At this point, it seems as though most WWE fans are in agreement that Randy Orton would benefit greatly from a heel turn. If the creative team decides to go through with a change at WrestleMania XXIX, however, it should not lead to The Viper being revealed as the leader of The Shield.
The Shield has made life miserable for Orton over the past few months, so it is no surprise that he is in line to face Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns at 'Mania. In all likelihood, Orton will team up with Sheamus and Big Show, as they have been targets of the young trio as well.
Orton and Sheamus chose Ryback as their partner on SmackDown, but there is something more to Ryback's feud with Mark Henry. With that in mind, Ryback will almost certainly bow out, which will lead to Big Show taking his spot. Orton and Sheamus neglected to pick Big Show because of their past issues with him, but it is inevitable that they will join forces with Big Show in an effort to vanquish The Shield by hook or by crook.
Since The Shield remains undefeated as a group and is coming off a huge win over Sheamus, Ryback and John Cena at Elimination Chamber, all signs point to them winning at WrestleMania as well. Logically, Big Show could cost his team the match since he is a heel and will have his own agenda. In order to truly make an impact, though, Orton should cost his team the match or snap after it ends.
Orton was once one of the biggest stars in the WWE—he still is from a popularity standpoint. But he hasn't had a singles match for a world title since Hell in a Cell 2011. Both the stagnancy of Orton's character and a 60-day wellness policy violation last summer have contributed to that. Orton has bided his time for long enough, and it is time for the WWE to do something of significance with him before his star fades beyond recognition.
The best way to do that is for him to go crazy following a loss to The Shield. He can RKO both Sheamus and Big Show before walking away and setting the stage for a major character transformation. Having Orton turn heel and join The Shield is obviously a possibility, but Orton would be much better off turning heel and ceasing all involvement with the group.
My big issue with The Viper potentially joining The Shield is the fact that the group has beaten him down for months. There have been some cases in the past where a superstar has been dominated so thoroughly by someone else that they eventually decided to join forces with that person, but it is a lazy booking strategy and I'd rather not see it come to fruition.
Also, The Shield simply doesn't need a leader. I have personally seen fans say on multiple occasions that Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns should answer to a higher power of some sort, but it isn't necessary. Essentially every heel stable of all time has had a definite leader, so it is refreshing to watch The Shield operate, as it is made up of three equals who share the common bond of bringing justice to the WWE.
Orton joining the group would put the up-and-coming stars on the back burner, and that isn't the proper way to go about building them up. Each Shield member is strong in the ring and capable on the mic, so it isn't as if an alpha male is needed. If Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns continue on their current path and build themselves into high-level guys on the roster, then it will resonate more with the fans than if someone else leads them there.
If Orton were to join The Shield, it would remind me a lot of Bully Ray being the leader of Aces & Eights. Plenty of wrestling fans have applauded TNA's decision to make Bully Ray the president of the group, and I can see why. Bully is a top heel and he finally brings some credibility to Aces & Eights. But at the same time, there are inconsistencies present.
Bully Ray fought Aces & Eights for the better part of a year and attacked his own guys as recently as Lockdown, which is the event that saw him reveal himself as a member. It made absolutely no sense for Bully to brawl with his own stablemates for as long as he did, and the same would be true of Orton if he ultimately joins The Shield.
When push comes to shove, The Viper needs to go back to what made him popular in the first place, and that is being a cold-hearted heel. That alone should be enough to make him interesting again. He doesn't need any help from The Shield, and The Shield clearly doesn't need him either.