WWE: With Chris Jericho Suspended, Where Does This Leave Randy Orton?

Graham GSM MatthewsFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2012

Chris Jericho ambushes Randy Orton on Raw. (Courtesy of WWE.com)
Chris Jericho ambushes Randy Orton on Raw. (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Upon Chris Jericho's shocking return to WWE earlier this year, the one person I hoped to see Y2J confront was none other than Randy Orton. Of course, this rivalry didn't immediately come to fruition due to Jericho's chase for the WWE Championship going into WrestleMania 28 against CM Punk, where he evidently came out unsuccessful.

If you can recall, Orton was the reason why Jericho was removed from television back in September 2010 when the then-WWE Champion delivered a vicious punt to the skull of Jericho. Y2J wasn't heard from since, that is until his eventual return on the premiere Raw edition of 2012.

With both Orton and Jericho involved in the World Heavyweight Championship picture as of late, my hopes of seeing the two icons reignite their rivalry grew higher. They even contested in a singles match together for the first time in nearly two years when they battled on Raw a few weeks ago, where the commentators surprisingly acknowledged the past history between Orton and Jericho.

Once rumors began circulating that Jericho could be departing the company sooner rather than later, the chances of seeing them finally feud one-on-one grew slimmer. However, on an edition of Raw following the Over the Limit pay-per-view, Jericho attacked Orton during his match with Alberto Del Rio, foreshadowing the feud I've been long awaiting.

Unfortunately, all that came crashing down when it was announced yesterday via WWE.com that Chris Jericho has been suspended for the next 30 days. This stems from an international incident that took place in Brazil on Thursday evening, where Jericho denigrated a Brazilian flag in an attempt to garner heel heat.

While some speculate the entire suspension is just a "work" to get Jericho off television while he tours with Fozzy for the summer, it still means that we won't be seeing Orton and Jericho square off anytime soon, regardless.

That being said, this leaves an important question waiting to be answered: Where does this leave Randy Orton?

Although we're approaching only the second week of the build to next month's No Way Out event, most of the top Superstars are already locked into rivalries. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are battling over the WWE title, John Cena is now feuding with Big Show and Alberto Del Rio looks to contend for the World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus.

The depth of the SmackDown roster is at its weakest at the moment, with top stars such as Wade Barrett and Mark Henry out with injuries. While Kane may be free of an angle at the moment, he and Randy battled numerous times earlier this year, so reigniting that feud so soon would feel repetitive.

As I look through the roster, the only true threat to Orton would be Tensai, but a feud between those two is a bit far-fetched at this point. Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and The Miz have all been reduced to glorified jobbers in recent months, so none of them would be likely opponents for the man formerly known as the Legend Killer.

An Orton-Sheamus feud seemed to be foreshadowed while on the road to Over the Limit, so the most logical explanation would include Orton entering the World title match at No Way Out to make it a Triple Threat match. But since they just competed in a Fatal 4-Way last Sunday, removing one Superstar from the equation wouldn't be making all that much of a difference.

I'd love to think that WWE could bring back Jericho this coming week and forget the Brazilian incident ever happened, but that scenario isn't too likely, either. Unless WWE plans on pushing a younger talent to face Orton at No Way Out, management must think fast in order to include the Viper on the card.

Hopefully, Orton and Jericho can pick up where they left off when the inaugural Undisputed Champion inevitably returns to television, but they need a plan for the time being that can keep Orton occupied. There are limited possibilities as to who can fill Jericho's spot in his feud against Orton, so it will certainly be interesting as to how they go about filling it.

What do you believe will happen to Randy Orton now that Chris Jericho is out of the picture?

Drop a comment below with your thoughts on the situation and what's in store for both Superstars over the course of the next month. As always, your criticism and overall feedback of my latest piece is welcomed and greatly appreciated.

GSM out.


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