Randy Orton has been riding high as WWE's unified champion. His win over John Cena at TLC on December 15 was promoted as a very historical moment for not only WWE but the business itself. While The Viper has the full support of The Authority, the fact is that he will not be champion forever.
So when exactly will Randy Orton lose the WWE World Championship?
Many fans were likely surprised when Randy won the title at TLC. After all, John Cena is still the top guy in the company, and to imagine him being booked behind another Superstar on the card just seems impossible. Even though Randy has been featured prominently on WWE programming since SummerSlam, the truth is that a good number of fans believed he would not emerge victorious over John Cena.
And now that we are a couple of weeks into Orton's title run, the question of when he will lose it is already being asked. This should not be surprising at all, as fans typically tend to look ahead quite a bit. And a great many fans are looking toward WrestleMania 30 as the moment when Randy Orton will lose the belts he so proudly carries around right now.
The truth is that there are two pay-per-view events before Mania arrives in April of 2014: the Royal Rumble and the Elimination Chamber. And while either event could provide the loss that fans know is inevitable, it's WrestleMania that stands out as perhaps the best possible moment for Orton to come up short.
The reason for this is very simple. The newly unified WWE World Championship is indeed a very big deal and when it changes hands, it should happen on an equally big stage. WrestleMania 30 is that stage. To be honest, for Randy to lose it before then could in fact be much too early.
Again, Orton has been featured very heavily on TV since the night he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam. From that point to now, he has been touted as the face of WWE, endorsed by the McMahon family and upheld as the standard to which all other Superstars should be held.
And while his run with Daniel Bryan may not have made him look like an unstoppable main event player, the fact is that Orton did win that rivalry. The same can be said of his feud with The Big Show. In both instances Orton was overwhelmed by a very motivated challenger, and in both instances Randy came out on top.
The title unification match against John Cena was contested on a much more even playing field in terms of overall attitude and sense of urgency. Cena's character wanted to win, of course, but it was not the life-or-death situation that Orton had faced in his two previous feuds, especially with Bryan. Of course, neither Bryan nor Big Show is John Cena; Cena has a proven track record of coming up big in high-stakes main event matches.
But not only did Randy win that match, he did it without an assist of any kind from anyone else. Handcuffing Cena to the bottom rope then pushing him down headfirst into a table may not have been great examples of sportsmanship, but Randy is a heel.
And heels will take every advantage that is available to them. Randy was just being Randy.
So while Cena supporters may still be upset that their man did not win, the fact is that no one can deny just how strong Randy looked at TLC. And he continues to look strong right now, as he has arguably not had this kind of swagger in a long time.
Orton is fully confident, convinced that he can defeat anyone at any time, and right now he looks the part of a top-tier main event star perhaps more than he ever has before. There is no doubt about it; WWE is giving Orton quite a bit of room to shine, and he is taking full advantage of it.
Now imagine all of that work being thrown away if Orton loses at the Royal Rumble. And even though the Elimination Chamber is farther out, the fact is WrestleMania just feels like the right time for Orton to drop the title and move on.
A lot can be done in the next four months leading up to Mania. Orton can look even better than he does now, with more victories over more challengers. His booking could be stronger than that of anyone we have seen in a long time, including John Cena himself.
Why should all that be done? The answer is because WrestleMania could provide that moment when Randy's title run comes to an end. And for the guy that beats him, the pop should be instantaneous, it should be huge and it should last a very long time.
Finally, the corporate champion will have been knocked down off his pedestal. Finally, Triple H's chosen one will taste defeat and lose what he holds most dear. And it will all happen on the grandest stage of them all.
For me, there is no better place and no better time for Randy Orton to lose the WWE World Championship than WrestleMania 30. It could be just another chapter written in his legacy and another historical moment for WWE to cash in on.
All Randy Orton has to do is deliver. And when he does, it should not surprise fans at all.