With Randy Orton's newly found popularity as a maniacal, devious babyface, many have started to compare his "I don't take crap from no one" attitude to one of professional wrestling's greatest legends, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
Like Austin, Randy Orton's finisher has gotten over for being a swift and impressive end to any segment or match. Some people might not think someone's finisher matters much, but if you look at a clip package of Stone Cold, what do you see? A thousand-and-one Stunners.
Those moments, especially ones in high profile matches or controversial segments, are often imperative in determining the longevity of a wrestler's legacy.
Similarly, if Jeff Hardy hadn't done so many Swanton Bombs, would the WWE have been able to push him as well as they did in 2008 and 2009?
No, because those seemingly insignificant video packages can often make or break the interest in a match.
Character-wise, both Randy Orton and Stone Cold share a tendency to RKO or "Stun" someone giving them lip. However, Randy's character emphasizes the theatrical tone WWE's PG Era is characterized by.
On the other hand, Stone Cold used a crude, in-your-face attitude to get himself over, as was appropriate for the Attitude Era.
Their similarities are slim in the ring. Both are pretty much brawlers, but Randy's style is cleaner and more meticulous. Stone Cold's offense was a vicious, contained flurry of fists and sometimes dirty tactics, which was cool to the fans because the heels always deserved it, right? Right.
Could Randy Orton be the next Steve Austin?
I think the deciding factor in this comparison is match quality. Thus far in Randy Orton's career, he hasn't had a performance that even comes close to any of Stone Cold's classic encounters, such as his Wrestlemania matches with Bret Hart and The Rock.
What needs to be done to get Randy Over as the face of the PG Era, just like Steve Austin was the face of the Attitude Era, is to have him contend with overwhelming onscreen controversy.
Stone Cold built his legacy off of defying Vince McMahon. Randy Orton upset the McMahons, but as a heel and in a very unremarkable feud.
If Triple H comes back as a heel like the rumors are saying and if he represents the McMahon family in a feud against Orton, this time with their roles reversed in terms of being face or heel, we could see Orton accomplish something not seen since Steve Austin's time.
What really ruined the previous Triple H and Randy Orton feud was that it hardly mattered to most of the fans that Orton punted Vince and DDTed Stephanie, because anyone who had been watching the WWE for at least a few years knew they've played heels more than faces. If anything, that just laid the foundation for Orton's eventual face turn.
If Randy Orton is given the right storyline and put against the right opponents, he could be just the guy we need to end John Cena's reign as WWE's posterchild, and become the face of the PG Era.