Randy Orton has been a hot topic in wrestling since he was slapped with a 60-day suspension. However, despite his issues with the wellness policy, it has been reported on Wrestlezone (via The Wrestling Observer) that Orton's star has not faded in WWE's eyes:
Despite speculation that he would be demoted following his 60 day suspension, The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Randy Orton is expected to be pushed back into the main event picture in WWE when he returns, as the company doesn't feel Sheamus is strong enough yet to carry the Smackdown brand as the top baby face.
I have no real issue with Orton getting a push; I actually enjoy his sinister, sadistic babyface character and I feel that he is massively over with the fans (despite his follies behind the scenes).
What I do have a problem with is the idea that Sheamus is not "strong enough...to carry the Smackdown brand" at this time.
First of all, it is not fair to judge Sheamus at this point in his main event, babyface career. No one immediately takes over the top spot on any show and sets the world on fire right away; let's not forget that, back in 2004, Orton himself was pushed as the top babyface champion on Raw and flopped in a big way. It took him years of honing his craft and perfecting his character to get to where he is.
Likewise, Sheamus has only been a babyface for around a year, and while he has not been Stone Cold Steve Austin he has been a revelation in his current role. He is over with the fans, he is an excellent big man worker, and if they give him time and really groom him he can be one of the faces of the company.
To pull the plug on him at this point—in favor of a perpetual screw-up like Orton, who is one strike away from dismissal—would be foolish, and would sabotage an already thin WWE roster. I would love to see Orton back and competing for the title, but by no means should WWE sacrifice Sheamus in order to do it.