Judging by his appearance and the way he slowly strides into the ring, Randy Orton looks as if he is sleepwalking.
Orton’s distractors may go as far as to say he has been sleepwalking his way through the last few weeks, biding his time. They may be closer to the truth than we realize.
Ever since he returned from a shoulder injury—and possibly long before that—the Viper has not looked like he has been enjoying his work. His recently-concluded feud with Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett did not exactly set the woods on fire in entertainment value.
The clean loss he had to Barrett on last Monday’s Raw did nothing to disprove that Orton is in some type of a funk. His appearance with Team Hell No in a six-man tag team match on SmackDown was about as uncomfortable as sleeping on a bed of cacti.
Orton has tried to make us believe he is enjoying his work. He poses for the crowd when he enters the ring and when he wins a match.
But every top-notch wrestler does that. Orton is no different.
He has vowed to win the main event match next weekend at WWE Royal Rumble 2013. But that is nothing earth-shattering. Everyone who enters that match vows the same thing.
Maybe Orton is bored with his job. It happens to everyone. But not many people who are bored with their jobs show it in front of tens of thousands in an arena and millions more at home.
When you get bored, you bide your time waiting for the next challenge.
That is exactly what Orton is doing now.
He is waiting for many things. He’s waiting for the trigger to be pulled on the long-anticipated heel turn. He is waiting for the new storylines that will accompany the heel turn.
He might be a little off-kilter at this stage on the road to WrestleMania 29. But we all know how vipers like to throw off their potential prey.
They will coil up, be quiet and wait for the right moment to hit their prey. When that moment is right, it is lethal for the prey.
The right moment might come at Royal Rumble. Or it might be at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view next month. Heck, it might even happen at WrestleMania 29.
But it will happen.
Orton may not win the Royal Rumble main event. But he can make things very rough for whoever gets in his way.
He has battled Kane, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio in the past but under different circumstances. Orton was in the babyface corner.
The new feuds, if they do come, would give heel Orton the freedom to do just what he did when he was on his worst behavior. Who knows—the skull punts may come back in a big way.
Right now, Orton definitely is in the coil-up stage. Just wait until the strike comes.
And when it does, it will be bad for the rest of the WWE roster.
When it comes to bad, Randy Orton is good.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.