Randy Orton: Victim of a 9-Month Creative Drought (288 Days & Counting)

Ryan MichaelSenior Writer IIIJuly 19, 2010

A viper trapped in a zoo-cage may be able to perform entertaining tricks for the amusement of his audience; but he would still be nevertheless, confined to excessive limitation restricting any degree of forward progress.


I implore any reader to defy the validity of the aforementioned accounting of what has very much become, Randy Orton's career.

And while despite such an abundant lack of creative direction, Orton may still very well be the primary reason you watch Monday Night Raw .

But no matter how great his performances may be, he can only climb half-way up the ladder if he hits his head before he can even catch a brief glimpse of its peak.

Nine months  

288 days (as of 7/19/10) and counting, to be more specific.

That is how long it has been since the WWE's most promising prospect has garnered anything reminiscent of a credible PPV victory over an established opponent.

He defeated John Cena for the WWE championship at Hell in a Cell .

Since that point in time...


It's not even a matter of debate so much as it may be to some, a matter of perception.

While his PPV-record since Hell in a Cell has been an atrocious 2-7-1 , the pathetic scraps that some may consider to be "victories" that the WWE has thrown his way have amounted to little more than creative insults.

20-percent winning percentage; splendid.

"Victories equating to insults"; strange some may find to believe.

Yet still, an accurate accounting of what has become Randy Orton's recent career.

A victory over Kofi Kingston at TLC and a victory over both Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase at Wrestlemania XXVI .

The first mentioned being an un-proven IC/US championship-caliber competitor; and the latter consisting of two men with a grand total of zero singles championships to highlight their resumes.

To put that into perspective, it has been over three years since Randy Orton was demeaned to face opponents of such a lower-caliber on PPV (not taking into account MITB and Survivor Series matches that included both unproven as well as future HOF opponents).

He defeated Carlito at Unforgiven 2006 ; not long after he had gotten into some disciplinary issues; which likely accounted for such a heavy demotion that thankfully, lasted no longer than a month.

What's been happening over almost the past year is a different story.

For nine months , Orton has gone without a SINGLE PPV (even non-title) victory over an opponent who had won a major heavyweight championship during some point of their careers.

Every time Orton has shared the ring with credible (often times even non-credible) opponents, he's lost; or at the very least, failed to win.


WWE championship match vs. John Cena at Bragging Rights = loss.

WWE championship match vs. Sheamus at the Royal Rumble = loss.

WWE championship match at Elimination Chamber = loss.

World championship match vs. Jack Swagger at Extreme Rules = loss.

Singles match vs. Edge at Over The Limit = draw.

WWE championship match at Fatal Four Way = loss.

MITB match at Money In The Bank = loss.


A total of seven PPV matches and a record of 0-6-1 to show for his efforts.

A zero-percent winning percentage in matches that actually matter; splendid.

Come to think of it, the term "drought" is closer to a compliment than it is to the reality of what has happened to the Randy Orton character.

I do not care how he "lost" during any of these PPV matches (as sometimes they've tried to save him face while building up for a storyline beneath a performer of his caliber), because the reality is that he's still lost; while men twenty leagues beneath him (the likes of Sheamus) have been bathed in championship glory during a time in which the viper has been fed nothing but pitiful scraps.


"I've said this before...he is certainly the best performer of my generation".

-John Cena (February 2009)


Way to treat him like it.

The same man who from Summerslam 2007 to Bragging Rights 2009 (when this sad streak began) had headlined an astonishing 23 of 26 PPV's for which he was an active member of the roster, is now the same man granted the lead role of the modern "tough enough" proverbial punching bag; fed rookies, unproven Superstars, and losses in abundance.

His career (over the past 288 days at least) has come at the expense of the likes of Kofi Kingston, Sheamus, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Jack Swagger, and The Miz.

All of whom combined, have not accomplished even ten-percent of what Randy Orton has at the young age of 30 .

And while some may think that seeing so many consecutive PPV's with Orton's name on the marquee may have been an indication that things needed to change, they so quickly forget about how much Orton earned those main-events, carried the company for years, and made the business millions of dollars in the process.

I would have had no issue with some fresh storylines outside of the championship picture; but pairing him up with numerous Superstars who even to this day, have failed to accomplish even a slight percentage of what he has, is nothing short of a creative insult to Orton; while also being a shameless gift awarded to the recipients of Orton's services.

This is NOT how you use your most valuable commodity.

This is NOT the most effective way to utilize the talents of our generation’s greatest performer; in the prime of his career no less.

We're not talking about giving Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair entertaining angles to work during the dawn of their careers.

We're talking having a guy like Triple H back in 2000, go to Wrestlemania 16 to face the likes of Road Dogg and X-Pac instead of The Rock and Mick Foley.

It's insanity, and it's been running rampant for almost a full year now.

How long could they possibly keep this up?

I couldn't believe my eyes after two-months of Kingston-feuding and yet we stand here now, almost a full year later, and despite Orton becoming THE most popular act in the business, he has not only accomplished nothing in nine months, but has been given the short end of the stick at almost every juncture during the process.

I used to order WWE PPV's frequently; I used to buy the PPV's on DVD almost every month.

Over the past nine, I have made zero orders and zero purchases.

Average that out to about $40 a PPV and $20 a DVD and I've saved myself about $600 in a nine-month span; but would have much rather preferred to have been given the opportunity to invest into entertainment that would have been worthwhile .

It hasn't been; not for a very long time.

There are, believe it or not, MANY Orton fans (I call them Ortonites) who watch WWE's programming for the sole purpose of catching a glimpse of the viper.

These "exciting" moments (a la, the RKO to Evan Bourne) do not make up for the utter and complete creative neglect; and the loss of almost a full prime-year of a man's career that can now, never be given back.

There are still plenty of years of great wrestling left in Randy Orton's career, but we have already seen one taken away.

I've always found it to be unfortunate when a great wrestler falls victim to a serious real life injury that keeps him out of action for an extended period of time; but it is perhaps an even greater disappointment to see nine months of a man's career thrown away because for whatever reason, a better creative direction could not be found.

I do not mean to imply that Orton's efforts have been for nothing; as if it weren't for him, I probably wouldn't have tuned in for half of the Raw 's over the past nine months.

It's just disappointing to see a man who has been a consistent performer, a Raw-regular, a future HOF'er, reduced to having to eat from the bottom of the barrel month after month.

The fans deserve better; Randy Orton deserves better.

I don't even have the enthusiasm to be upset anymore; I'm just so incredibly disappointed.

How many months have to go by where I tell myself "things will be different this time"?

I'd like to think that things will change this time around but sadly, I've been given no reason to remain optimistic.  


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