Hello all. My name is Ren "Renegade" Dominguez. This is my first ever post on Bleacher Report (and really, my first post anywhere on the internet...ever), so I decided to dive right into a topic that has been on my mind lately. So lets not waste anytime and get right into it.
As Night of Champions 2010 came to a close, we finally saw the WWE pull the trigger on the full fledged face reign as WWE Champion for Randy Orton. After the final elimination of Sheamus, the crowd went wild as the ref counted 3 and The Viper held the WWE title high over his head. Now, we all knew this day would come. The WWE spent many, many months after Wrestlemania building Orton as a babyface, but no one would have suspected that in the past 2-3 months that the Apex Predator would begin to emerge as not only THE Face of Monday Night Raw, but possibly the next top face of the WWE.
From the night Randy Orton debuted on Smackdown in 2002 against Hardcore Holly, I knew I saw something special in this guy. Unlike John Cena's debut against Kurt Angle, I noticed a spark in Orton that I didn't see in a lot of debuting stars at the time. I saw the hunger, the aspirations, the charisma and most of all, the ability to become a huge star. Although at the time Orton had a lot more high flying maneuvers in his arsenal, he was showing that the WWE was the place for him, and that McMahon and company needed him just as much as he needed them.
Through the years we've seen a lot out of Randy Orton. Many title wins; many victories over mid-carders and main eventers; even legends like Ric Flair, The Undertaker & Shawn Michaels. But the thing I noticed the most was the rise of the greatest star the WWE has produced in over a decade. Yeah, you can argue that guys like Kurt Angle & Brock Lesnar were huge stars for the WWE, but also take into account that Angle left WWE in 2006 before getting the opportunity to become "THE Guy" and Brock Lesnar spent a mindless 3 or so years with the company, whereas Orton has been with the WWE since 2002, is the youngest World Champion in WWE history, and is stepping into the role as "THE Guy" and a 7 time (and current) World Champion all at the tender age of 30 years old.
Now I digress, and many of you smarks know the legendary history of this future hall of famer, so I won't go much more into that. I will return to the topic of my article as that is this:
Randy Orton NEEDS to be the face of the WWE.
With the decline of credible, popular faces in the WWE (much less main event babyfaces) and overload of despicable, devil may care heels, the so-called "WWE Universe" is in need of more top guys that can get the crowd riled up. Gone are the days of adrenaline filled uproars from the audience as they blew the roof off when the glass would shatter as Stone Cold Steve Austin walked down the aisle. Gone are the days of people chanting along as The Rock would stand in the middle of the ring and recite "If you smellllll! What The Rock...is...cookin'....". Gone is the excitement of rooting for someone til your voice went hoarse...until now. With the current babyface run Randy Orton has exposed to us in the past few months, the crowds have gotten louder and louder, screaming "RKO! RKO! RKO!" as Orton cuts a promo or goes into his trance as he's about to strike on his next opponent. And the WWE has finally taken notice of this and awarded the modern day Rattlesnake with the coveted and prestigious WWE Championship, finally ushering in the true and much anticipated era of Orton.
With the WWE title on Orton comes more excitement for upcoming title defenses and brings back credibility to said championship. As much as I like Sheamus as champ, I just didn't feel he was doing much for the title, and in this day and age, the WWE title shouldn't need a WWE superstar to get over, it should be the other way around, and with it on Randy, things are where they should be. And with the WWE title on Orton, we can finally sit back and see a possible lengthy reign for a champion, and much more importantly, see the rise of Orton as "The Guy".
But with all that said, the biggest and MAIN reason Orton needs to be the face of the WWE is this:
So John Cena can finally become heel.
Now many of you are gonna read that and think, "whuuuh??" Now hear me out as I explain this to you. I (and I'm sure a lot of you as well) jumped up and down with much elation as John Cena defeated JBL at Wrestlemania 23 to win his first WWE Championship and usher in his era of domination and take his place as the face of WWE. I welcomed this, and enjoyed every minute of it. That is...until he became this PG Superman version that is John Cena today. Over the years he has run through all his competition with an iron fist to the point where we all know the outcome of every match he's in...it's just so predictable and boring. Now don't get me wrong; I know how much Cena means to the WWE and everything he's done for them. I understand why he's in the place he's in and I don't blame him. I hate John Cena the character, not John Cena the man. In fact, I respect John Cena.
But its a double edged sword; with him being the dominate face of the WWE, it hasn't given any other superstar the opportunity to really break out because of the bar the WWE and Cena has set. A superstar could beat Cena in a match clean, but it still wouldn't do much for them. Yeah, it would give them some momentum, but unless they continue that momentum by beating Cena a few more times, and being vicious with beatdowns leading up to those victories (which I never see happening unless Vince McMahon dies choking on a chicken bone), it wouldn't do much for that superstars rise. Since 2006, not many mid-card or upper mid-card superstars have seen very successful paths in their careers after exiting a feud with Cena (except of course Edge and maybe like one other person...I can't really think of any at this moment). In fact, only Cena has seen the upside of every feud he's ever been in; it's always been about him and his place as the face of the WWE. He is at a point where his character is dull, predictable and just plain not exciting to watch anymore. I'd rather watch paint dry than see John Cena cut another promo about "Hustle, Loyalty & Respect" or partake in a match where he throws down his 5 moves of doom and add yet another victory to his very heavy and sagging belt of wins. I'm just not interested anymore, and because of that, I have a hard time watching WWE sometimes.
Enter Randy Orton.
Now with Mr. Orton and WWE creative heavily pushing him in his current babyface run, they may have finally found the guy that can take the place of Cena as the very top face in the WWE. I understand that the reason John Cena has been at the top so long is because of how fast his merchandise sells, how over he is with the women and children, and because of how much he does outside of the ring like the Make-A-Wish foundation and such. But you cannot ignore how much stronger the crowd is cheering for Randy Orton than Cena's mixed reaction as he comes to the ring, and Orton's uproars only get stronger with every show. So take that into account (and I'm sure his merchandise is selling like hotcakes), and the way they book the Viper with every edition of Monday Night Raw, and you got yourself the new Cena replacement.
And by replacement, I don't mean getting rid of Cena, but finally giving him the opportunity to refresh his character and do the one thing many fans around the world have been waiting for the WWE Superman to do, and thats become a bad guy. In doing so, you will lay witness to one of the greatest and most anticipated heel turns of all time (if the WWE executes it correctly) and give a new reason for viewers to tune into Monday Night Raw every week. If Cena could become this massive of a star in a stale babyface run, just imagine the possibilities (and amazing feuds) if he finally went heel? He could become EPIC. And trust me, I know Cena could do it. He's that damn good. And eventually down the road, we could see another Randy Orton/John Cena feud and actually be excited to see it as the roles are reversed.
Now as I wrap up this article, I would like to remind you that while all this hasn't happened yet, trust me, I assure you it will if Orton can get the job done. As successful as his babyface run is going, it still needs time to develop for the character. Orton needs to step it up on the mic and execute some serious "getting fans out their seats" promos that last longer than 4 lines because as we all know, Orton has done most of his talking in the ring than on the mic. If he wants to top Cena as the next top face, he also needs to master his promos as a face. He did it as a heel, and thats why he was so over. But now as a face, he needs to totally step up his game and connect with the crowd through his words. If Orton can do this, then, and only then, as they say, "when the coast is clear", can WWE pull the trigger on a John Cena heel turn. So with that said, I hope I'm not the only one rooting for the future success of the Randy Orton character. He has the career to show for it, which is really the only career that can match, if not one up the career of the master of thuganomics. So here's to Randy Orton..The Viper. The Apex Predator of the WWE. Don't mess this one up! Because we're all counting on you.
And that's a wrap.