After losing the World Heavyweight Championship to an undeserving Mark Henry at Night of Champions, future WWE Hall of Famer Randy Orton could stand to benefit from creative development that would enable his character to reach its full potential.
Be it on Raw or Smackdown, WWE's creative team would be doing the Orton character a disservice if he were to simply come out angry, talk swiftly of rematches, and ride his disappointing "face push" through to another wasted PPV event.
If ever there were a time to let Randy Orton return to being "The Viper" they so falsely claim for him still to be, now would be a ripe opportunity to capitalize off of the right decision that led to the wrong man being crowned champion.
Randy Orton deserved to lose the World Heavyweight Championship; the problem is that Mark Henry most certainly did not deserve to win it.
I suppose it matters little within an era of undeserving champions (The Miz clearly comes to mind), an age in which our "World Titles" have been turned from program centerpieces into universal "tools" used to help get Superstars "over" who would be incapable of remaining relevant without them.
Mark Henry's "Hall of Pain" gimmick is one tailor-made to last the moment. Henry himself has little legacy and will most certainly not go down as being anywhere near the most dominant champion in WWE history.
Beyond impressive strength, Mark Henry will continue to live up to his billing as being a respectable "filler"—a WWE "tuffman" with his one impressive physical attribute milked to the max to help mask a plethora of creative, vocal and physical shortcomings that have led to Henry, deservedly, receiving zero legitimate title reigns during the entirety of his disappointing career prior to Sunday.
Orton's fake, forced, pseudo anti-hero gimmick has worn so thin amongst the enlightened fanbase that it was only natural to punish his stale brand of superiority by rewarding the undeserving in an effort to both shock and stir things up for a potential creative upswing.
Continue to deprive the Orton character of any psychological depth if you're insistent upon pushing Orton's "Super-Cena" impersonation to the absolute regurgitative max.
Allow him to speak the following if you want to bring "The Viper" back to the Ortonites.
Please be aware that the above scripted promo is 100 percent fictitious. In no way do I endorse any of the comments or views presented within the promo. Randy Orton portrays a "character" on television, and this promo is not to be taken literally.
WWE's Friday Night Smackdown kicks off with the new World Heavyweight Champion making his way to the ring. An arrogant and underqualified Henry smirks at the WWE Universe, proud of his first respectable accolade accomplished over the course of a disappointing 15-year career.
The announcers salivate as they poorly attempt to build Henry up as an accomplished in-ring competitor—gloating about how this "new and improved" Mark Henry is unlike anything we've ever seen before. He took out the people's savior, and makes his triumphant walk to the ring with an aura of fabricated accomplishment drowning the air of the arena.
As Henry enters the ring, he is given the microphone. He pauses with a grin on his face before beginning to cut the promo he has waited years to deliver.
"I told all of you people that I would become the next World Heavyweight Champion.
"Here I stand before you with this gold around my shoulder, proof that I was serious, proof that I could back my words up with actions.
"None of you should be surprised. Week after week I came out here and introduced Randy Orton to a sample of what I promised to give him at Night of Champions.
"And make no mistake about it, I will be THE most dominant champion in..."
Suddenly Randy Orton's music hits as the former champion makes his way to the top of the entrance ramp. This time there are no smiles. This time, Randy Orton looks different. Not since the night following Extreme Rules 2009 when Orton broke Batista's arm into two pieces has the former World Heavyweight Champion looked this disturbed.
He's not walking to the ring; he looks demented. He's too twisted to even be angry; he looks confused. The look in his eyes is conflicted—the former champion torn, having to choose between "hurting" Mark Henry badly, or taking him out and ending his career without a moment’s notice.
He’s done that before.
For the first time in his career, Mark Henry looks scared.
Intimidated though not outnumbered, the new World Heavyweight Champion is too proud to run, too scared to speak. As Henry stands bewildered, Orton slowly makes his way down to the ring, picking up the microphone before he begins a verbal degradation of Henry's character so potent that few would soon forget the night after Henry stood triumphant.
"Mark Henry," Orton begins.
"Disgraceful. It's disgraceful for the two of us to be standing in the same ring together—one man a living legend and the other a pathetic disappointment; with the disappointment holding the World Heavyweight Championship.
"There is no doubt in my mind, Mark, that I am the better man; that much is obvious. But as much as you'd like to think that this is about the World Title, it's not. I'm a nine-time champion who has main-evented more WrestleMania's then you've ever even competed in.
"Sure you may hold the World Title for now, but will you even last through tonight, another week, another PPV? A man such as yourself has never been accustomed to headlining PPVs, much less winning. And seeing as I am entitled to a rematch, I intend to use it.”
"That's fine Randy. If you want a piece of the 'World's Strongest Man' tonight, I'll be happy to reintroduce you to the Hall of..."
"You shut your stupid mouth until I give you permission to speak!
"I swear to god that if you look me in the eyes like that one more time, I'll separate your head from your shoulders. If you enjoy being able to spend the few years that you have left walking, I suggest you keep your mouth shut and your ears open."
To the surprise of those in the audience and those watching at home, Henry backs down and remains quiet. His posture would seem to indicate a degree of "toughness," but he has the look of fear in his eyes as he stares down the WWE's Viper.
"The only reason you're holding the World Title right now is because you took the Randy Orton approach to making it to the top. You attacked me multiple times before our match at Night of Champions, slowly trying to weaken me until you knew that I wouldn't be at my best come Sunday.
"Well played. Well played because I learned from Ric Flair, I learned from Triple H—I came to define what it means to take out your competition on your own terms.
"But as they say Mark, it's easier to get to the top than it is to stay there.
MY rematch will be on MY terms, not yours. And in the meantime, I'm going to subject you to beating after beating whenever I feel it appropriate. Whether it's in the hallways, the parking lot, in the locker room, before your matches, after your matches...it doesn't matter.
"Because whenever you're at your weakest, I'll be at my strongest.
Whenever you're vulnerable, I'm going to be right there to make your life miserable. I'm going to make you scream, I am going to make you cry. I've done it to men 15 times as accomplished as you Mark. And with them, it wasn't even personal; it was just business.
You made it your business to get involved in mine and now I'm going to make it my business to see that you pay the price for the decisions that you made."
Orton drops the mic and looks Henry in the eyes. Orton still has that same sadistic look he had when making his way to the ring.
Henry is scared, the roles are now reversed.
Mark Henry is the prey and, for the first time in years, Randy Orton is once again "The Viper."
Before exiting the ring, Orton slaps Henry across the face with all of his strength. Not to be confused with a prototypical "WWE slap" that looks cheap and alarming degrees of fake, Randy Orton slaps Henry so hard that sweat leaps off his cheek, and a tear roles down his face.
Henry stands frozen, too scared to retaliate and too smart to do anything about it; Henry’s beginning to learn the valuable art of self-preservation.
Orton exists the arena with a look on his face that would make even a viper retreat in fear.