“I think that a lot of the fans want to like me.” --Randy Orton, WWE Magazine interview, July 2009 issue.
I guess the people in creative saw that too and decided to take a chance at turning him face. It’s been doing great so far.
Randy Orton, touted as the “Apex Predator” in the WWE is now officially a babyface. Some Ortonites who loved him as a heel have been in denial for a while, but it was really inevitable. Randy has been getting cheered on by the audience even as a heel.
The turn has really started with the constant failed attempts of Legacy to help him in his matches, prompting him to tell them not to interfere but they didn’t listen.
Months prior to that, it was speculated that Ted DiBiase Jr. was the one that’s going to be the face. But I guess they thought he wouldn’t sell it, because let’s face it he barely gets reaction from the crowd. Yes, the crowd popped when he had a match with Randy months ago. But I think that was more because the fans wanted to see Randy get his a** handed to him.
So they finally decided on turning Randy face. They put him against the heel nobody liked—Sheamus. The heel everybody loves versus the heel nobody liked. Of course, the whole WWE Universe would be on Orton’s corner. I think he did his job, putting Sheamus over better than Cena did and at the same time working on the foundation of his face turn.
Then the dissention within Legacy got played up again and the turn got even more obvious, with the fans rooting for him to give his meddling students a lesson. That got him teetering on the line between heels and faces, which we fans call as being a tweener.
His team-up with Triple H the week before Wrestlemania signified him crossing over at being a face. In the backstage interview with Josh Matthews before his match against Triple H, he talked about respect. That he respects Triple H despite everything. And I thought when a heel starts talking about respecting his opponent that has to mean something.
His team-up with Cena on Raw after Wrestlemania sealed it. Unlike his team-up with Triple H, he didn’t have any guest host put him in that tag team match with Cena. It was only Cena who asked him to be his tag team partner. He didn’t have to do it, but he did. Now, I personally would have loved to see how John asked him, and how he decided to say yes, just to see how easy or how hard Cena had to convince him.
When he came out as Cena’s mystery tag team partner, I would bet he got the biggest pop of the night, probably next only to Shawn Michaels’. The audience went crazy when he got the tag, and when he finished the match with consecutive RKO’s on Batista and Swagger.
That was a great validation on the part of the creative team who decided to do this turn. It’s validation for Randy, who in my opinion is the best in the business right now, and he proved it. That he can do anything and it will be gold.
We will be seeing a rare kind of babyface in Randy Orton. And it’s going to be amazing. PWI named him the Wrestler of the Year in 2009. This year, I’m calling it now, he’ll get it again. Maybe he’ll even finally get the Slammy’s Superstar of the Year, now that he’s face. In fact, I’m calling that now too!