With each era of WWE there is always the poster boy, the face of the company, the franchise. In the '80s we had Hulk Hogan, in the '90s we had Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold and The Rock and in the Noughties, we have to say the most influential superstar had to be John Cena. Love him or hate him, you can’t deny how much he’s done for the company. I myself can’t stand the guy. His superman gimmick annoyed me and I hate rap so he annoyed me even more. But I won’t slam people in my writing. Even though I don’t like him, I respect what he’s brought to the company and I can admit WWE would be nowhere near what it is today after the PG era started if Cena hadn’t boosted the popularity of the company. Let’s face it, after the Attitude Era, WWE needed something big to keep viewer ratings up.
But now Cena is less in the spotlight as he used to be. There’s been an influx of new talent in the past year, the company is changing, we all know a new era is unofficially beginning. With the new era, there will be a new face of the company. One of the most apparent choices is Randy Orton, someone who’s already had a successful career, being the youngest world heavyweight champion in WWE history. But now he’s older, he’s matured, he’s grown. In my opinion, John Cena is (if not already) passing the torch to Orton. But is this necessarily a good thing?
I have always been a fan of Orton, especially in the last year or two. He had a devil may care attitude basically doing what he wanted. He punted Vince McMahon in the head showing similarities of Steve Austin. Randy started to suffer a problem that many Heels encounter, that they’re so good at being a Heel, people start cheering them. Orton was basically forced to be a Face. Every week, chants of “RKO” grew louder and louder. He seems to be the only person who can beat John Cena on a regular basis which many fans loved even more. But now that he’s been taking Cena’s limelight, I’m starting to see certain similarities between Orton and Cena’s superman gimmick.
One of the most popular arguments for Cena haters was that he only had 3-5 moves. One of the most infuriating things was seeing Cena start with shoulder barges leading to the 5 knuckle shuffle, leading to an Attitude Adjustment. I’m just gonna say it: Orton’s doing the same thing. Clothesline, clothesline, twitch, that slam thing he does (too late at night to remember what it’s called), more twitching, pounds the floor, then does an RKO. It took me a while to notice that he’s doing it but it does happen every single match he’s in now. And then Cena went through a phase where he went through his routine then while his opponent is on his shoulders, they grab the ropes and pull themselves off. This has started happening to Orton as well, when he goes for an RKO, they’ll just push him off and he’ll fall on his back.
Another similarity is how unbeatable they both look. It’s weird but WWE has a habit of hyping the loser of the coming title match the most during the build up. I guess it’s to make the outcome more surprising. But this can be seen a lot in matches with multiple participants. Just one example of what I’m trying to say is in the build up to Cena and Orton’s “I Quit” match at Breaking Point, Cena would rant and rave about how he WILL NOT QUIT for weeks before the event while Orton would make a 30 second interview about how he won’t quit and that was it. Because of the major fuss Cena was making, I thought he was going to lose to give the match more of a shock factor. The weeks before Night of Champions, Randy was RKOing everyone, he was unstoppable and was looking to be the definite favourite to win the six pack challenge.
These are two examples of when I was wrong. Cena and Orton won those matches respectively. But because the fights seemed so one sided I thought there’d be surprises in the results.
Anyway, using the same move set every match and having a superman gimmick is just two things I’ve noticed recently. I’ve also noticed that Orton just ends every segment or promo with an RKO, which Cena used to do, giving someone an Attitude Adjustment or an STF. It makes me wonder if every main Face has to take on this role. Hulk Hogan won loads and even did it with the most pussy looking finisher in the business. Steve Austin and the Rock won a lot of matches and were considered “supermen” but hardly anyone cared because of the attitude. It makes me feel that John Cena was hated by many just because he didn’t have a hardcore attitude like the others. But that’s just the timing of when he worked for the business. It’s not his fault, it’s just what comes with the job of being the face of the company. And that’s what I fear is going to happen to Randy Orton.
He’s already starting to annoy me with his whole routine of leading up to an RKO, and him getting really hyped up for matches and then winning after a pretty one sided match just doesn’t have the same amount of excitement for me. For example, Fatal Fourway I thought was going to be crap, but when Cena got pinned by Sheamus I was ecstatic.
In conclusion, I think Orton is going to be the next face of the company. He’s taking attention away from Cena but now he’s started doing things that caused people to hate Cena. Are people going to hate Randy as much for it? Or will they forgive him because he’s got more attitude like the Rock or Stone Cold?