Randy Orton Cashes in WWE Title Shot vs. Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2013

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08:  World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton during the WWE Smackdown Live Tour at Westridge Park Tennis Stadium on July 08, 2011 in Durban, South Africa.  (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images

Randy Orton stunned the WWE universe tonight, as he successfully cashed in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank contract on Daniel Bryan at the 2013 edition of SummerSlam.

Orton won the briefcase at the 2013 Money in the Bank pay-per-view in one of the greatest matches of that type in history and has used it to make himself relevant once again.

He has been portrayed as a face over the last two-plus years and that had grown stale, but the addition of an evil edge to his character has made him bearable once again.

Add in the WWE Championship and Orton is back.

The WWE had been teasing a heel turn since WrestleMania 29, but waiting to fully make the transition was a smart move by the company. Orton is now on pace to be the top heel in the wrestling business once again.

While there were several moments that foreshadowed his official heel turn, the point when it became clear was on Raw two weeks before SummerSlam. With WWE champion John Cena and No. 1 contender Bryan in the ring after a match against The Shield, Orton hit both faces with his RKO finisher.

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Orton was stopped by The Shield before he could cash in that night, but the trio was only prolonging the inevitable.

At 33, this is Orton’s seventh WWE Championship reign in his career and, along with his three world titles, an Intercontinental Championship win, a tag team championship run and a Royal Rumble win in 2009, the case for the second-generation superstar to become an eventual first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee continues to grow.

The key to Orton’s continued success will be booking intriguing storylines that keep his heel character fresh. The WWE is expecting a lot from the veteran that already has two strikes in the WWE's wellness policy.

Now Orton gets his opportunity to shine.

With a focused Orton giving everything to his character like he did during his time with Evolution, Legacy and Rated RKO, the WWE universe should be ecstatic to see the return of the cocky bad guy that made us like him in the first place.

For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics.

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