Orton is one of the top three all-around performers in the WWE. Along with John Cena and CM Punk, he’s part of the WWE's staple guys.
So why is he in a match with Kane at the grandest stage of them all?
Orton kind of got left out of the shuffle in this year’s WrestleMania card. Yes, he’s going to be on the show. But the rivalry with Kane is forgettable, and the match itself will likely be forgettable.
If the WWE built its WrestleMania card in terms of top talent hogging the top matches, then every year the main event scene would feature John Cena, Triple H, Undertaker and Orton. The WWE does not build its card that way because it blocks the development of new wrestlers.
For some wrestlers, WrestleMania is the opportunity for them to show management they can carry a show. Look at Sheamus this year. The WWE has liked what they have seen in the development of Sheamus, so they put him over at the 2012 Royal Rumble. Now at WrestleMania 28, Sheamus will fight Daniel Bryan for the world heavyweight championship.
That leaves Orton without a title match at WrestleMania. Of course, it would be crazy to leave Orton off the WrestleMania card. He’s the viper. The legend killer. The heel that is cheered for by the crowd.
Unlike the Miz, who is currently absent from the WrestleMania card, the WWE was always going to find a spot for Orton on the biggest pay-per-view event of the year.
Even if it means that he has to fight Kane.
Kane is a future Hall of Famer. Throughout his career, he's accumulated 17 championships. He's been involved in some of the biggest storylines in the history of the WWE, including the Brothers of Destruction and the unmasking of his character. He's earned the right to fight at WrestleMania every year until he retires.
But the Kane of today is not the Kane of the past. He's basically Umaga at this point in his career—the big, scary wrestler that beats up on the little guy but always loses at the pay-per-view match.
Kane has always been a wrestler that, to a degree, could overcome his crazy gimmick. Getting over with a ridiculous gimmick like Kane or Undertaker is extremely hard, especially in today's wrestling scene. With the return of the masked Kane, the gimmick may be too much.
Kane's recent rivalry with John Cena was especially phony, even for a storyline involving either of the two. The core of the storyline was Kane trying to get Cena to "embrace the hate" from Cena's critics. Kane failed, of course. It was a storyline that was purposely meant to warm the seat for The Rock vs. Cena.
That's what Kane is now. He's a seat-warmer. The wrestler that is always involved in transition storyline for another wrestler. He was the transition for Cena to lead into the Rock, and now he's Orton's transition between title match opportunities.
The Randy Orton vs. Kane match is largely a waste of time because it's a waste of talent. Orton is too good to be wasted in a forgettable storyline with a limited, big wrestler. The Miz vs. Orton would have arguably been a more intriguing storyline.
Kane vs. Mark Henry would have been better suited because it was Henry that took Kane out of action for months this past year. Orton would have been a nice addition to the Sheamus vs. Bryan match.
A Triple threat match would have given the heavyweight championship match more attention, instead of clearly taking a back seat to the WWE championship match between Jericho and Punk.
Kane is what he is at this point. Wrestlers get old. They may still look like the old guy you used to love, but their intimidating physique and skills slowly start to vanish. Kane had a nice run. He's been a prominent wrestler in the WWE for over 15 years.
He deserves to fight at WrestleMania, just like old Ric Flair deserved to fight at WrestleMania. Just not in match against someone like Orton, who could have been better utilized at what is shaping up to be the biggest WrestleMania of all time.