Following the WrestleMania XXX pay-per-view and his (likely) World title loss, it may very well be time for Randy Orton to turn back babyface.
This time last year, practically everyone—including Orton himself going by Twitter—seemed eager for “The Viper” to go heel. It was easy to understand why. As a face, he was bland and stale. He had also fallen considerably down the card, too.
It was hoped by some fans that a well-timed heel turn would propel the star back to relevance and the main event scene.
Well, technically, Orton's title win and turn at SummerSlam last year did send him back to the top.
But, honestly, it's hard to call his current run a success.
Far from being a tough, fearsome heel after he turned, Orton spends most of his television time grovelling to The Authority and playing sidekick to Triple H. It did his credibility no favors whatsoever.
The bad booking continued. His feud with Daniel Bryan was rather dull and delivered mediocre buyrates. His next program with Big Show was also quite boring and—yes—delivered another dismal buyrate at Survivor Series. (Numbers from Wrestlinginc.)
You also have to wonder just what WWE was thinking when it booked the 1,347th feud between Orton and John Cena.
Talk about running out of ideas.
The now infamous reaction to the pair's singles bout at the Royal Rumble may have said it all (On the bright side, “We Want Pizza!” may very well be one of the greatest chants in a match ever.)
Orton's woes continued when he placed in a feud with Dave Batista that absolutely no one wanted to see.
Of course, WWE eventually changed the scheduled WrestleMania bout—per a stipulation, the winner Triple H vs. Bryan earlier in the evening will be inserted into the match, probably because it had to. Orton vs. Batista would likely have flopped on a level not seen since Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg squared off as WrestleMania XX if it had went ahead.
It would be easy to pin the entire blame on the writing, and certainly it hasn't helped, but Orton himself is a huge part of the problem too.
The cool, charismatic Orton who dominated WWE as a top heel in 2008 and 2009 is long gone, replaced by a duller, more monotone version of himself.
No wonder fans appear to be getting bored of him; his entire act is boring. The only way to freshen him up is to turn him back babyface.
First of all, such a change would get him away from Triple H, which can only be a good thing. Orton doesn't need to be upstaged any more than he already has been.
It is time to end the Orton-Triple H association—no good can come of it.
Secondly, I think fans are still inclined to cheer Orton—he was massively over in 2011 and 2012. They just dislike what WWE has turned him into over the past few months.
Of course, you could say that the star is at risk of simply sinking back to the midcard if he goes back babyface.
But, really, the company's landscape has changed. There are more potential feuds for him as a good guy right now than there were last year.
A Wyatt-Orton program, in particular, sounds like a compelling idea, doesn't it?
Orton and Triple H falling out and subsequently feuding could also help “The Viper” stay in the spotlight, as well as helping him regain some of his lost credibility.
Whatever WWE does with Orton's character, let's hope it does it soon, because he really can't go on like he is.