As of late, it appears to me as if The Legacy has taken a lot of heat due to the ways in which the characters of Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase are being impacted by Randy Orton's push. The opinion by some being that Randy Orton is holding them down while they could be doing much more on their own.
I respectfully disagree.
As a matter of fact, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase are better off then they ever have been and are becoming the beneficiaries of something more priceless than most people realize.
Credibility by association.
That is not to say that these two young men are not talented. It's not to say that they wouldn't otherwise have solid potential. My point being, what Randy Orton is doing for them is in reality, helping Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase far more than their physical support of Orton is helping him.
It's easy to sit back and watch a regular episode or Monday Night Raw and think that Randy Orton is taking advantage of the two men. Seeing them get beat down in Orton's defense apparently leaves some people with the questionable feeling that such character usage is holding them back while Randy Orton somehow reaps the benefits.
That however, couldn't be further from the truth.
You must understand, The Legacy is a heel-stable that functions just as it should. It is traditional for the heel-leader of the group to allow his underlings to take the brunt of the punishment in an effort to better protect himself. This was frequently seen being done my JBL towards his Cabinet, Edge with his Familia, and most certainly with Triple H and his Evolution.
Randy Orton is no less credible and no less capable of defending himself in the wake of Legacy's creation. He's simply playing the role of what a heel group-leader is supposed to do. In the same way the he would back down from a confrontation or attack only at opportune times during the days in which he was a singles competitor.
More importantly than any of this is the actual development of the entire stable. It appears as if many people are under the impression that The Legacy is either under-achieving and/or that Randy Orton is the only member to be reaping any benefits.
This too, is not the case.
The best example I could give would be the most obvious one, Evolution.
This Super-Stable was officially born on Feb. 3, 2003 on a segment of Raw in which Triple H officially introduced the group. Yet, both Randy Orton and Batista suffered legitimate injuries that same month and the group had to be put on hold.
Randy Orton recovered quicker than Batista and made his return on May 26, 2003 by attacking Shawn Michaels and Kevin Nash (two men who Triple H had been feuding with). So let's consider this the more official birth of Evolution as it was after this point that the stable would remain in-tact (Batista returned on October 20th later that year).
From May of 2003 when Randy Orton returned to join the group, not a single member of the group (besides their leader Triple H) captured a single championship of any kind until Armageddon 2003 on Dec. 14.
Which means that it was almost seven months before anyone in the stable besides Triple H captured any gold. As a matter of fact, the majority of those months were centered around Triple H either retaining or gaining the World Heavyweight Championship.
On Dec. 1, 2008, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Manu attacked John Cena. The following week, Orton proclaimed that "The Legacy is born". The more official incarnation of The Legacy wouldn't be born until the return of Ted DiBiase almost a month later.
Yet, even if you consider Dec. 1 to be the actual begining of the stable's birth, it has only been about four and a half months since that point in time. It's only been about three months that the stable has been active in their current incarnation.
Now, I'm no mathematician but it appears to me that if one were to use Evolution as the blueprint, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase still have another three to four months before they would even get a taste of championship gold.
Let me ask you this, where was Evolution three to four months after it's creation?
The only event of note that didn't include Triple H would be that Randy Orton participated in the 2003 Summerslam Elimination Chamber match. Orton was actually pinned before Triple H was even released from his chamber. Orton's role in that match was solely to protect the group leaders' World Heavyweight Championship, not to have any chance of even attempting to win it on his own.
Triple H's instruction to Randy Orton earlier in the night during Summerslam 2003 was no different than Randy Orton's instructions to Rhodes and DiBiase prior to the Royal Rumble. Randy Orton was not to win the match and it wasn't even an option for anyone besides Triple H t walk out of that chamber as the World Heavyweight Champion.
As a matter of fact, Rhodes and DiBiase being two of the final four participants in the Rumble match was more of a push for them than Randy Orton getting pinned in the Elimination Chamber was for him.
I also made the statement that Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase are better off now than they ever have been or ever would be under different circumstances.
I've heard the argument be made that since they were Tag Team Champions prior to their incorporation into The Legacy, them having held no championship gold since is apparently a mark of being held back.
This also, is simply not the case.
Rhodes and DiBiase were of the caliber to be Tag Team Champions before joining forces with Randy Orton, no question about it.
But not all Championship reigns are created equally. For instance, if they were to become Tag Team Champion in the near future, it would mean much more then when they were Tag Team Champions in the past.
In the same way that it meant much more for Randy Orton to be the Intercontinental Champion while being a member of Evolution, than it meant for William Regal to be Intercontinental Champion all by himself just recently.
Point being, the association with a power-stable is worth it's weight in gold in more ways than one.
So while Rhodes and DiBiase might not posses any championship gold and while they might not get much mic-time, they are still being pushed far more than they were during the time when they were champions and did get more mic-time.
Most importantly, they are becoming huge beneficiaries by association.
Randy Orton is a future Hall of Famer and arguably the top man in the business. The fact that Rhodes and DiBiase get to role with him, ride with him, and learn from him is of immeasurable value.
The same could be said of how Randy Orton's association with Triple H impacted his career immensely.
Randy Orton's association with Evolution had provided him a platform for which he could attain true superstardom. That was Triple H's real-life goal when he came up with the idea for Evolution and the same could potentially happen for Rhodes and DiBiase.
So while it might often appear that it is Randy Orton who is getting the majority of the value out of the deal, I argue that it happens to be the other way around.
Ask yourself this, where was Randy Orton prior to forming The Legacy?
He was main-eventing multiple Wrestlemanias, gathering solid singles victories over the likes of Triple H, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, John Cena, etc.
What were Rhodes and DiBiase doing before they joined forces with Randy Orton?
Feuding with the likes of Hardcore Holly, Jim Duggan, and Cryme Tyme.
The only exception being the very brief confrontation they had with John Cena and Batista but Cena and Batista capturing the Tag Team titles and later dropping them to Rhodes and DiBiase was solely for the purpose of the Cena/Batista rivalry.
Rhodes and DiBiase's victory over the two was circumstantial of being pawns within a much bigger rivalry and is therefore very different.
Yet after they joined forces with Randy Orton, we see them main-eventing Raw and Smackdown. Sometimes as a Tag-Team and sometimes individually. True, they might be being used more within a bigger rivalry that surrounds their leader, but that is no different from what Orton did during the early stages of Evolution.
For instance, Ted DiBiase's loss to Batista on Smackdown a few weeks ago and Cody Rhodes loss to Triple H on Raw last month was no different than instances like when Randy Orton lost to Goldberg during the height of his feud with Triple H.
So if Evolution has become the blueprint for how a power-stable should evolve, why are people complaining about the development of The Legacy?
The only difference I can see is the fact that Randy Orton is not the champion now where Triple H was during the early stages of Evolution. The difference however, is not the fault of Orton or the rest of Legacy.
If anything, let's credit Randy Orton for have the humility to be patient.
When John Cena came back from an injury that put him on the shelf for a little over three months, he became the World Heavyweight Champion on the night of his return.
When Edge came back from taking some time off for about four months, he became the WWE Champion on the first night of his return.
Meanwhile Randy Orton was out of action for longer than either one of them and has spent an additional eight months since his return without having any taste of championship gold.
During that same span, John Cena and Edge have both had two title reigns a piece since their return.
Don't criticize Randy Orton or The Legacy for being humble. They've certainly been pushed hard but they have also not received the same accolades as other Superstars have during the same period of time.
The Legacy is not falling behind, they are creeping up.
I'm not sure when destiny will happen but one thing is for certain, Randy Orton needs to become the WWE Champion.
That is the only reason why Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase don't hold championship gold themselves. The leader of the stable needs to be a champion or else the group would crumble. No different than when Hawkins and Ryder were Tag Team Champions while Edge had nothing.
Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase have been blessed by their association with Randy Orton. They will indeed have their date with destiny but they are going to have to wait in line. They must pay their dues just as Randy Orton once did.
Then and only then might they have the chance to one day evolve themselves.
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