Randy Orton became the WWE world champion on December 15 at the company's TLC pay-per-view. The Viper defeated John Cena to unify the titles, in a match that was promoted to fans as being one of the most historic bouts in WWE history.
But instead of discussing Randy's place in the industry and what exactly this latest accomplishment does for his legacy, fans seem focused on when he will lose the belt. It does seem as though Orton could be nothing more than a temporary titleholder, which means his reign will be a short one.
For me, it's difficult to say what has brought on this premonition concerning Randy's championship run. It has nothing to do with his track record; the truth is that, in the past, he has consistently been presented as a dominant talent in many ways.
Much like any WWE Superstar on the main event level, Orton has swagger. He has true championship form, a guy that physically looks the part and can carry the weight of the industry's top prize. He has been tested in one huge match after another and he delivers every time.
From the moment that Triple H introduced him as a member of Evolution back in 2003, the WWE faithful knew that the young man had potential. He had the look, he had the intensity and he seemed to be very comfortable in the ring. His matches began to impress, and those formative years laid the foundation for the main event career that was to come.
And even though the Evolution gimmick highlighted Randy's strengths and potential, the fact is that he had an abundance of both. His upside seemed to be very great, indeed.
Now it's hard to imagine Orton not performing at that elite level. He was just born to do this, and his entire WWE run has lead him to this point. He fits the role of future Hall of Famer, a guy whose matches will stand the test of time for future stars and fans of WWE.
But having said all of that, why do I still feel as though he will lose the belt at WrestleMania 30 or possibly even before?
Perhaps the reason for that lies in the fact that Randy's timing could be off. After all, his championship win came in December, at the pay-per-view before the Royal Rumble in January. And, of course the man that wins the Rumble match will get a shot at the WWE World Championship at Mania.
And adding to the drama this year is the return of both Brock Lesnar and Batista. We also cannot forget about Sheamus, who has been on the shelf with an injury and will come back at some point. Then there's Chris Jericho, who could always be a surprise entrant into the Rumble match.
What about CM Punk? Many fans feel that The Best in the World is a lock to win the Rumble and then go on to face Orton at WrestleMania. And if that does happen, what are the chances that Punk will not go over?
As if those five Superstars were not enough, there's also John Cena, who's booked to face Randy for the title at the Royal Rumble event. Could the odds be stacked any higher against The Apex Predator?
Maybe part of the reason for the doubt surrounding Randy's title reign is that the title is so new for fans.
Randy has been on the scene for quite a while in WWE, and the crowd is very accustomed to seeing him on the top level. And while he is consistently very good at what he does, the truth is that he's not the most charismatic of performers.
It's a criticism we have heard before; but for me, it's very true. Randy just does not have that explosive personality, the kind that makes you sit up and take notice every time he's on the mic. Oftentimes, his delivery is robotic and somewhat formulaic. Basically, if you've heard one Randy Orton promo, you've heard them all.
But imagine Brock as the WWE world champion, with a smiling Paul Heyman cutting promos for him. Imagine the fan interest surrounding Batista as the man with the gold, as he speaks about coming full circle in his WWE career.
Sheamus may have his critics, but the truth is that he has proven he can carry the load of the main event. WWE could go an unexpected route and feature him for the championship. Jericho's life outside the business may not be able to accommodate a WWE title run right now, but again, anything can happen.
In each case, the WWE World Championship would be going in a new direction. It would be taken to new places by different stars. Someone other than Orton or Cena would be getting the nod, and WWE would be doing something a little different.
And while John Cena's spot at the top of the company is not changing, and he will ultimately regain the title at some point, the same cannot really be said of Orton. At the end of the day, he could truly be nothing more than a fill-in champion.
For me, it all comes down to timing. If the title unification match had happened earlier in the year, then I do not necessarily believe that Randy would be considered just a temporary option to be champion. Again, he's been on this level for a while, and he has a history of being at the top of his game. He's not an untested newcomer by any stretch of the imagination.
But WrestleMania season is right around the corner, which means that the WWE World Championship is likely up in the air more than it ever has been. The time for twists and turns is nearly here—the time when the company begins to build the card for its biggest event of the year.
And unfortunately for Randy, that means that means his days as WWE world champion could be numbered.