WWE SmackDown: Is the End Near for the Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett Feud?

Thomas J. Harrigan Jr.Correspondent IJanuary 31, 2012

Timing, more often than not, is everything. 

Case in point: Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett has been one of the better feuds WWE has put together over the past year.

However, because Orton's back injury kept him out a month and extended the conflict into WrestleMania season, there is now a chance the feud won't have a proper blow-off match on pay-per-view. 

With Elimination Chamber coming up in February, the WWE has to decide if it wants to have Barrett and Orton do battle one-on-one, or if it will have both compete in the SmackDown chamber match. 

If the WWE does put Orton and Barrett into the Elimination Chamber match, then their match on SmackDown, which will air on Friday, will likely serve as the major blow-off match.

There is a possibility that the WWE could drag the feud out until WrestleMania, but that is still two months away, and by then the feud will be nearly five months old. 

WWE has done a great job making both Orton and Barrett look credible in the feud, as each man has gotten the better of the other several times. 

Here's a breakdown of the Orton vs. Barrett feud: 

  • Nov. 11, Smackdown: Barrett beats Orton with a roll up after a thumb to the eye 
  • Nov. 20, Survivor Series: Barrett pins the Viper, after using Wasteland, to win the traditional five-on-five match for his team at Survivor Series.
  • Dec. 18, TLC: Orton defeats Barrett in a tables match with an RKO, catching a leaping Barrett in midair and driving him through a table. 
  • Dec. 19, Raw: Barrett avenges his TLC loss by slamming Orton through a table one night later. 
  • Dec. 23, Smackdown: Orton assaults Barrett backstage, capping it off with an RKO on top of a car. 
  • Dec. 30, Smackdown: Barrett throws Orton down a flight of stairs during a falls count anywhere match, putting the Viper out of action for a month. 
  • Jan. 27, Smackdown: Orton returns to attack Barrett two days before the Royal Rumble. Barrett escapes when several other superstars break up the brawl. Orton RKOs the other superstars for their trouble. 
  • Jan. 29, Royal Rumble: Orton, the No. 28 entrant, eliminates Barrett, the No. 26 entrant, from the Royal Rumble match. 

So, what will the WWE do next with these two?

Well, simply put, without a big blow-off match on a PPV, this feud will be quickly forgotten as the years go on, and that's a shame.

Because of the job the WWE writers have done, and because of the tremendous job Orton and Barrett have done, this feud deserves to be remembered among some of the best feuds of the past five years. 

However, because of Orton's injury, the timing of the feud was thrown off, leaving no time to build a one-on-one contest at the Royal Rumble, so the WWE will now have to work with what it's got. 

And with the way SmackDown's main-event scene is currently constituted, WWE really only has six choices with which to fill the five remaining spots in SmackDown's Elimination Chamber match (Daniel Bryan is a given in this scenario, as he is the reigning World Heavyweight Champion).

Those six choices are Cody Rhodes, Big Show, Mark Henry, Christian, Orton and Barrett. 

WWE likely wouldn't risk taking the star power out of the chamber match by removing Orton and Barrett, so this week's SmackDown match will likely be the major blow-off for this feud.