As announced on Monday Night Raw, Randy Orton will defend his WWE Championship in a match against Big Show at Survivor Series.
It was an announcement everyone knew was coming, an announcement that has been built over the last two months but one that managed to excite few.
Big Show, for as well as he has played his character this fall, is not the guy to carry a major angle at this point, and his matches with Orton earlier this year, though solid, were largely unspectacular and failed to capture the attention of the WWE Universe.
The angle involving Show, his firing and subsequent rehiring, has consistently been among the lowest-rated portions of Raw over the last month, and while live crowds have been eating it up, as evidenced by the reaction for the giant Monday night, the general audience could care less.
Which is disappointing because it finally feels like Randy Orton is readjusting to being a heel. He is exhibiting the tendencies that made him one of the most despised characters in World Wrestling Entertainment for the majority of his first six years in the company.
The despicable manner in which he brought up Brie Bella and terrorized her during his feud with Daniel Bryan was great and did a lot to showcase just what lengths the Viper was willing to go to in order to get what he wanted.
Even prior to his match with Big E. Langston this past Monday, he had broken out of his shell and cut a fairly entertaining promo that interjected a fair amount of charisma and cockiness.
Unfortunately, by the end of the evening, he was once again involved in another beatdown angle to close out Raw and was left playing second fiddle to Triple H.
How that is supposed to make Orton look like a legitimate threat to retain his title against his gigantic opponent, who nearly fended off the champion and The Shield on his own until chairs were introduced, is a mystery.
It is way too soon to take the WWE Championship off of Randy Orton. That much is certain. Taking the title from him now would be tantamount to committing character homicide.
Booking Orton must be done with kid gloves. He lost clean to Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions, was left lying at Battleground and only won the WWE title at Hell in a Cell after interference from Triple H and Sweet Chin Music from Shawn Michaels.
He has racked up a number of victories over midcard talent since turning heel in August but has yet to score a definitive win over a main event player in a high-profile match.
Taking the title off of him at Survivor Series would kill his momentum, his heat and any chance he has at gaining acceptance as a top heel by an audience that is already struggling to boo the immensely popular Superstar.
That leaves one of two options. The first one sees him defeat Big Show either cleanly or through some sort of chicanery. Cheating would help both Show and Orton save face, but it would also set up a rematch in December that no one actually wants to see. Either that, or it sets up a Show-Triple H match at TLC that, again, overshadows Orton.
Winning cleanly essentially kills Big Show's character.
The second option sees the match end in some sort of messy disqualification or count-out. I say messy because it would be the second of three consecutive pay-per-views to end with a terrible finish. The Battleground conclusion, which saw no finish to the main event and the setup for an angle that would be paid off for free the following night on TV, was heavily criticized.
After delivering two unsatisfactory booking decisions involving pay-per-view main events in the last three major events, the company simply cannot afford to leave fans unhappy with the product they paid hard-earned money to see.
After analyzing every option, the safest direction to take appears to be one in which Triple H involves himself in the conclusion of the title match (please God, not another Montreal screwjob ripoff), setting up a match between he and Big Show at TLC.
Orton retains the title for another month and becomes overshadowed by The Game for what seems like the umpteenth time in his career.