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Randy Orton - A Reality Check



1 September 2004

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Alloha, Simon here again, this time off the back of a very strange Summerslam, and looking forward (or not) to Unforgiven. Of course although getting a decent topic to discuss out of the WWE is as hard to get as blood from a stone these days there is one topic that has divided us all. And that is Randy Orton. Termed as many as “the future of the WWE” read on for why some people may be getting just a bit too excited about Mr. Orton.

Let me say first that Randy Orton, after 2 decent title matches with Benoit, should end up having a good title reign despite having months worth of what could have been entertaining booking wasted in the space of two days. I still maintain that it’s too soon though, but since Randy Orton is apparently a Rock or a Brock Lesnar these cries tend to fall on deaf ears. That aside, Randy Orton could have a reasonably interesting title run, as the Raw title scene again puts Smackdown’s to shame. And no Kurt, feuding with the Undertaker will not improve it. Retiring the Undertaker… well that’s a different matter.

I don’t really need to say much about Summerslam except for the fact that the Canadian fans were right to ruin the event, but did it in the wrong way. By ruining every match they pretty much cancelled out any effectiveness they had in their protest except for the shambolic JBL v Undertaker borefest. There was no need to ruin things like the Eugene match, I’m particularly pissed off that they did as well, and I’d honestly just have preferred it if they only ruined the matches that deserved ruining. The JBL v Undertaker match deserved its reaction, and I only pray that Kurt Angle’s new political backstage actions get the title off the midcarder-in-the-hat soon even if another main eventer politicking isn’t necessarily good for the show.

Anyhow, back to Orton. Now I’ve said it many a time, infact Randy Orton was one of the people I stuck up for at the end of 2003 in my ‘evils of 2003’ article, I like Randy Orton. To me he has the WWE look, he has a decent finisher, and can wrestle in reasonably entertaining fashion. In a perfect world of decent wrestlers though I’m afraid that it’s time to just admit that Randy Orton would look silly outside of the midcard. There really isn’t anything special about him, and I’d certainly debate whether he has the ‘it’ factor in any sense.

If you think about it, Randy Orton is a textbook midcarder. He’s just an average all rounder. Now that’s not a bad thing, infact I’d rather have a roster full of Randy Ortons than one with Hardcore Hollys and Tyson Tomkos. There is nothing though, apart from having a good body, that Orton exceeds at. He isn’t an ultra-charismatic Rock, isn’t a risk taking maniac like Mankind was and doesn’t have outstanding wrestling skills like a Kurt Angle or a Brock Lesnar. Sue me but I prefer Batista anyway.

What the WWE have done is taken a third generation superstar who has a good look, and attempted to force him down our throats as the next Rock. Unfortunately it seems a lot of people are willing to be stupid enough to believe that he is. I’m not going to complain about how Orton didn’t ‘pay his dues’ or anything since in my opinion if something is hot, then don’t waste time waiting for them to have jobbed to bitter midcarders, and have guys like Hardcore Holly putting them over. Several times… in humiliating fashion. Infact… have the whole cruiserweight division job to them. The WWE obviously see something in Orton that I don’t… well not at the moment anyhow, though that probably would have been different if they just kept working at it for just that bit longer, but fair enough to them for pushing a new star to the main event, something which they have been criticised for not doing in recent years bar Mr. Lesnar.

Now you know I hate HHH, but let’s face it, without Evolution or Ric Flair in particular, Orton would probably not be over at all. Ironically what Batista was shouting at Orton on Raw is true… he would be nothing without Evolution. Also ironic is the fact that HHH apparently backstabbed Orton in a sense backstage as well in apparently pushing for Orton’s quick face turn since he knows fine well it’ll have a good chance of failing (of course then big nose would get his shiny big gold belt back). Before Orton managed to finally squeeze some heat out of the fans, Flair would outshine him every time he did Orton’s talking for him. I mean just look at the Foley feud, which was a bit of a joke anyway. On a side note, I’m afraid Mick Foley is just going to be remembered for jobbing now. If that’s what he wanted, then good for him, but that last feud with Orton was just another example of Foley’s ego needing stroked. I’m sure a load of people will disagree with me, but I can probably understand some of Flair’s recent complaints about Foley. Then again I forgot Foley is always right eh.

But this isn’t about Foley, this is a quick rant about Orton. I have to repeat that I like Orton… and in the desperation of WWE’s to find a new star quickly I can tolerate him being Raw World Champion for now, but I just feel a lot of people need to take a reality check. Orton is not the next Rock. If you can look at Orton’s work, be it on the mic, in the ring or just in general, and you can honestly tell me that he is a superb worker who can honestly be regarded as ‘the future of the business’ then either you haven’t watched enough wrestling (again you could argue that’s a good thing) or you’re just very, very easily pleased.

I’m willing to give Orton’s title run a chance… it could work as long as it isn’t just a carbon copy of Benoit’s where HHH is always floating around the world title scene. If HHH just GOES AWAY for real this time after a feud with Orton, and they don’t try and make this feud last until Wrestlemania (Oh my God can you imagine the excruciating pain if they did) then I can see Raw continuing to be the show that’s good, but still not that good that it leaves you wanting to keep watching. The less said about Smackdown the better.

However what I’m saying here is that Orton is not, contrary to public opinion, the future of the WWE. Congratulations to the WWE if they do manage to fabricate a decent title run for Randy Orton and they do truly manage to create a star, but for me I don’t see Orton as marketable, particularly not as a face anyway, and you certainly couldn’t picture Orton on the front of video games etc. It’s really not up for debate you know, the guy just isn’t marketable unless they do something to him. The arrogant young rookie gimmick, as scintillating as it was is obviously done now (great move considering the time it took to finally get it working) and now he’ll need a new character straight away.

How the hell do you do that though “Guess what…? I was only kidding! I DO actually care about the fans. Hah! Fooled you all!” No doubt he’ll still get cheered just like Austin post Survivor Series 2001 (remember… the non-face turn), and whilst the underdog/rookie fighting to prove himself gimmick might work in the short run, for him to be THE FUTURE he’ll need something more long term. I don’t see it.

But then again I’m sure you disagree and on top of that you all enjoyed JBL v Undertaker and think that the fans were out of order for ‘disrespecting’ the Undertaker at Summerslam. Well I wish I could have been there so I could personally have ruined it myself.

Can I also add as a side note for any fellow TNA fans who are currently watching it on Sky’s Wrestling Channel that I do believe that the ‘Dark Carnival Match’ was probably one of the worst pieces of television I have ever seen. It confuses me as to why TNA thinks that the ICP are a draw, when instead they are a horrible blemish on the world of professional wrestling. That ‘Dark Carnival’ match was a complete embarrassment. And dear God I think if I ever hear Mike Tenay say ‘you hear the ICP theme, you see the flashing lights… it’s all part of the dark carnival match!’ again then I think I may kill myself. Truly awful, and I’d rather watch a 2 hour compilation of Bradshaw’s in ring work than ever witness that level of awfulness again. And that is saying something.

Anyway… for now, enjoy Randy ‘I’m a short term draw’ Orton’s title run. Don’t come crying to me when he ends up in upper midcard limbo land though. I’d like to think I’ve watched enough wrestling to know if someone’s got ‘it’ or not, and on top of that I know enough marks to know that for the Austin/Rock/HHH/Kane/Undertaker type lovers Randy Orton is just another generic Joe. The future? Try another reason why wrestling won’t be going anywhere in the next few years.

One more rant to go,

Until then don’t watch RoH and get a new hobby!

Simon

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