If you compiled a list of everything you wanted to see happen in the WWE in the near future, odds are that a Randy Orton heel turn would be at or near the top of it.
After rising to the top of the WWE as its biggest heel up until around 2009, Orton turned babyface in early 2010 and he’s been in that role ever since then. At least initially, it worked out really well for “The Viper,” too.
He quickly emerged as a top face in 2010. In 2011, he had one of the best years of his career. He won the World Heavyweight Championship twice, put on a fantastic feud and series of matches with Christian and developed into the face of SmackDown.
But over the last year-plus, Orton’s stock has dropped dramatically. He’s gone from undoubtedly being one of the top two or three stars in the company to being a forgotten superstar who often gets overlooked when it comes to the WWE’s biggest storylines.
The more that Orton has struggled as a face, the more that the fans have been begging to see him turn heel. This has turned all the “when will Orton turn heel?” talk into one of the most debated topics in all of pro wrestling.
But that may all come to an end soon because Orton’s heel turn has already begun.
Although the WWE has missed several golden opportunities to finally pull the trigger on Orton’s turn, that may actually pay off in the long run because Orton is now involved in a storyline that would serve as the perfect catalyst for his long-anticipated turn.
I know, I know—all this talk about Orton turning heel has gotten to be borderline ridiculous. But perhaps now the chatter will be worth it because the WWE has set the stage for the turn with Orton’s recent behavior.
No, Orton hasn’t done anything overly heel-like recently. And yes, he has been Mr. Babyface as of late. But that’s precisely why his heel turn is already beginning.
The best heel turns are the ones that have legitimate reasons behind them, and it’s clear that the WWE is using Orton’s partnership with Sheamus to give him those reasons. After all, Orton doesn’t “need” Sheamus, and Sheamus doesn’t “need” Orton.”
These are two of the top three or four babyfaces in the WWE, so why on Earth have they been paired together? So they can break up, that’s why.
Oftentimes in pro wrestling stables, tag teams or friendships are formed not because of the relationships themselves, but because of what will happen after those relationships end. All throughout pro wrestling’s history, many of the most intriguing storylines have come after a group or duo splits rather than before it happens.
The current angle involving Sheamus, Orton and Big Show isn’t exactly riveting, but it serves a very clear purpose in that it is building up the relationship, or friendship if you will, between Sheamus and Orton in order to later tear it down.
We often think that the WWE doesn’t plan out things in advance, but do you think it’s a coincidence that John Cena eliminated Ryback from the Royal Rumble and is now feuding with him for the WWE Championship? No, it was something that was planned out months in advance.
The same can be said about Orton’s heel turn.
Though the specifics surrounding “The Viper” transitioning back into a role as a villain may not always be the same, the goal will be. That is, of course, to use the relationship between Orton and Sheamus to turn Orton heel.
While not all relationships end this way, the signs are clearly there right now. Orton, who has never been someone that gets along well with others, is suddenly supposed to be a great teammate and do everything by the book? I’m not buying it.
The creative team may not always do everything with a very specific purpose, but there’s got to be more to this partnership between Sheamus and Orton than meets the eye. Otherwise, all it would be is a monumental waste of time.
It’s certainly possible that that will ultimately end up being the case, but if we’re going to give the WWE the benefit of the doubt here, we have to think that this sudden friendship is leading to something huge—likely an Orton heel turn.
Orton is just being too un-Orton-like lately. Unless the WWE wants him to turn into the next cookie cutter John Cena copycat, that has to change. The only way to make that happen is for Orton to turn heel.
But no worries. Thanks to Sheamus, that’s already in the works.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!