Another wrestling year is nearing completion as 2012 goes the way of Abraham Washington. 2012 gave us Ryback, another Chris Jericho return and 1,000 episodes of Monday Night Raw. 'Tis the season to rank them in order of importance. Stories will be evaluated based on longevity, mainstream coverage and social media influence.
Top 10 of 2012, No. 7: Randy Orton Suspended Following Drug Violation
Randy Orton's problems outside of the ring have been just as legendary as his in-ring career. Orton spent the early years of his career getting reprieves for several fireable incidents.
From allegedly harassing WWE Divas to trashing hotel rooms while overseas, nothing seemed to be justifiable enough in WWE's eyes to pass up Orton's unlimited potential.
WWE's questionable loyalty toward the third-generation star eventually paid off. Orton has gone on to have a career that will one day culminate with a legitimate WWE Hall of Fame induction.
The second half of Orton's career contained much less activity than his early years. The theme of Orton's Evolution of a Predator DVD released in 2011 told a story of the maturation process of a once-truculent young man.
Unfortunately, old Randy reared his head long enough to get suspended for a wellness violation. Orton's unsavory history of wellness violations were once again a serious issue, as he was linked to anabolic steroid use.
These matters became such a hot topic, they were even a topic of discussion to media outlets by wrestler-turned-higher-up Triple H
Orton's suspension added to what had already been a mediocre year by Orton's standards. Orton was on the back end of an underwhelming run as the face of SmackDown. After a run as babyface world champion, ratings remained stagnant throughout much of Orton's reign.
Orton lost the world championship to Mark Henry at WWE Night of Champions in late 2011. Henry proved to be a ratings draw for SmackDown during his time as world heavyweight champion. Orton, who excelled as a heel for years, appeared mired in a post-championship babyface death trap.
An optimist could have argued that Orton's suspension could have served as a blessing in disguise. The superstar would have a chance to recharge his body, mind and character before making a triumphant return.
However, resentment reportedly surfaced from the McMahon camp. WWE officials became apprehensive about using Orton as the top star he had traditionally been. Orton still has yet to main-event a WWE pay-per-view since his July 30 return.
Orton was last seen being attacked by The Shield. Whispers have begun to emerge of an impending heel turn for Orton upon his return from his most recent hiatus. After all, bad Randy has always been so much more newsworthy both in and out of the ring.