Is It Inevitable Randy Orton Will Beat Drew McIntyre for WWE Championship?
Who is the most important star to Monday Night Raw? With Becky Lynch away for the foreseeable future, only two Superstars can claim that position: Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre.
Both The Viper and The Scottish Psychopath are on the top of their games and have only elevated their work this year despite the lack of audiences.
The two will clash at WWE SummerSlam on August 23 for the WWE Championship. One man will walk away as champion—and with it be crowned the de facto most important performer on the brand.
Whomever WWE commits to will likely run with the championship all the way to the first show with a full crowd in attendance. Deciding which star is best suited to guide WWE forward marks a vital point in company history.
It seems inevitable that Orton will win; WWE has always relied on The Viper. He is a 13-time world champion and has held every major title in the promotion. This was all before Orton hit his prime.
However, a case can still be made for McIntyre to continue running with the title. In a tumultuous era, the WWE champion has run with every opportunity. He has maximized each moment and proved why he deserves more.
Is Orton's victory a foregone conclusion? Maybe not, but it is a tricky situation to piece together.
Making the Case for Drew McIntyre Winning
Drew McIntyre found popularity with just one opportunity. At the beginning of 2020, The Scottish Psychopath got a chance to rebuild his image, and it worked. The fans bought McIntyre as a megastar, mostly just from watching him Claymore everyone in his path.
The ovation McIntyre got every week was that of the face of the company. He was beloved. While it is harder to sustain popularity than build it, it is hard to argue that McIntyre didn't do everything in his power to become a star.
While WWE will not know exactly how popular the WWE champion is until fans return, The Scottish Psychopath has earned the chance to show that his actions mattered. He has earned the ovation he will get when opening the first Raw in months with a crowd as champion.
When The Scottish Psycopath dominated Brock Lesnar at WWE WrestleMania 36, he became the new unstoppable force of WWE. Since then, he has defeated Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley and Dolph Ziggler with his title on the line. He has come off as unbeatable.
Randy Orton will be the most dangerous man he has faced as champion, but The Viper has always had the capacity to win any match at any time. He is booked as one of the greatest stars of his generation.
Orton loses nothing in a defeat, while McIntyre could lose everything. If the WWE champion drops his title before crowds return, it might just lead to the champ receding into the background again like so many others before him.
Making the Case for Randy Orton Winning
Randy Orton has always been talented, but he's never clicked like he has in 2020. Especially after he beat Edge at WWE Backlash 2020, The Viper has been unable to do anything wrong. He has been untouchable and undeniable.
At his worst, WWE still relied on Orton repeatedly to sell shows. He is a 13-time world champion for a reason. Only John Cena has held the WWE Championship more times than The Viper.
It is difficult to find talent so vital the brand, especially in modern WWE. This is an era of three brands with a roster so massive that top talent can choose to take a leave of absence without the show feeling their loss. Orton transcends all brands. WWE has lost him at times and always felt that impact.
This is not to say The Viper has always been perfect. He has had repeated attitude issues, and even after maturing, he often has held himself back in the ring. He is the primary anchor on his own career. When he is lazy, it is hard to care about anything he does.
This is why taking advantage of the moment with Orton is essential. His recent work has shown a rare passion from The Viper. He elevated his 10th feud with Big Show in this past decade to the biggest story on Raw.
If he becomes WWE champion, Raw will benefit from it. There will be no drop-off in audience attention. He and Drew McIntyre are carrying the brand. Both could be champion. The question is, who should be champion?
The Likeliest Result
Few stars have ever been more promoted and supported as Randy Orton. He is a monumental talent, but he has repeatedly thrown opportunities, only to be handed more. WWE will not miss an opportunity to run with The Viper at his best.
Whether or not Orton is champion, he will be the featured star on the brand, even over Drew McIntyre at his best. It just makes too much sense for The Viper to win the WWE Championship. The victory would make SummerSlam memorable and set up future major main event matches.
When Edge returns, WWE will likely complete his and Orton's trilogy. The story will need a fresh twist. Adding the WWE Championship to the mix would add more attention and make it easier for that clash to main-event WrestleMania 37.
It is a nice dream to consider the potential of McIntyre running with the title. After a decade in the business, he deserves a long title reign, but few ever get long runs with the WWE Championship. In his one reign, The Scottish Psychopath has already held the title longer than Roman Reigns has over three runs with the gold.
If McIntyre can maintain his popularity without the title, he should get more opportunities as WWE champion. This may sound like a pipe dream given the treatment of Kofi Kingston the previous year in a similar situation, but it comes down to how McIntyre is seen by WWE officials.
The champ just needs to have enough people buying in for him to get more opportunities. If officials haven't bought in, he isn't going to beat out Orton for that top spot regardless. He just needs to put on another great match with a man at the top of his game.
It would be the ultimate sign of respect if McIntyre did defeat Orton, but it feels unlikely. It is The Viper's time to shine once more, adding another world title to his already overwhelmingly impressive legacy.