Randy Orton's career has been on a serious upswing as of late. His recent run began at SummerSlam, where he cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase against a helpless Daniel Bryan. The move brought him the WWE Championship and new hatred among fans that has put him right back at the top of the company.
And I believe that this run will define Randy's character, not just for this era but for his future in WWE.
To be honest, what better option did WWE have than Randy Orton for this role? Randy is a proven commodity, a former WWE and World champion. He is used to the bright lights of the main event and is very accustomed to the pressures that go along with performing on that level.
And let's face it: He makes it very easy to be hated.
Everything about Randy screams "heel." He has intensity in his eyes and mercilessness in his move-set. Even the way he stalks his opponent in the ring puts him on a different level than other WWE Superstars.
From his icy, cold cockiness to his dangerous killer instinct, Orton was the prime candidate to take the heat from fans against Daniel Bryan. Daniel is very likable, has a great smile and is really just trying to do the right thing. Bryan is a stark contrast to Orton and therein is the reason why this rivalry is working and why Randy has been so good so far.
And truth be told, fans wanted Randy to turn heel again for a very long time. Countless debates have raged for quite a while, espousing the benefits of Orton becoming a major antagonist once again. WWE's audience recognized that Orton was much more suited to being a heel and the company finally responded.
Since then, Randy's character has flourished. He became WWE champion, and when he aligned himself with the McMahon family, he guaranteed that fans would despise him. He is the heartless monster that we knew he could be, and it has been a very flawless transition.
The fact is that Orton was born to be the villain and it is truly serving him well in his current storyline.
So when I consider what this all means and how it affects his future, for me the answer is very simple: I believe that with enough work this could be the best run of Randy's entire WWE career.
I know it's a bold statement. And included in that statement lies what I believe is the key to making it all come to pass. Because I do think that this angle needs more work, that enough has not been done yet.
Do not misunderstand me here, I do believe that Randy is doing the best with what he's being given. His character is right where it should be in terms of attitude; Orton has a huge sense of entitlement when it comes to the WWE title. For him, no one else has the ability to carry the belt and be the face of the company the way he can.
And when it comes to Randy's work in the ring, he has not lost a step.
He is consistent, always delivering the most technically sound performance that he can, and for fans this is what he's always been about. Randy Orton can get it done in the ring and can work with anyone on the WWE roster.
The bottom line for Orton right now is that every time we see him, he is on his game. When he is on camera, he is the heel that we expect. He is saying all the right things, he is being more vicious than ever before and he is most definitely wearing the black hat.
And the truth is that we don't really know how much longer Orton has in his career. He is 33 years old and has been in the WWE for 12 years. He has done it all in the company, held every major title and worked main events all over the world.
This heel run could be the one that leaves a lasting impression on his WWE legacy. He is older, more mature and more experienced this time around. If anyone would know how to take advantage of his spot and make this run as successful as possible, it's definitely Orton.
But the problem is that Randy is not the top heel in WWE. Triple H is. And as long as that is the case, then Randy will not be able to reach his full potential.
Some fans are undoubtedly throwing some serious hate at Hunter because of this fact, and honestly that does not surprise me. Triple H has had his fair share of critics over the years and anytime a veteran like him gets some serious airtime, it usually does not bode well for his reputation.
Some fans likely feel that Triple H is taking too much spotlight. But the problem is that the way this angle is playing out, Hunter's presence is needed on a very regular basis. His manipulation of the Big Show continues every week, as do his attempts to hold Daniel Bryan back from becoming WWE champion once again.
He represents the evil, corporate power structure, one that is beneficial only for his family and not the WWE Superstars that it should serve. Hunter is in the role that his father-in-law Vince McMahon made famous, and it's the same role that WWE has used for years to generate heat for the McMahons on TV.
However, as The Game's on-air character gains more TV time, the more he takes the wheel from Randy Orton. The fact is that the more we see of Hunter versus Bryan, the less that we see of Orton versus Bryan. And for me, that is not the way this should be going.
Again, the nature of the corporate establishment versus the underdog angle dictates that Triple H be directly involved. Hunter's presence is necessary to make it work.
But Randy's well executed heel turn has hit a wall. We believe that he wants to destroy Bryan. We believe that he will do whatever it takes to stop Daniel from regaining the WWE Championship. But we also believe that Triple H wants the exact same thing and until he is able to take a step back, Randy will never be able to fully take the lead in this storyline.
There is no doubt that Randy Orton's heel turn has had a serious impact in WWE. He went from being a loved WWE Superstar to being the most hated, virtually overnight. He is right back in his element and he looks very good in his role. And with enough work, this could very well turn out to be the most important storyline of his career.
But until Triple H's part of the angle with Daniel Bryan is reduced and he steps back, I do not believe Randy's heel run will be the success that it could be. For me, he is right where he should be but he needs the entire spotlight in order to be the monster heel that we all know he can be.
Randy is the Apex Predator, he is the hunter. But he should be hunting his game alone.