Randy Orton Suspended Again: Breaking Down a Bad Year Gone Worse
Randy Orton's most recent suspension has sent an abnormally busy news cycle as familiar problems outside of the ring for the embattled top star have managed to take precedent over high-profile lawsuits and suspensions.
After once again violating the WWE's health and wellness policy, Orton has achieved the rarefied yet unenviable air of a WWE superstar who has suffered multiple 60 day suspensions.
Orton's latest violation brings into question the WWE's already questionable heath and wellness code of conduct, as this is technically Orton's third violation with his most controversial infraction coming during the infamous Signature Pharmacy scandal.
Then, Orton was already serving a suspension for a separate wellness-related offense, and was therefore protected by a curious and largely unprecedented double-jeopardy rule.
But Orton's ballooning health and wellness issues are just part of what seems to be a career that has suddenly entered a violent decline.
Following a triple threat win over former Legacy members Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania XXVI, Orton seemed to be a no-brainer as the Randy Savage to John Cena's Hulk Hogan.
Fans were tired of booing him. They were still tired of Cena.
They wanted change, and Orton was supposed to give it to them.
After being drafted to SmackDown only to fizzle out as an awkward top babyfae, Orton has not managed to recapture the magic that made him a perennial world champion.
Given his unfavorable position in the pecking order as of late, things don't look to be getting any better anytime soon.
Orton Loses to Kane at WrestleMania XXVIII
After being knocked down a peg following a pair of decisive losses to Mark Henry late in 2011, Orton had not been anywhere near the world title picture headed into WrestleMania season.
Orton found himself as the odd man out during a memorable WrestleMania season highlighted by big names including the Rock, John Cena, Triple H, the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.
Orton would eventually be paired with a returning Kane as the two were forced into a storyline that few cared about.
With Orton slipping further away from world title contention with every passing day, Kane inexplicably defeated Orton during a very weak first hour of WrestleMania XXVIII, thus snapping Orton's two-year WrestleMania win streak.
Randy Orton Pulled from the Marine Due to Sketchy Past with USMC
Anybody who watched Randy Orton's Evolution of a Predator DVD knows that Randy Orton's story is one of redemption.
Unfortunately, redemption is hardly a remedy for a shady past.
Orton was set to play the lead role in the latest installment of WWE's The Marine franchise, but plans were quickly scrapped after outrage ensued from the United States Marine Corps, where Orton was dishonorably discharged in 1999 after going AWOL twice during a tumultuous stint with the Marines.
The Miz has since been announced as Orton's replacement.
Randy Orton's Feud with Chris Jericho Scrapped Due to Jericho Suspension
In a precursor of things to come for Orton, a feud with Chris Jericho was suddenly put on hold after Jericho was shockingly suspended following the flag-gate incident in Brazil.
A feud with Jericho could have been pivotal in getting Orton back on track as Jericho has spent his most recent stint with the WWE doing jobs to anybody capable of executing a pinfall.
With Jericho's summer tour with Fozzy looming, it is very likely that Orton could have benefited from Jericho's impending exit by (storyline) taking him out of commission like he did during Jericho's previous run with the WWE.
This was not to be with Jericho currently serving a 30-day suspension. Jericho's replacement was heavily rumored to be Dolph Ziggler, which is a clear step down for Orton especially after his star power had significantly dimmed during similar feuds with younger, midcard talent.
Randy Orton's Signature Punt Reportedly Banned by WWE
You know it's not your year when even your finishers are getting suspended.
This was exactly the case with Orton as he revealed on Twitter that his patented punt to the head had been banned by the WWE due to "concussion awareness."
Orton's punt had been instrumental in getting him over as a top star and was used as a go-to move whenever the WWE needed to write a high-profile superstar out of a storyline. Without the punt, Orton's sinister, borderline-psychotic character loses its edge.
Randy Orton Suspended for 60-Days Due to Repeat Wellness Violation
Randy Orton's latest suspension comes just days after Orton seemed to be destined for no-man's land yet again.
With Jericho gone, Orton looked to be on a collision course with Dolph Ziggler in a feud that ran the risk of being a "crash and burn" for Orton's sputtering career.
Orton's aforementioned wellness violation has resulted in the scrapping of yet another one of his feuds. Despite the dark clouds that continue to follow Orton around, thus compromising his once-triumphant story of redemption, Orton's 60-day suspension could serve as a blessing in disguise.
With the WWE set to go enter an ill-advised era where RAW will permanently move to three hours star power is now few and far between with CM Punk and John Cena the only bona fide stars in the company (although Daniel Bryan is currently on the rise).
The WWE's lingering depth issues will make every week a struggle even before RAW goes into marathon mode, making Randy Orton's return an occasion that can't come soon enough.