As a third generation wrestler, Randy Orton is in a class few other WWE superstars have ever been in. Maybe the only one who knows what the 33-year-old—born on April Fools Day, and yes, there is a joke there somewhere—is experiencing in life in wrestling besides his father, Bob Orton Jr., is The Rock.
The two have had many a war before over the WWE Title.
Even after he has been at war 11 years in the WWE, there is something still mysterious about “The Viper"—the fact that at any moment he could change personalities, jump from face to heel or surprise us all and win another world title.
That is Orton’s true value to this company. Versatility is key when you are essentially stuck in limbo, while other WWE superstars are passing you by.
No torch has been passed and no inclination has been given to Orton from the company that Orton Jr., his father, wrestled in before him and where he was known as one of the best shoot wrestlers of his time—and Orton Jr. is well past his prime.
But Randy Orton isn’t, and the WWE should capitalize on his greatness. With Extreme Rules about to commence in St. Louis—his own backyard—Orton deserves a better fate than facing Big Show as one of the midcard matches.
Less than two years ago, this was the guy who was carrying the torch for SmackDown, embroiled in feuds with Christian and then Mark Henry over the World Title.
Again, times change and service and commitment mean nothing in this business—especially when you were known as someone who was obstinate, hard to deal with and unrelenting in having your way.
Membership has its privileges. Orton has won 11 total championships in WWE, including being a nine-time world champion—having won the World Heavyweight Championship three times and the WWE Championship six times. He is also the winner of the 2009 Royal Rumble match.
When I see Orton, he reminds me of a younger Barry Windham—one who has so much talent that he may not realize how great he really is.
Windham and Orton did not cross paths in their careers. Windham did cross paths with his father in the NWA three decades ago.
Yes, Orton is that special—regardless of injuries, regardless of his attitude early on in his career.
Regardless of suspensions and repackaging his character over and over, Orton delivers. There are few—Kane, John Cena, CM Punk, Undertaker, Chris Jericho and others—who night-in and night-out give us exactly what we want to see. It is the only way he knows how to do it.
Underrated? Yes. Worth the stress at times? Certainly. And still one of the best wrestlers in the company?
Most definitely. That is his true value to the WWE.