John Cena vs. Randy Orton: Viper Wins WWE World Heavyweight Title

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2013

Feb 25, 2012; Daytona Beach, FL, USA; Wrestler and actor John Cena prior to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

At the start of the night there were two world champions, but by the time TLC came to an end, Randy Orton reigned supreme as the WWE World Heavyweight champion by virtue of his win over John Cena.

Multiple people in the WWE Universe Tweeted their congrats to Orton:

In what was one of the year's most anticipated matches, Cena's World Heavyweight Championship and Orton's WWE Championship were merged to determine the one true champion in WWE. Somewhat surprisingly, the WWE brass decided that Orton was the right man to carry the torch.

Arda Ocal of the Baltimore Sun provides his take on the match:

Orton became Triple H's handpicked face of the company back at SummerSlam as Triple Pedigreed Daniel Bryan after he beat Cena for the WWE Championship. This allowed Orton to successfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract.

The Viper continued to feud with Bryan after that, and he ultimately exited the angle as WWE champion thanks to some help from Shawn Michaels at Hell in a Cell. Orton then moved into a brief feud with Big Show, which culminated in Orton beating the giant at Survivor Series.

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It was unclear what direction he would go in after Survivor Series, but WWE clearly felt as though it needed to do something big. Survivor Series was terribly booked and built, and it can certainly be argued that it was one of the worst WWE pay-per-views in recent memory.

With that in mind, the unification bombshell was dropped the next night on Raw, and it has been a whirlwind ever since. It was initially unclear how it would be handled, as there was some thought that Cena and Orton would either grab the same titles that they left with or even trade titles, but Triple H made it abundantly clear that unification would occur.

That, in and of itself, probably sold plenty of pay-per-views since fans knew that it would be a truly unique moment. The build was furthered by the go-home edition of Raw too as an ascension ceremony featuring several former WWE and World Heavyweight champions took place to close the show.

Both Cena and Orton did a nice job on the mic before things deteriorated into a brawl. A number of things happened such as CM Punk attacking Orton, Triple H attacking Punk, Michaels hitting Punk with Sweet Chin Music, Bryan hitting HBK with a running knee, Orton trying to hit Bryan with an RKO only to inadvertently knock over Stephanie McMahon and finally Triple H Pedigreeing Orton.

All of this ended with Cena helping Stephanie to her feet and standing next to The Authority as Orton looked on in shock. This fueled rumors of a Cena heel turn, which is exactly what WWE wanted since it generated even more interest in the pay-per-view.

Now that Orton is the first Unified champion since Brock Lesnar, it will be interesting to see how his reign is handled. He obviously has to defend his title against someone at Royal Rumble, and it seems likely that it will be against Cena since he is entitled to a rematch.

Beyond that, however, it is anyone's guess how it will play out. If the plan is for Orton to carry the title into WrestleMania XXX at the very least, then he'll be facing the Royal Rumble winner.

As of right now, Bryan and CM Punk are probably co-favorites, and while Orton has already faced both of them in some big matches, there is no question that Orton could put on a great match with either of them.

The big question relates to whether or not Orton vs. Bryan or Orton vs. Punk would be worthy of the WrestleMania main event, especially since Orton and Bryan just got done feuding.

It's likely that a large contingent of fans isn't particularly happy to see Orton in this position after a lackluster run as WWE champion, but it certainly opens up plenty of possibilities moving forward.

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