Additional Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
After a backstage incident in Iraq, there are several people within WWE who now see Randy Orton as something of a locker room leader. Orton is viewed as one of the few guys who don’t take crap from HHH and Shawn Michaels.
The backstage incident in Iraq, of all places, involved Umaga having tights made for his match and the seamstress telling him he couldn’t use those colors because they are HHH’s colors, but he insisted on it.
Michaels threw a fit about Umaga’s tights when he saw him go through the curtain and Orton was the only one who stood up for Umaga. Orton is said to have the same attitude that Michaels used to, but since Orton has stood up to people that a lot of the locker room doesn’t like, and knows they would loose their jobs if they stood up to them, Orton has become popular.