Since returning from a two-month wellness policy violation suspension a few weeks ago, Randy Orton hasn't really been able to find his groove in the WWE.
As of right now, it appears as though he won't be on Sunday's SummerSlam card. While I don't agree with that, he shouldn't be in the main-event scene, either.
When he's on the straight and narrow, there is no doubt that Orton is a top-three superstar in terms of popularity and crowd reaction. Orton has already tested positive twice, however, and one more slip-up will result in him losing his job.
With that in mind, the WWE has to tread very carefully when it comes to Orton.
Although he's a guy that the company would normally want in a high-profile feud, it would look extremely bad if he had to be fired in the middle of an important angle because of his carelessness.
It may not be the popular opinion, but I feel like the WWE made the right decision keeping him out of the World Heavyweight Championship picture considering the fact that he only has one strike left.
At the same time, the company did drop the ball a bit by leaving him off the card. There is a tailor-made feud sitting there for Orton with the Intercontinental Champion, The Miz.
Not only did Orton RKO Miz before both took their respective leaves of absence, but Miz was given the lead role in The Marine 3 over Orton, and that could have been mentioned in a potential storyline.
Instead, the creative team is pitting Rey Mysterio against Miz even though they don't really have much of a story between them.
Mysterio easily could have been added to the World Heavyweight Championship match, making it a triple threat, while Orton could have assumed Mysterio's role and given the IC title a big bump by putting Miz over.
I understand that Orton being left off the card is likely punishment for the positive test, but I can't help but think it would have been better to punish him by having him lose to The Miz clean.
While it may have made Orton look a tad weak, it would have strengthened Miz in a big way after having him drop non-title contests to Mysterio and Kane.
Most fans will disagree with the notion that the WWE made the right move in not giving Orton a main-event slot, but he has to learn that he can't violate company policy and then expect to be a top guy the minute he comes back.
It may sound silly to say that a 32-year-old man needs to be taught a lesson, but Orton clearly doesn't get it, and the WWE had to prove a point.
The company went a little overboard by snubbing him completely, but I do feel like it sets a better precedent than having him chase the World Heavyweight Championship would have.
In fact, I have to give the WWE some credit for its discipline in some respects. It would have been very easy to put Orton in the world title match since Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio is failing, but the higher-ups stuck to their guns and sent a message.
Like it or not, the WWE is a PG product and it can't afford to have top guys getting suspended for drug abuse.
Not only will the younger viewers wonder why their favorite superstar is out of the picture for two months, but they'll be asking questions about it, and that ultimately won't reflect well on the WWE as a whole.
Orton is a main-event-caliber guy, and he should be back in that picture eventually as long as he remains clean, but now isn't the time.
Orton had been putting over some guys in the midcard before his suspension, and he should continue doing so for the foreseeable future.
A lot of up-and-comers would benefit from beating Orton, including someone like Dolph Ziggler, so that should be the focus moving forward.
As long as Orton proves to be a good solider and does everything that is asked of him, he should be put back at the top of the card.
Orton is incredibly popular and is one of the company's top in-ring workers, so it hurts to be without him in significant feuds, but Orton dug his own grave in this instance.
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