Randy Orton was last seen on WWE television on November 3, being carted out of the arena by EMTs after sustaining serious storyline injuries at the hands of Seth Rollins and The Authority.
In real life, the star was taking time off to film the upcoming WWE Studios flick The Condemned 2: Desert Prey. (Frankly, this film is probably the least necessary and most unwanted movie sequel since Basic Instinct 2. Then again, perhaps fans should just be grateful WWE isn't making The Chaperone 2.)
In the months since his dramatic exit, speculation has been running rampant about exactly when the star will make his official return to television and just how WWE will book him now that he is a babyface.
Orton did actually do a run-in following the December 29 edition of Raw to save John Cena from a heel beatdown, but presumably, that doesn't count since it didn't air on television.
"Randy Orton has been spotted in the Northeast and is still scheduled for Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view from Philadelphia," states the report. "Orton is expected to be a surprise in the 30-man Rumble main event but that hasn't been confirmed."
It will be intriguing to see just how babyface Orton fits into the current landscape. He will obviously never usurp Cena as the top good guy (truthfully, no one will), but he may also find himself far below Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns in the babyface pecking order. It could be even worse if Brock Lesnar goes full babyface, like the company hinted at on Monday's Raw.
As a heel, Orton was lifeless and reduced to playing the role of mere henchman for Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. But really, it's hard to see how his options as a good guy are any more promising.