Why Randy Orton's hiatus is important for both him and WWE fans
Rollercoaster. One word that I would use to describe Randy Orton's 2017 in WWE. Maybe, that is the word that describes his WWE career in general.
Over the past year, "The Viper" has his ups, such as winning the Royal Rumble and becoming a 13-time World Champion at WrestleMania 33 against Bray Wyatt, as well as his downs. For example, the 'House of Horrors' match against Wyatt at the Payback PPV in April, and losing his WWE Title to Jinder Mahal (of all people) at Backlash in May.
Unfortunately, too many of the 'should have been' positive moments this year have not hit the mark with fans the way Randy and WWE would have wanted them to.
Let's be honest, WWE Creative's direction for the veteran SmackDown Live Superstar has not helped.
Orton's feuds with Bray Wyatt and Jinder Mahal went on for far too long, and they exposed his stale, boring and uninteresting babyface character to the maximum. I don't mean these adjectives as an insult towards Orton. Randy himself said a few months ago that he was 'sick of being a babyface' on Edge and Christian's Podcast.(of Awesomeness).
I mean, why should fans be invested in Orton's character when even the man himself doesn't want to?
You can just take one look at the heavy criticism his babyface persona gets on Twitter or any other social media platform and see that the WWE Universe is sick of 'Good Guy' Randy Orton too.
I also try not to cause any offence when I say NONE of Orton's marquee matches this year have been above average in-ring wise.
Most fans would blame the former Evolution and Authority member for his poor bouts with Mahal, Rusev, Wyatt etc, especially as Orton tends to have a 'don't care at all' attitude when he is not wrestling as a heel.
Yes, frustration with his own character from Orton is becoming rather visible in his performances, but it is not the main factor for these below-par matches.
With his young age of 37, fans sometimes forget that Orton has had a 15-year career in WWE, and has been at the top of the company along the likes of John Cena and Triple H for most of that time.
Orton has taken time off before, doing WWE Studio films as well as to recover from injuries and surgeries in the past, but apart from that, the guy has been going non-stop on weekly shows and live events since his WWE debut.
That, my friend, is a really LONG time.
This obviously takes a huge toll on the human body (and mind). Eventually, all the bumps and bruises start to catch up.
I believe this is starting to affect Orton's wrestling, as how can we expect him to put on decent matches without giving
Therefore, having said all of this about his character and matches, it was music to my ears over the past few days to hear that the master of the RKO is supposedly taking a lighter WWE schedule in 2018, as he is only advertised for a select few shows between February and March (leading to further speculation that Orton may not be competing at WrestleMania 34).
The news, which has been covered by Sportskeeda already, can only have good outcomes in my opinion.
Firstly, Randy will have more time off next year to let his body heal. When Orton returns, his matches will be fresher and more energetic because he will be rejuvenated.
Secondly, Fans will not be seeing Orton as much on their TV, so, when The Viper comes back, they will cherish his presence more (remember 'absence makes the heart grow fonder').
Those glad to see the back of Orton will soon be the same wanting him back once he is gone for a while (myself included).
It can also help Randy become a draw for SmackDown Live because fans will tune in to see him knowing he won't always be there.
And lastly, when Orton comes back, WWE can use it as an opportunity to turn him heel again (for example, maybe he could cost a babyface a title match to really start back with a bang).
Everyone knows Randy Orton is a 'natural' bad guy, and a great heel like Orton can help get a babyface (for example, Shinsuke Nakamura or Bobby Roode) over with the WWE audience upon his return, by bringing tension into a feud like no other Superstar can.
That is the Orton we want.
With some of December and all of January to come, hopefully, WWE will do something meaningful with Orton before he is away for two months, so while he is resting, the WWE Universe will be waiting with open arms to witness Orton strike again.
Regardless, the sooner February and March come around, the better.
To put it bluntly, Orton needs to get off our TV screens for a while before we never want to see him again, or before he does not want to see us ever again.
Meanwhile, WWE should get to work on bringing us back the real Randy we all know and love, you know, the one who would go to nearly any lengths to get what he wants.
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