2012 was somewhat of a fall from grace for Randy Orton, but it looks like 2013 will see Orton making a heel turn that could very well get his career back on track. It's been a few years since Orton turned babyface and there are plenty of exciting feud prospects for a heel Apex Predator.
After Orton was pinned cleanly by Dolph Ziggler at Survivor Series, reports circulated that it was part of his heel turn. Two months later, similar information came out after Orton suffered a loss to Wade Barrett on Raw's 20th anniversary.
With WrestleMania XXIX mere months away, it's likely that we'll see a heel turn sometime very soon. Here are six feuds for a malevolent Randy Orton in 2013.
This one is high on the list because it’s quite likely that we'll see it happen over the next few months.
While 2012 was not a friendly year to Randy Orton, Sheamus was one of the year's biggest winners. Of all the Superstars in WWE, in 2012 Sheamus wrestled the most matches and had the best win/loss record. Factor in his lengthy 210-day reign as World Heavyweight champion and it's evident that the machine is behind Sheamus in a big way.
Sheamus has effectively taken Randy Orton’s spot as the face of SmackDown, so there would be no more appropriate opponent for Orton to direct his venom at in 2013.
A feud between the two would also help Sheamus out, who needs to be less of a joke-cracking funny guy (especially because he’s not very funny) and more of a brutish brawler. A rivalry with the cold, manipulative Randy Orton could help develop Sheamus’ character in the right way.
In 2012, Daniel Bryan became one of the most absurdly lovable characters on WWE’s roster. He’s one of the most over stars in the company and has become remarkably well-rounded as a performer.
2012 saw Daniel Bryan playing a conventional babyface, an arrogant and manipulative champion, an aggressive submission specialist and a goofy funny-man.
While the range is impressive, after he breaks up with Kane he needs to be less goofy and more dangerous.
Heel Orton can bring that out of him. Heel Orton can play with Bryan’s emotions and bring out the anger within him. Of course, Bryan currently plays a character that struggles to manage his anger. Pairing him with Orton, however, could bring out his anger in a way that makes him look tough rather than comedic.
A feud between the two could solidify Daniel Bryan as a top babyface and Randy Orton as a top heel.
If Christian weren’t recovering from a shoulder injury he would be a terrific catalyst for an Orton heel turn.
WWE could run the same program between the two that it did in 2011, only with the roles reversed.
Have Orton finally win back a World championship, only for Christian to marginally best him for it in a competitive match. After being beaten two or three times, Orton snaps and reverts back to his more sinister self.
The reason why this feud would be great is the matches. The rivalry these two had in 2011 dragged on a little story-wise, but their matches were consistently stellar.
Rumor is that Vince doesn’t see Christian as the type to carry a World championship (via WrestleZone.com). That’s crazy of course, but if that’s the way it is, these two could still have a compelling rivalry without the involvement of a title.
Christian is a huge asset when used meaningfully and he’s built a strong relationship with audiences in the 15-plus years he’s been in the industry. Fans are sure to be emotionally involved in a menacing Orton preying on a babyface Christian.
These two had a relatively brief and uninspiring feud back in 2006, but so much has changed since then.
Back then Orton was a promising young talent who still had quite a few kinks to work out. Now he’s a veteran that knows who he is as a character and who can reflect that in his graceful ring work.
Mysterio seems to always be injured or otherwise preoccupied. He’s gained a bit of weight but he can still go in the ring, so this rivalry needs to happen soon or never.
Pairing Mysterio and Orton will achieve several things: WWE can squeeze one of Mysterio’s last meaningful feuds out of him, Orton can easily use Mysterio to get over as a heel, and we’ll likely get some great matches out of it.
Ryback is similar to Sheamus in that we know from his year in 2012 that the WWE machine is behind him. Unless Vince suddenly gets bored of him like he did Tensai, it seems that Ryback will be a top star moving forward.
Despite that, he’s still a very new character, and one that needs some more depth. Putting Ryback in a situation where he’ll need more than simple brute force to overcome adversity will be beneficial to his character. Putting him in a feud with the manipulative and cunning Viper can do that.
There is an issue in that Ryback is a little hard to book since he sort of needs to win. For that reason, this rivalry should happen later in the year after Orton has already been re-established as a top heel.
A program between these two could lead to some entertaining TV, and surely Orton’s years of experience would rub off on Ryback and he’d lift his game in the ring, as he did during his rivalry with Punk.
Although many, including myself, complain when Cena is consistently thrust to the top of the card, there’s still one WrestleMania main event that should've happened that strangely hasn’t but needs to: John Cena vs. Randy Orton.
Orton has feuded a few times with Cena over the years. Their most notable rivalry was in 2009 and helped solidify Orton has the No. 2 guy in the company (as well as his feud with HHH earlier in the year).
A Cena vs. Orton WrestleMania main event that saw them both performing as babyfaces could be epic, similar to how spectacular Austin vs. Rock at WrestleMania X7 was, but it’s far too late for that.
That doesn’t mean that heel Orton vs. babyface Cena wouldn’t work, though, as that could still be a fitting main event to the show of shows.
Enough time has passed since 2009 that a rivalry between the two would feel fresh, and it would no doubt propel Orton back into the main event scene where he belongs.