Three Strikes and Then What: Does WWE Have the Mettle to Fire Orton?

Voodoo MagicSenior Analyst IMay 30, 2012

Is this man above the system?
Is this man above the system?Gallo Images/Getty Images

As you all have heard, the following story has just broken all over the Internet (via WWE):

"In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Randy Orton for 60 days effective today for his second violation of the company's policy."

My question is not what Orton did. Obviously, he did something wellness-related like marijuana, which wouldn’t be the first time. Or, it was one of those “I didn’t know the supplement had something banned” scenarios.

That is left to the experts.

My question is: if Orton gets one more wellness violation after this, does WWE have the balls to fire him?

The policy says three strikes—or as we’ve seen in cases of guys like Carlito and Umaga, two strikes and a refusal to get help—and you’re out of the company, no questions asked.

It would seem as though they are trying to instill a sense of fear, as well as pride in its performers, in saying that no one is safe.

Well, no one who isn’t important is safe.

Here’s the thing: Randy Orton is important. He is either the No. 2 or No. 3 babyface in WWE, after CM Punk and probably John Cena, and a guy the company really can’t afford to lose at this point.

He is an equally good babyface and heel—a guy who can carry the company if need be.

What happens if Randy Orton gets strike three? Do they stick to their guns and get rid of him?

Or, do they make a hush-hush exception for him, like they maybe did for guys like Kurt Angle and Jeff Hardy?

As you remember, those two were having serious issues. WWE told to basically clean it up and get it together, then we’ll talk.

Both ended up in TNA.

I don’t think WWE can afford to have Randy Orton end up in TNA. I don’t think that TNA and Impact will ever really overtake WWE, but if they were able to grab Randy Orton, I think things might start getting a little uncomfortable for WWE.

They would start to sweat, at least a little bit.

Best case scenario: if Randy was fired and went to Impact, WWE finally would get it together and start building up new stars to take his place.

Worst case: TNA gets a guy who has some mainstream marketability.

Remember, he can go by Randy Orton in TNA since that’s his real name and not a WWE trademark, who makes some noise over in the “other company.”

Many times in other sports, the biggest stars get special treatment.

As a personal example, when I coached football a few years back, we found out that we had a bullying problem in the locker room. We as coaches decided that, since we thought we know who was doing the bullying —and they weren’t impact guys—we’d out-and-out cut them as a show of how our “no bullying” policy really worked.

Then, we found out the guy doing the bullying was our biggest star. The problem was swept under the rug.

Does the same thing happen with Orton?

Does he get a "come to Jesus" meeting with Vince and HHH and the powers that be, telling him that he will be monitored so they don’t have a public relations disaster on their hands?

If he messes up again, do they pin the blame on someone else?

“I swear, Randy might have smoked the weed but it was…uhh…Alex Riley who pushed it on him!  Suspension for Riley!”

Or do they take the three strike rule seriously and make an example out of one of their biggest stars?