WWE: The Return of Randy Orton has Changed the Entire Product

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIJanuary 21, 2009

After Randy Orton sustained a real life broken collarbone in a match against Triple H at One Night Stand last June, the WWE would experience a drought of quality programming for months.

Even with stars like John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Batista, and CM Punk, Monday Night Raw could no longer carry itself with the quality once expected of the WWE's flagship program.

This was due in part to poor booking and average storytelling, but the real reason Raw took a hit was the absence of their most versatile star, Randy Orton.

When Orton returned, he set of a chain of events that has had a monumental impact upon the entire Raw program as a whole.

I will count down the events that have proven to be both important and significant since Randy Orton made his return last September:

1)    CM Punk loses the World Heavyweight Championship

I guess Punk should not have tempted the Legend Killer. After only one night of disrespect, Orton punted CM Punk's future right out of his skull.

Chris Jericho would go on to win the World Heavyweight Championship that night.

2)    Randy Orton becomes a "Soul Survivor" for a record 4th time:

With the unintentional aid of Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton managed to hit Batista with a devastating RKO to claim victory for his team at Survivor Series.

3)     The Formation of The Legacy:

With twists and turns happening every week for months, Orton had finally managed to compile an elite group of mult-generation Superstars that have evolved under his leadership and become a true force in the WWE.

4)    The destruction of Batista:

After over a month of feuding, Randy Orton decided to put an end to Batista in the only way he knew how.

His Legacy took out John Cena and Orton destroyed what was left of The Animal.

After nailing him with the RKO he punted the consciousness out of Batista and we have not seen him since. Don't expect to see him back on WWE programming for a long time either.

5)    The Evolution of The Legacy:

Randy Orton saw the need for his group to evolve. He accomplished this by eliminating the inferior components and bringing Ted DiBiase into the mix.

6)     The Legend of Vince McMahon Killed:

Last week on Raw, Chris Jericho left the arena in utter humiliation around the time of 11:05 when Raw goes off the air.

As he was leaving, Randy Orton's music hit. He insulted Stephanie McMahon and refused to apologize to Vince.

When Mr. McMahon threatened to fire him, Orton's anger erupted as he slapped Vince McMahon and as he fell to his knees, Orton punted the life out of him.

Mr. McMahon was taken out of the arena on a stretcher. Going over ten minutes past airtime was a brilliant move to sell the reality of this angle.

So, as you can see, Randy Orton is on the brink of a monumental push. I have not seen the likes of this kind of momentum in years and it should be real interesting to see what happens at the Royal Rumble.