Squared Circle: How It Should Have Happened (Triple H Vs. Orton 2004/05 Edition)
Everyone who watches wrestling has those moment where they watch a match and know it should have ended differently. Whether it was the result of a match or the way a story played out every fan has their own opinion on how it could have been better.
That what this article from Squared Circle is all about. Certain points in time have been selected from the Triple H vs. Randy Orton feud of 2004-05.
Certain stand out parts of this particular story will be under observation and suggestions will be made as to how the feud could have been better if some alterations were made.
This rivalry was seen as the ultimate form of burial. Triple H who had already shown huge dominance on Raw for the past two years began to compete with the hottest new main eventer on the scene, Randy Orton.
Orton had spent the year being successful on the mid-card with one of the longest Intercontinental Championship reigns of the 21st century and had high-profile victories over RVD, Edge and Shawn Michaels.
During August 2004 the point we had all waited for had arrived. Triple H and Randy Orton were enemies. The once allies of Evolution were both main eventers and fighting for world championship gold. It had the potential to be the greatest feuds of recent times.
Instead Triple H dominated Orton at almost every turn and made him look weak. The damage was so bad that Orton would not be a true World title contender until 2007 when he was awarded the WWE Championship.
So lets look at the major points of this feud and see if Squared Circle can come up with something slightly better.
Remember: This is only a matter of opinion. By no means am I say events should have actually followed my guidance. It is just to show that WWE had multiple opportunities to turn around this dreadful series of mistakes.
Aug. 16, 2004 Edition Of Raw
One night after defeating Chris Benoit, clean, for the World Championship at SummerSlam, Randy Orton was forced to defend the World Championship in a rematch. It was fully expected that the title would not return to Benoit and it was as equally predictable Evolution would get involved this time around. Randy Orton, with help, retained the championship.
What Happened: Randy Orton would be attacked by Evolution after the conclusion of the match thus starting his feud with Triple H. As a result Orton turned face as Evolution were the de-facto heels with the unfair sneak attack. This started the nightmare series that was Orton Vs. Triple H.
What Should Have Happened: Orton prior to joining Evolution had only played face once. He appeared uncomfortable and out of place. It was risky to turn him at the beginning of his main event career. Considering his was gaining great heat as the arrogant cocky youngster of the group he should have stayed heel. Instead of being kicked out of Evolution, he should have seized it.
Imagine This: The celebration plays out like before with Triple H getting Batista to hoist Orton onto his shoulders. The time comes and Triple H gives the Thumbs Down but Batista does nothing. He stares angrily at The Game and shakes his head. Triple H furiously tells Batista to do as he is told but before anything can be done Ric Flair nails Hunter with a low blow.
Orton smiles as he is put down on his feet by Batista. It is obvious he anticipated Triple H's actions and got to his fellow team mates before their once leader. One by one the members of Evolution attack The Game with their finishers until they stand triumphant over the beaten body of Triple H.
To recover from his beating Triple H spends months out on the sidelines as Randy Orton's Evolution becomes the most dominant force on Raw. Randy Orton successfully defends the title against big names like Chris Benoit and Shawn Michaels. Evolution has passed Triple H by...
Sept. 12, 2004: Unforgiven
The expected main event of the next PPV took place with Randy Orton defending the World Championship against Triple H. The surprisingly popular Randy Orton (but then again who wasn't when they faced Triple H during this time period) against one of the most hated men in the wrestling business. It was a prime opportunity to solidify Orton as the real deal.
What Happened: Evolution interfered in the match and although Randy Orton looked strong fending them off, he would lose the match after being hit with a chair and Pedigreed on it. Randy Orton would be kept away from the title in the coming months and fight the rest of Evolution.
What Should Have Happened: Randy Orton should have retained the championship and defeated Triple H one more time at the next PPV. This would have put him over as a strong champion. Triple H on the other hand could have participated in a story that saw him desperately trying to keep Evolution together after it appears his time at the top was done.
Imagine This: Randy Orton, at Taboo Tuesday, has just defeated Triple H for the second PPV in a row. The next night on Raw he loses once again meaning he doesn't get a title shot at Survivor Series. A stunned Triple H sits in the middle of the ring for a while until he flips. He starts smashing stuff up left and right using the sledgehammer.
Batista comes out to try and clam down Evolution's leader. He grabs the hammer off him and tosses it aside. It looks as if Triple H has come to his sense until out of nowhere he Pedigrees Batista. Triple H marches out of the arena with Flair trying to get some sense out of The Game. Raw goes off the air.
Oct. 20, 2004 Edition Of Raw
Randy Orton had defeated Ric Flair the night before in a Cage Match at Taboo Tuesday. Since losing at Unforgiven the road has been tough on the Legend Killer. He would lose to Batista during the time period and was struggling to maintain his position as a credible main eventer. But the win over Flair started to put things back on track.
Raw GM Eric Bischoff decided to take the night off and left the show in control of whoever was willing to take charge. Evolution stepped up and the first match they made was a rematch of Flair Vs. Orton. The stipulation was added that if Orton won he would gain a title shot against Triple H at Survivor Series. If he lost he could not have another title shot until Triple H lost the championship.
What Happened: Orton lost after interference from Evolution. After the match the Raw Roster came out to the ring and beat on Evolution. The show went off the air after all members were hit with an RKO. Eric Bischoff announced that at Survivor Series; Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Maven would face Triple H, Batista, Snitsky and Edge in a traditional elimination tag. The winners would each have their turn being GM for a week.
What Should Have Happened: Randy Orton should have won but Eric Bischoff would have returned the next week to void Orton's championship contention. The same match as before was made Orton, Benoit, Jericho and Maven vs. Triple H, Batista, Snitsky and Edge.
Instead of being GMs, though, it was the first stage of a tournament and the first match of the PPV. The winners would go on and take part in a Fatal Fourway for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Imagine This: Now admittedly Maven is a bit of a weak choice for a World Championship Main Event at a PPV so lets say the chair shot he received during the match gave him a concussion preventing him from taking part. Eric Bischoff comes out to announce that he is keeping the event as it was but with a replacement.
Taking his rightful place in the match, World Heavyweight Champion Triple H! The match plays out like a typical Fatal Fourway although towards the end Evolution makes an appearance and start fighting Benoit, Orton and Jericho.
It looks as if Triple H is going to steal one but after delivering an RKO to Flair Orton pulls Triple H out of the ring and fights him up the ramp. Batista is in quick pursuit but as this goes on Jericho hits Benoit with a Lionsault and becomes the new World Heavyweight Champion.
This leads to a Triple H Vs. Orton non-title feud and a Jericho Vs. Benoit title match.
Jan. 9, 2005: New Year's Revolution
Triple H on an episode of Raw lost the World Championship after a Triple Threat between himself, Edge and Chris Benoit ended in a draw.
As a result, an Elimination Chamber match was set up for the vacant World Championship. All in all it was an excuse to get rid of Randy Orton's no compete clause for the title. With Orton back in title picture things should have started to look up.
What Happened: Triple H won the World Championship back straight away in the match. It was his fifth World Heavyweight Championship in less than three years. Randy Orton ended up being pinned again and Batista's push began.
What Should Have Happened: Although this was only the third chamber match in WWE history it already began to feel like an overused concept. The first three chamber matches all has two obvious competitors who would be the last to remain.
WWE should have just scrapped the idea and set up Benoit Vs. Edge for the championship. Since they were the two in the triple threat that caused the draw it would have only been fair for one of them to be crowned next champion.
Triple H, on the other hand, could have had a match against Randy Orton. With a stipulation included that if Orton won then Triple H could not compete for the championship until Orton became World Champion. If Triple H won he could face the winner of the championship match at the Royal Rumble.
Imagine This: Orton defeats The Game and is now looking towards the Royal Rumble. Will he enter the titular match or challenge the new World Champion? It doesn't matter for now as Triple H has been dealt with and it feels like a whole new career path has opened up.
For Triple H, the worst possible outcome has arrived for him. To become World Champion he would have to see the belt around Orton's waist again and defeat him.
At the Rumble, Triple H makes a surprise appearance as a late entry. It appears he is there to help Orton win the match as this would be the most logical action to take. Instead, when Orton is least expecting it he throws him over the top rope and goes on to win the match.
The next night on Raw he reiterates that he cannot compete for the World Championship but nothing said he couldn't fight for the WWE Championship on Smackdown.
With that said Triple H is gone from Raw and a dark cloud is lifted from Monday nights. Orton still goes onto main event WrestleMania while Triple H star in the Blue and White main event match of the night.
Jan. 30, 2005: Royal Rumble
This is the big one Ladies and Gentlemen. The match that well and truly buried good-guy Orton and made sure he didn't have another run as a fan favourite for six years. With Triple H crowned World Champion once again Randy Orton became No. 1 Contender for his Championship. What was originally planned to be the main event of WrestleMania 21 became the secondary event at January's big PPV.
What Happened: Triple H defeated Randy Orton clean at the PPV. CLEAN! He didn't require any help or dirty deeds he just beat him 1, 2, 3. Arguably it looked as if Orton suffered a legit concussion during the match and the end had to be adjusted to adapt to this problem. Orton was quietly removed from Raw and started a program with The Undertaker on Smackdown. Triple H went on to face Batista at WrestleMania.
How It Should Have Happened: Now this may sound strange but I DO think Triple H should have remained champion at this event just not in the manner of which he did. He should have taken a DQ loss and thus Orton would of had a valid reason for another title shot.
At WrestleMania 21 Triple H Vs. Orton for the final time is set up. With Batista winning the Rumble, Triple H actually encourages The Animal to cash in his title shot for his championship at Mania thus making it a Triple Threat with the idea that Orton will have a handicap situation.
Imagine This: WrestleMania 21. World Heavyweight Championship Match. Triple H(c) Vs. Randy Orton Vs. Batista. It looks as if The Legend Killer's chances in this match are against him. The bell rings and BOOM. Batista nails Triple H with a Spinebuster as soon as he gets to his feet Orton hits an RKO. Triple H is laid out.
The two Evolution alumni face off for the majority of the match. Triple H does eventually come back into it but the early attack has taken its toll. He resorts to the sledgehammer that he uses against Batista and sets him up for a Pedigree.
Orton out of nowhere bounces off the ropes, grabs The Game's head and delivers another RKO. Randy Orton pins him and becomes the new World Champion.
Batista recovers and shakes Orton's hand in congratulations. The two are on good terms once again and leading to a whole new chapter of WWE.
Arguably I am looking back on the situation with hindsight and someone did think at the time of writing their storyline that it was going to turn out better. But I would have to ask why Triple H still tends to dominate Orton at every turn when they compete.
Either way I only wish to show how easy it could have been at anytime to make Orton a credible threat to Triple H once they made the big mistake of taking the championship off him.
But enough from me, I want to hear your thoughts? How would you have fixed this broken feud or was it fine the way it turned out.
After all, there was silver lining. Rated RKO and Orton vs Undertaker are two examples of high quality wrestling entertainment.
Until next time (probably during a preview of Survivor Series 2010) this is Squared Circle signing off.