Over the past year, Randy Orton has struggled greatly to remain relevant in WWE. His once-high profile has plummeted thanks to loss after loss on television and pay-per-view.
It feels like the company knows it has to keep him around, but just doesn’t want to do anything meaningful with him. He comes off as a total afterthought these days.
It would be nice to think that this situation will change soon, and that Orton will return to the SmackDown title picture, but—frankly—it probably won’t. As of now, it doesn’t look like the star has any real future in WWE.
It’s strange to think that, at the age of only 32, Orton has peaked in the company, but it sure looks that way.
The real problem facing WWE if it decides to push Orton again is the fact that, following his high-profile suspension for violating the company’s drug policy last May, he now has two strikes against his name.
He gets another and he’s gone, per the rules.
With this in mind, no one can be too surprised that WWE doesn’t want make him a centre-piece of the show once again. It simply can’t rely on him anymore.
Come on; how bad would it make the company look if he failed a drug test while WWE Champion and it was forced to fire him?
For his part, Orton doesn’t seem to be as invested in wrestling as he once was. Oh, his wrestling is fine—even great, on occasion—but for the most part he seems bored out there. He’s been booked badly, sure, but that doesn’t excuse his own apathy.
His promos and interviews lately have also been flat and one-dimensional. People may trash the mic-work guys like John Cena and Sheamus, but at least they’ve proven they can be versatile and do different things, like comedy and drama. Orton can’t really get beyond being a stoic, permanently disgruntled babyface.
He may also have caught the acting bug, going by his starring role in WWE Studios’ upcoming action movie 12 Rounds: Reloaded. Hey, he wouldn’t be the first person to attempt to parlay wrestling success into a viable acting career, would he?
Of course, things may not be that bleak. Who knows what will happen in the future?
Hey, Orton is as over with the fans as ever at a time when WWE is struggling to churn out popular babyfaces. The company might decide this alone makes him worth another investment.
He is currently feuding with top heels The Shield, after all. So, WWE hasn't totally forgotten about him.
A potential heel turn could also revitalise his ailing career and return him to prominence.
Despite these glimmers of hope, though, it’s difficult to escape the feeling that, after a decent run, Orton has done all he will do in the company. And, honestly, as much as we may like to pin the blame on WWE, this is really down to Orton and no one else.