Let’s be honest: Randy Orton’s character is woefully stale, something even his recent feud with Roman Reigns hasn’t managed to rectify.
His promos are dull, predictable and monotone. Despite the tantalizing hint a few weeks back that his feud with Reigns had reignited his vicious streak, Orton's character hasn’t developed too much either. He still gets regular TV time as a member of the all-powerful Authority stable, but he doesn’t seem nearly as important as Seth Rollins, Triple H or Stephanie McMahon.
His clean loss to Reigns at SummerSlam might also be an indication that the bookers are finally seeing the limits of his character and are ready to demote him. His role from now on may be to put new and younger wrestlers over.
Really, more fresh feuds might be the only thing that can turn things around—as noted, Orton did show flashes of his old personality during the Reigns program.
Dean Ambrose—when he returns to WWE television—seems the best option. The anti-corporate Ambrose has already clashed with Authority members Rollins and Kane in the storyline—surely Orton will be next on his list at some point?
This could potentially be a great rivalry. Ambrose is a tremendous babyface, and he’s arguably shown far more potential to be a long-term main eventer than ex-teammate Reigns has. Ambrose would surely force Orton to up his game, both in the ring and on the mic.
There are other options for Orton too.
He’s worked well with Mark Henry before—the two had a fun feud in 2011—and Henry isn’t doing very much right now. Similar to Orton, WWE doesn’t seem to have too many new ideas for him. Why not book them in a short-term feud?
The Viper turning babyface and feuding with his ex-Authority teammates remains an extremely compelling option. Orton’s heel run—he turned at the SummerSlam 2013 event—hasn’t really lived up to expectations.
And let’s not even get started on his debacle with John Cena at the Royal Rumble, a match mostly notable for the absolutely vicious and embarrassing reaction it received from the bored and frustrated crowd in attendance.
Besides, with Daniel Bryan out for a while due to injuries, WWE could really use a new main event babyface right now. Orton would be ideal to fill one of the spots.
A newly turned Orton could have long-term feuds with Rollins, Kane or even Triple H. Those programs would likely help revive The Viper’s flagging fortunes.
Regardless of whether Orton stays heel or goes babyface, though, WWE bookers are absolutely going to have to start giving him new feuds and fresh rivalries in the upcoming months. His career is going absolutely nowhere otherwise.