Monday, 25 June 2012

Randy Orton: Flipping the R'K'O?

Randy Orton's ominous rebirth? 

In light of a recent suspension of sixty days, and putting his career in jeopardy, many now question the validity of Randy Orton turning from his good, caring character to a fully-fledged bad boy once more.

As ever, debate is rife and Wrestling Wonders puts forward cases both for and against the move, along with an overall decision on where to go with it.

On April 25th 2011, Randy Orton become the lead face of WWE’s Smackdown brand. As an extremely popular choice, Orton was a sustainable choice to redefine the Smackdown lifestyle as a fan favourite after being chosen as the third pick to move in the annual WWE draft.

With his career transgressing into a stale and non-progressive predicament, even the wrestler understood the need for new horizons on the blue brand.

WWE chose to move Orton as the third choice, behind John Cena (and Rey Mysterio), in an irrelevant move to fox the audience, where Cena returned in the same evening draft to Raw to fool the audience, which destroyed all momentum, the legitimacy of the draft, (no one star can more and then switch back, as selection to one brand then removes them from the selection pool once transferred) including Randy Orton, who, as new star face of Smackdown, should have been the first selection.

Now resting atop the B show, Orton settled in quickly. After the Extreme Rules PPV, World Champion Christian, fresh off the PPV with a ladder match victory over challenger Alberto Del Rio, and World champ for the first time in seventeen years, was scheduled to defend his title in the first notable outing against WWE most noteworthy star, Randy Orton. Raising both superstars’ overall status, both had the chance to become Smackdown’s new era of stars that the company desperately called for.

It wasn’t what WWE ordered. Choosing to elect Orton as champion, after Christian’s victory just five days earlier on PPV, The Viper yielded the title from the company's newest top level star. Plucked from Captain Charisma, WWE, whom felt Christian was below champion material, had been forced to eat their own moralistic ‘words’ once the audience in their thousands verbally vented their ferocity at the decision. Cast into uproar, the WWE’s universe, surprising to the company, were fully behind the fallen champion as a new star able to draw. Even super favourite Orton recognised the respect to Christian. Orton also returned that respect in their heightened series over the next few months creating the biggest feud of the year for 2011, which no one could come close to.

In this series towards the end, Randy Orton’s bad boy ways were teased to return once again. They did not fully develop through, though tantalised the possibility. Many wanted the change facilitated.

Orton, as a fan favourite, able to speak volumes as favourite WWE superstar over CM Punk and John Cena, to all cultures around the world, as well as enticing back the male audience on all platforms to the sport, WWE understood it needed to reconnect with those male fans lost to the PG dominated era that cost a good proportion of wrestling men, grown up with the product, who had been forced to abandon or lose faith in the show unfolding every week.

The darkness of man’s heart

Most males instantly say “Just turn him” , wouldn’t we all love that, however, Orton, should he turn to the dark side once more, would have many options, one being that the obvious to lead a supergroup of new, talented stars, while fighting new ones on the flip side to further enhance all levels of new talent on both opposing sides, or to even dominate the program for months on end.

With these new supergroups, WWE and Orton led, new stories would unfold, add a deeper backstory to wrestling feuds and reasons to compete for a title, adding higher prestige and meaning, while providing explicit matches for the audience to sink their teeth into wholesomely.

What other benefits would Orton have? If going solo, as perceived, Orton would once again be deadly, uncontrollable and playing up to the suspension to add further immense dislike to the audience, would highly connect to the people’s product. Orton has always been stronger as a naughty man either oppressed, downtrodden or berated against. This man’s intentions would also launch him into the title scene and uphold every possible outcome, while creating more for those involved. Orton would create further challengers and give them huge reasons for the audience to support them. Orton, is the only man to lead the future of the new batch, where Punk and Cena fail.

The shining beacon of light

His holy grace, the blinking twinkle in the WWE’s Universe shines brighter than anyone else on all astral planes. Becoming a pinnacle of strength, remaining the world’s only significant entity, that gleams clamour would be a cataclysmic loss on any rostrum.

Randy Orton, the only guy that fans truly smile for, be it for sheer hotness, caring about the people, or interacting with them on a level of deep connectivity to real life personality that most WWE stars have to distance themselves from, as well as seemingly respective of all cultures, nationalities, sexualities, ethnicity and faith, Randy Orton ticks every box that fans are looking for.

People come to their WWE experience for Randy Orton. The vast majority, come to see him, in light of the Cena and Punk portrayal. Though he isn’t shouted about, at the top of everyone’s lungs, Orton is the sole focus of many being at a WWE event, or online as well as in front of a TV screen, because he transcends the real life qualities and enthusement fulfilling their content when having to bare the sheer banal of John Cena’s infuriation’s, or Punk’s stale shadow of John Cena title bareage failing to change one dimension in WWE after the initial buzz. Randy Orton gets them through.

How can he remain goody goody and deliver? The answer is simple. WWE need to give Orton further aggression, in the esteemed role. Without this Orton is classed by some non-understanding of the role he must portray in this position as “Randy-Boreton.” WWE’s tradition of commendable characters means limited wrestling holds permitted and standard script to appear a certain position of dormancy is introduced. Of course, goodies must abide by rules, (which Cena is allowed to break tenfold) and Orton, a wayward character at times, can have his teasing moments as he does, akin to the Christian feuding, eventually turning bad boy in the near future. His turn will come, no doubt about it, but remaining honourable keeps viewers coming, being enthused with the product and the most key part of the process, enjoying the wrestling, embodied with narrative structure in place to influence the audience to support wrestling to its further levels of professionalism.

Randy Orton is one of the few performers who has wrestling psychology and uses it perfectly to shape a match placing all pieces of the puzzle together to give a five star match almost everytime, regardless of who is involved.

Orton’s successes have been vast, including Kofi Kingston(Roddy Piper/Survivor Series build up), Sheamus (as WWE champion) at Royal Rumble, Dolph Ziggler on Raw last October/November and putting over both The Miz and Alex Riley, when Miz became WWE champion from his Money in the Bank cash in, which most other champions would not have been willing to do, as well as carrying Riley in tables matches and stipulation bouts that sent Riley, a man who didn’t wrestle much, up to being at a Wrestlemania event without in depth activity which really put Alex Riley up there as a WWE potential until bosses dropped the ball on it. Now that’s talent.

Verdict on The Viper?

Randy Orton is a devil in disguise; He can crush any foe expertly, while maintaining their levels of personality, instead of killing them off completely. Leading a supergroup would be best fitted for Orton after a lengthy single run on his own. He can lead this group then eventually disband or be ousted. The problem is WWE’s choice of booking it incorrectly or similar to every which way they know, to copy the Evolution, Legacy and previous groupings before them in the same fashion. The key is making it completely different to anything ever before and not allowing same old characters to seem inferior which are the problems that destroy all involved, making sheer wastes of everyone’s time.

Orton could re-design the concept, by having a group of goodies instead of the flip side being the one that dominates. That way WWE will also bypass its problem of lacking favourites in short supply to be called upon. They must not look inferior. If they mess up after a few fair chances, demotion is obvious. Create opportunities to run with, or stumble at the starting blocks.

Orton has had immense difficulty moulding from bad boy to lovable rogue. Now in that position he has worked years to fit perfectly for the audience, at the height of his charismatic levels of appreciation and reforming the product for people correctly, to undo all of this wilfully and whimsically would be a woeful choice to conduct.

The easy option is to turn. The notable word is “easy.” Nothing ever comes easy, and those easy choices are what drive the product further away from fans encouraging themselves to re-invest and emotionally connect with the rotten core of the WWE epicentre.

The view is that Orton should remain as he is, come back refreshed, a little mischievous in a capacious and cheerful position. To crush everything just earned would be short-sighted. Orton appeals to everyone that no-one else in any wrestling business aims to achieve.

Max Waltham, ringside with Randy

In the WW 2011 Pro 50, we wrote, where Orton was ranked at number 2, “WWE would be lost without him.” They would lose the only thing left to latch onto those fans with any level of credibility. The problem has always been the lack of stars opposing the positives. People don’t want a CM Punk or John Cena in a new star. They don’t wish to see CM Punk, making headway as a star, plucked and moulded into a John Cena clone. “I can make a new John Cena.” – Vince McMahon.

The fans don’t want a redeveloped genome. They require a star that becomes a new, fresh and powerful force, adding a completely different dimension, whether good or bad, in order to protract quality, performance, wrestling and superstardom that delivers the audience need intuitively, then encouraging them to be at a WWE event live. 

Max and Rand, enjoying some Mojito's! :)

They don’t want to ‘come’ to an event, they want to ‘be’ at the show. Others, of course, want to be a part of the universe. WWE need to leave Orton in his position, alongside CM Punk and Cena, because, it needs to produce new stars to battle the earmarked names, which also adds immense challenge and honour to toppling a huge name on the WWE roster that creates their levels of rising, whether it be three months, one day or two years. Building their WWE resume knocking off certain people or how they had a classic match regardless of win/loss outcome, will truly exude star quality.

© Max Waltham 25th June 2012

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