH in a six-man. So this is a regular match first up. HHH gets the high knee and pounds him in the corner, but Orton goes for the knee and ends up running himself into the post. HHH suplexes him into the ring for two. Orton blocks a Pedigree attempt by clipping the knee and works on that for a bit, but HHH hits him with the spinebuster to slow down the torrid pace. HHH bails and grabs a chair, and beats on Orton for the DQ at 5:00. HHH absolutely destroys him with the chair, setting up the fall count anywhere portion. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the floor evens it up at 6:18. So it’s the stretcher match for the third part, which means the first two were basically pointless. Like really, 6 minutes for two falls? Why even bother? HHH puts him on the stretcher and can’t get him across the YELLOW LINE OF DEATH, as Orton escapes and goes to the knee again. Orton boots him into the crowd, right onto the JEFF HARDY CHAIRS, and they fight over to the sound board. Like really, would you want to be sitting on Jeff’s face at a wrestling show? Who even knows where it’s been? They fight back to ringside, tearing up the poor barricade in the process, and Orton drops HHH back-first onto the STEEL railing, and whips him into the STEEL stairs. Orton brings the stairs in, but HHH gives him the drop toehold to counter and drags him to the stretcher. Orton recovers and they both fall off the stretcher. Orton gives him the draping DDT off the stretcher, to the ramp, which is a pretty nice bump actually. The punt misses and Orton has to kick the stretcher on the follow-through in order to not have that sequence look ridiculous, but he gets HHH onto the stretcher again and sloooooooooooowly pushes the stretcher up. This is like slow-climbing in a ladder match, but even MORE boring. Orton’s RKO is countered by HHH and it’s KICK WHAM PEDIGREE on the stage. Orton is on the stretcher, but Cody Rhodes runs out and blocks the stretcher. HHH beats him up and tries again, but now Ted Dibiase comes out for the save and HHH has to beat them both up single-handedly. Finally they manage to beat him down, but HHH locates his SUPER SECRET SLEDGEHAMMER and beats them up, but Orton hits him with a cheapshot from behind and puts him on the stretcher at 21:30 to retain. Boring match, terrible finish, as it took three guys to put down the THE MIGHTY HHH. The actual work was fine, but it felt like a bunch of wankery between them and the first two stages were a complete waste of time. **3/4 WWE title: Randy Orton v. HHH v. John Cena From Night of Champions 2009, so we get another round of Orton v. HHH. Orton wisely slithers out of the ring, but the other two chase him and HHH beats on him in the corner. Orton bails and the babyfaces continue taking turns on him, but Orton bumps Cena into HHH and takes over on Cena. Cena comes back with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM, but HHH breaks up the FU. HHH stops to glare at Cena, however, and Orton hits him from behind with a clothesline for two. Dropkick gets two. Orton with the chinlock, but HHH fights out and they slug it out. Orton with the powerslam, but HHH counters the RKO into a DDT. Both guys are down in contrived manner, so Cena gives them both the top rope legdrop. That looked ridiculous. Orton takes Cena out again with a neckbreaker and he bails, and then Orton backdrops HHH out of the ring as well. Another contrived spot sees Orton trying the double draping DDT, but the faces backdrop him out and now Orton gets to play dead for 5 minutes. So now it’s HHH v. Cena and they slug it out for the boo/yay spot. Cena gets his shoulderblocks, but HHH hits him with the high knee. Cena comes back with the neckbreaker and FU, but HHH counters out and they reverse each other until HHH gets the spinebuster. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE gets two, as Orton saves. He preps the table, but HHH goes low and Orton gets tossed into the crowd. Cena puts HHH in the STF on the table, so it must be extra painful. Back in the ring, Orton and Cena slug it out, but Cena blocks the RKO. They head up and tease the Tower of Doom spot, but Cena slingshots HHH into Orton and hooks him into the STF. HHH makes the ropes, so Cena does it again, leaving himself open for the punt. That misses and Cena rolls up Orton for two. That was a good moment, with Orton realizing his chance. Orton puts Cena down and gives both guys the Garvin Stomp and kneedrops. Finally he misses one, and the babyfaces go to work on his knee, but HHH turns on Cena and puts him on the floor. HHH actually uses a Sharpshooter on Orton, which is weird until Cena also hooks the STF on him and it’s clear why he did that. Orton taps but we don’t know who to, so Legacy runs in for the beatdown. Cena tries to give Cody the FU, and Orton gets the RKO on Cena to retain at 22:22. That was clever, but man did Cena look stupid there. Hey, two matches, two fuck finishes. No wonder I wasn’t watching in 2009. *** Randy Orton v. Ted Dibiase From RAW, March 2010. This would be after Orton’s babyface turn and setup of their boring three-way at Wrestlemania. Orton gets a clothesline, but Dibiase hammers away in the corner and dropkicks him. They fight to the floor and Dibiase runs away, and we take a break. Back with Dibiase stomping him down and choking away in the corner, and a boot to the head gets two. Dibiase with a clothesline for two. They slug it out and Orton gets the powerslam and Garvin Stomp. Cody Rhodes runs out to prevent the RKO, and Dibiase rolls him up for two before Cody comes in for the DQ at 5:41. Odd choice for inclusion. *1/2 World Heavyweight title: Randy Orton v. Christian From Capital Punishment 2011. There was concern at this point about whether Orton would actually be cleared due to concussion problems. Christian attacks to start and Orton gets the Thesz Press and works on a headlock. Christian goes up and misses a dropkick, but Orton bails and Christian gets the baseball slide instead. A dive misses and Orton takes over, hammering away in the corner. Back to the floor, where Christian escapes a DDT and runs Orton into the stairs. Back in, Christian gets two. He chokes Orton out in the corner and a neckbreaker gets two. Christian with the neck vice, but Orton rolls him up for two. Christian with a spinebuster for two and Orton is selling like he’s concussed again. He manages to whip Christian into the corner and comes back with a backdrop. Christian tries the inverted DDT, but Orton hits the powerslam and a belly to belly suplex for two. Why doesn’t he ever do that move, it looked good! Christian gets a cheapshot and tries to suplex Orton from the apron, but Orton blocks with a headbutt and they go up for an Orton superplex. And again Orton’s head is compromised, but he gets two anyway. They slug it out and Orton gets the backbreaker drop for two. Christian escapes the RKO, but Orton hits the draping DDT. Christian with his own DDT for two. Spear misses, but Christian escapes the RKO and hits it on a second try for two. Orton comes back with the dropkick, but Christian goes up and lands in the RKO at 14:02. Although his feet were under the ropes, so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. Good chemistry from them, as usual. ***1/4 The Pulse Kind of a strange selection of stuff, but decent enough for $7 I guess.
This was mentioned in the blog feedback section and I was wondering if you could clarified it: what was the context in which Randy Orton supposedly proclaimed out loud "Stupid Stupid Stupid!!!!!"?
This might be a good thing for him. He needs to be freshened up badly.
Thoughts on this?
It's a sad day when truths like this become evident. Maybe it was acceptable in 1999 for Steve Austin to hijack an ambulance, but it's time to start cracking down!
But what does this have to do with Bret Hart!?
Soon they’re gonna be forced to elevate people. Might be good for them. I’d check Zack’s bag for lead pipes just to be on the safe side, though.