Randy Orton wants to turn heel.
As much as Orton seems to be campaigning to once again be a bad guy, I’ve got to go against the grain and say it: He should remain a babyface.
While I, like many others, do indeed think that Orton is a great heel and, at least in some ways, is better in that role, it simply isn’t the time for him to turn. Not yet.
As the F4WOnline.com report says, “The plan has been for Orton to turn once Sheamus was popular enough to carry SmackDown on his own.” I don’t even know that this makes all that much sense.
If you watch Raw and/or SmackDown on a consistent basis, you know that Sheamus has received a massive push over the last year or so, that he hardly ever loses and that he’s undoubtedly one of the top four or five most popular stars in the WWE. I think he’s peaking in terms of his popularity, and I’m not sure that he’ll ever get more over than he currently is.
Even if Sheamus does surprise us all and continue to get more and more over, turning Orton heel is still going to result in one big problem: A clear lack of top babyfaces.
Sheamus is already a top babyface, but besides him, it’s pretty much just John Cena (and Orton, of course) and then a very steep drop-off to the next tier of babyfaces. Who will be in that third spot if Orton goes bad?
The WWE clearly wants it to be Ryback, but I certainly have my doubts about that. Ultimately, I think Daniel Bryan’s current storyline with Kane is going to result in him emerging as a huge babyface who could fill that No. 3 slot and be a full-time main eventer going forward.
Still, an Orton turn makes the WWE even more heel-heavy than it already is. After CM Punk recently turned heel, the list of the WWE’s top stars is dominated by heels, as it usually tends to be.
Should Orton turn heel, we’d have Orton, Punk, Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett, The Miz, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow and potentially guys like Antonio Cesaro at the top of the heel hierarchy.
But on the face side?
You’d have Sheamus and Cena, followed by a rather big gap between the Celtic Warrior and whoever slides in at No. 3 (Ryback or Bryan, most likely) as well as guys like Kane, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio in the upper midcard.
Perhaps that’s why you often hear people in the wrestling world say it’s much easier to be a heel than it is to be a babyface. After all, it’s much more difficult to get people to like you than it is to get them to hate you.
That’s more evident in the WWE than it is anywhere else, and if Orton decides that he wants the fans to start hating him again, then the WWE is going to have even fewer guys who are genuinely liked by the vast majority of the fans.
While I’m sure Orton will continue to campaign for a heel turn because, quite frankly, he seems to just be coasting by as a babyface, turning “The Viper” heel is about more than just Orton. It’s about a heel/face balance that often isn’t very balanced at all.
Turning Orton is just going to exacerbate the problem and keep the same trend going that we’ve seen over the last few years: a boatload of top-level heels who don’t have enough babyface counterparts to feud with.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!