Randy Orton’s WWE career is in an interesting position.
Partly due to his second violation of the company’s wellness policy earlier this year, his future is precarious. Per the policy, if he fails one more test, they’ll be forced to fire him. With this in mind, it remains to be seen if WWE will be able to use him as a centrepiece of the company.
His babyface character has also grown stale in recent times. While his stoic, nice-guy character worked for a while—and provided a refreshing antidote to the cheesy, over-the-top comedy antics of Cena—he’s played the part for so long it now feels like he’s simply going through the motions on SmackDown and Raw. This is something which everyone—including Orton—is aware of. (Orton has even claimed on his official Twitter account that he’s desperate to turn heel).
He’s also been stuck in one boring feud after another this year. Come on, does anyone care at all about the seemingly-endless Alberto Del Rio/Orton feud?
There’s another potential issue. Orton recently filmed a straight-to-DVD action film 12 Rounds: Reloaded, WWE Studios’ sequel to 2009’s 12 Rounds. Directed by veteran filmmaker Roel Reine, the film marks Orton first leading role in a film and is due out in June 2013 (per the director’s Twitter).
Judging by how glowingly he’s spoken about the experience of filming 12 Rounds: Reloaded on his Twitter, Orton seems to have caught the acting bug. Is it possible Orton could decide that acting is simply less of a hassle than wrestling and leave WWE for Hollywood?
Hey, he wouldn’t be the first, would he? And with his good looks and physical presence, he has as much chance of making it as anyone.
So, on paper, things don’t look too good for Orton’s long term future in WWE.
It’s very possible that he’s had his day, and now it’s time for the company to move on with some new guys. (Judging by TV, the company is clearly eager for Sheamus to be SmackDown’s new top face). As noted, Orton’s heart may not truly be in it either. After all, having been on television for almost a decade and having won virtually every title going, what else is left for him to do?
At this point, the only highlight on the horizon may be a heel turn.
Such a development seems to be a distinct possibility, particularly after Orton’s loss to Dolph Ziggler at last Sunday’s Survivor Series pay-per-view. Orton could claim his team let him down and use that as the impetus for a heel turn. Or he can claim that being a nice guy for so long has gotten him nowhere and kept him out of the Smackdown title picture.
Such a turn would probably lead to him clashing with Sheamus in a one-on-one program for the first time, something that could greatly help both men’s careers and revamp the stale SmackDown brand.
In many ways, Randy Orton has indeed peaked in WWE. His outside-the-ring problems aside, he’s been on top for so long, it was probably inevitable. A heel turn may not reverse this permanently, but it should revive his career—in the short-term at least.