Heading into WrestleMania 29, some wondered if a heel turn was in the cards for “The Viper.” Indeed, watching the opening six-man tag team match myself, I was half expecting Orton to turn on Sheamus and The Big Show, revealing himself to be the higher power behind The Shield.
Sadly, it didn’t happen, and Orton remains stuck in the same aimless midcard babyface role he was in before. Oh, and now he’s in a dreadful feud with The Big Show over a misunderstanding in Sunday’s tag team match.
Hey, if you want to witness genuine proof of how much Orton’s stock has fallen over the past year, check out the now-infamous Orton/Sheamus match from earlier this week. The loud, hilarious N.J. crowd seemingly chanted for everyone and everything but the two men in the ring during the lengthy bout. And when Big Show—the despicable heel, remember—came out to attack both men, fans amusingly chanted “Thank You, Big Show.”
What a debacle.
Of course, you could argue that the crowd was acting up the whole night, and so it doesn’t indicate anything. But come on, they were particularly scathing towards those two. It has to mean something—and whatever it is, it probably doesn’t bode well for Orton.
At this point, the WWE needs to cut its losses with him as a face and turn him heel right away. In fact, they should have done it at WrestleMania. Who knows why the company refrained from doing so?
Did they perhaps feel it was far too obvious? Or did they not want to dilute the idea of The Shield as “outsiders” by adding Orton into the mix?
Of course, Orton doesn’t have to be aligned with The Shield to turn heel, he can just claim he got sick of being a nice guy.
It also helps that as a heel, he has way more viable feuds.
He could battle Sheamus in a lengthy program—although the negative reaction to their singles match on Monday may call into question whether anyone truly wants to see those two face off—or perhaps Alberto Del Rio, who desperately needs a good heel opponent if he’s going to get over as the top babyface that the WWE wants him to be.
It’s also possible that the WWE could keep him face and feud with new World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler.
It wouldn’t be ideal—Orton really does need a heel turn—but he’ll be in a better position than he was. And, besides, those two do have a great history of churning out great matches together.
As he heads into the summer of 2013, Orton desperately needs a character change or one great program to turn things around. Let’s hope the WWE helps him before he falls even further down the card.