Monday finally could be the day that WWE pulls the trigger on the long-awaited heel turn of Randy Orton.
Mind you, I am not saying it definitely is going to happen. I am just saying that the atmosphere WWE is setting up makes the time better than ever before for an Orton turn right now.
The third installment of Orton vs. Daniel Bryan has been scheduled for this Monday Night Raw program. And no matter who comes out of top, Orton could finally go bad, just like he and many within the WWE Universe have been wanting.
Orton promised earlier this month that the turn would come after he had built up his babyface routine to a high level before swapping sides. That way, the turn would be a really big deal.
We do not know if WWE has signed off on this idea or not, but they should. Turning on someone like Bryan—the most popular WWE star right now—definitely would be a big deal.
Some might wonder why, if he was going to turn on Bryan, Orton did not do it at Payback or during their Raw or SmackDown matches earlier this week.
First, the Orton turn has been promised for so long now that when it does happen, WWE will make sure it will be the main item that folks will be talking about the morning after. It could not happen at Payback because we already had the double turn involving Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, and that was what everyone was talking about the next day.
Second, it could not have happened on Raw for two reasons—Bryan’s stinger forcing their match to be stopped, and Mark Henry’s faux retirement speech and World's Strongest Slam on John Cena. That was the centerpiece of the show. When Orton turns, WWE wants it to steal the show.
Orton turning on Monday night definitely would fit that bill.
Third, and probably most important, you want a heel turn to be the result of a clear, decisive action, such as a clean victory. We did not get that in either the Raw or the SmackDown match last week. The Raw match ended due to injury, while the SmackDown match wound up with Orton being counted out.
It’s very hard to justify a heel turn on an ending like that.
Monday night’s match could be the clean victory for which we have been waiting for. And I could see the turn coming regardless of who wins.
If Bryan wins, the turn comes because Orton gets furious and winds up RKO’ing him. But if Orton wins, he could wind up taunting Bryan, saying how tired he was of all the “inferiority complex” and “weak link” talk coming out of Bryan. The exclamation point could come in a second RKO.
Don’t look for a skull punt, though. That move is done only when Orton’s opponent is scheduled to be out of action for a period of time. And we all know Bryan is not going anywhere anytime soon—except straight to the WWE Championship.
Follow Bill Atkinson on Twitter at @BAtkinson1963.