Randy Orton has fought alongside Sting. He's battled the legendary Undertaker and the red-hot AJ Styles. The latest phenom to share the ring with The Viper is Shinsuke Nakamura.
The King of Strong Style made the save for Orton on Tuesday's edition of SmackDown Live. Orton and Nakamura have already had their dream match; now they appear to be on the same page as a dream team. Just when fans think they have seen it all, WWE manages to throw something different into the mix.
But this pairing may have been inevitable.
SmackDown Live is a small world when it comes to main event talent. Orton and Nakamura likely would have run into each other again at some point. But rather than go down the adversarial road again, the company has moved in this direction.
The only question is where does this new alliance go from here?
Alliance vs. Alliance
All of this started because of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, and the angle is leading all four men to December 17's Clash of Champions.
This match is precisely what WWE needed. Owens and Zayn have gone unchecked for too long, and it was only a matter of time until something happened to slow them down. Considering they have not been presented as a solid tag team in line for a title shot, the best way to stall them was to organize two other big names to go up against them.
Orton and Nakamura have likely been put together to do just that.
This is a new rivalry that should be entertaining on every level. All four men are pros, and that means their match at Clash of Champions should be top-notch. There's also no guarantee this contest will be the last between both teams.
If they have chemistry and deliver a great match, there's no reason why this feud can't continue.
This is a case of four exceptional talents all working together in the same ring to get each other over. Owens is back in a top spot once again and he's taken Zayn with him. They are the hottest heel combo in WWE and will only remain hot if they keep working other top guys.
Tag team gold may or may not enter into it, but the truth is gold is not needed here. This is about entertaining the fans and moving each man on to the next step. However, that does not mean the chase for title glory can't happen.
Tag Team Dominance
Assuming Orton and Nakamura get past Owens and Zayn, the obvious next destination would be the tag team division. Though Orton has typically always been a singles Superstar, he has been in successful tag teams before, most recently with Bray Wyatt. Orton is perfectly capable of adapting his game to a full-time tag situation and making it work.
He would not have to put much effort into building a top duo with Nakamura.
The King of Strong Style is a natural and one of the best in the business today. He's so smooth in the ring that he can have a five-star match with anyone, and that includes bouts in the tag team division. He's a showman, and fans have responded to him in spite of the role he's had on the main roster.
When he's in the ring, Nakamura knows how to captivate the audience. The same can be said of Orton. With Nakamura's flair for the dramatic next to Orton's steely-eyed intensity, fans would definitely be on board every time the two wage war together.
However, if Orton and Nakamura are meant to battle as a unit, they will run into some well-established tandems along the way.
Breezango is a polished tag team and long overdue for a tag team title run. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable are also in the title picture. The New Day is arguably the best tag team in WWE today and will likely win the gold again at some point. The Usos are the SmackDown Live tag team champions and can also lay claim to the moniker of best team in the company.
Then there's the fact Breezango, Benjamin, Gable and New Day are all babyfaces. The Usos are perhaps unofficially babyfaces as well. So if Nakamura and Orton are to catch fire as a duo, they will probably need to start with other teams before working their way to a babyface versus babyface situation.
The Colons are a great place to start. The same is true of The Singh Brothers. But the obvious choice are The Bludgeon Brothers, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Orton has history with both men, and there's no doubt The Viper and The King of Strong Style would give a great showing against the physically imposing team.
But just how long can Orton and Nakamura coexist before the inevitable happens?
The Viper Strikes
Randy Orton doesn't have friends; he just has guys he's yet to betray.
When Orton was saved by Nakamura on SmackDown Live, fans waited for The Viper to attack. If he had, no one would have been surprised. If he turns on Nakamura at Clash of Champions, no one will be surprised by that, either.
Orton is a snake. Snakes only care about self-preservation, not making allies.
This dream team may be over before it can even begin in earnest. The whole point of Orton and Nakamura's pairing could be the match against Owens and Zayn. Once that's over, a new feud between Nakamura and Orton could begin.
It's probably going to happen sooner rather than later. When it does, Orton will be in a position to put Nakamura over. It's a move that has to happen, as The King of Strong Style has won nearly every feud he's had in WWE. He is the immediate future of the company.
Orton still looks great, but Nakamura represents the next wave of top main event Superstars. If he is to be thought of in that manner, he must get quality wins over top opponents every time his number is called.
They may be allies until Clash of Champions, but Nakamura may gain more from this partnership when it's over.
Regardless of what happens, Orton and Nakamura are two of the best around, and they will look even better together. Clash of Champions could either be their debut or their swansong. Either way, they will give fans something to talk about long after the night is over.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, iHeartRadio, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com.