Re: Making More Out of Randy Orton's 2 Strikes?
The two wellness strikes definitely have something to do with it, but I think WWE has finally begun to realize that Orton is not a needle mover. While he has a certain level of drawing power for live events, is a great asset to the upper section of the roster and has star power to his name, he has not proven to be the draw that would be expected of a guy who has been given the amount that he has. With 9 World Title reigns, a Royal Rumble win and a Wrestlemania main event (the 25th anniversary at that) to his name, he should be a draw on the level of John Cena. But he isn't. Despite alllll of that, he still isn't, and hasn't proven his worth in the main event spot.
On the surface, Orton is everything Vince believes a the prototypical main event superstar should be. Not only is he the only 3rd generation superstar of the modern era to successfully get over (besides Rock), but he has the look of a main eventer, has the crispness and fineness in the ring to carry big matches, has the catchy theme song that the fans instantly pop for and has the signature pose and "bad ass-ness" that make a WWE superstar larger than life.
But there's something that lacks. Despite everything Orton brings to the table, there is one thing that is missing. And that is the ability to sell feuds on the mic.
People who say Orton doesn't have charisma are dead wrong. He does have charisma - a different type of charisma than that of The Rock or John Cena - but there is definitely charisma there. I think those who say he doesn't have charisma are on to something though, they are just mislabeling the missing piece of the Orton puzzle. Orton doesn't lack charisma, but rather the ability to bring a believable and real element to his acting. He seems like a robot in his promos, because he simply re-sights the lines he is given by the writers. The top draws in WWE don't just regurgitate scripted lines; they hit key bullet points and get the idea and emotion across in their own special way. Orton lacks that, and it is the key piece to what has held him back from hitting that top TOP tier of draws in today's WWE.
With that glaring flaw to the Randy Orton enigma, there is still hope for him and that lies with him as a heel character. A darker, villain persona is able to mask Orton's inability to overreact in promos, and fits his demeanor. I've always been a firm believer that your best characters in pro wrestling are those that reflect the person in real life. It's no secret that Orton isn't the nicest of guys and definitely has a bad attitude. Portraying him in that way on WWE television would only benefit him and ultimately his programs that he works in. That edge would make him interesting to watch. But this is where I believe the two wellness strikes come in to play. They don't want to put even a fresh heel version of Orton into a major role, especially holding a World Title again because they don't know if he can be trusted.
With all of that said, if I were WWE, I would have taken one last chance with Orton in a major spot, and I actually would have done it for this year's Wrestlemania. This whole thing with Jack Swagger and Zeb Coulter has been interesting to say the least, but there have been some holes in it. Del Rio obviously has his problems in the whole feud selling the whole thing on the mic and over pandering to the Hispanic demographic, but the other glaring issue to the angle has been Swagger. You want to talk about a superstar who doesn't have any charisma, look no further than Jack Swagger. He lacks any sort of conviction or credibility, and Coulter has been carrying the angle 100%. But who on the current roster could have been a perfect fit for that role Swagger is playing? I believe Randy Orton would have been far better cast in this role and could have become a major heat magnet. A heel Orton who seemingly has problems with foreigners and illegal immigrants seems like a pretty accurate portrait of a guy that looks and acts like Orton. Orton just oozes the look of exactly someone who would be of the mindset of "if you don't look like me, and are different than me, I don't like you" and I think the whole angle could have given some very fresh legs to Orton's character and career.
Anyway, after that long response, I think it can be summed up by saying that Orton's brightest days are behind him and he will never again be put in the main event spotlight unless Vince had no choice. The wellness policy strikes against him are a major issue for the company as a publicly traded organization that has been very aliment about the health of their superstars. The best I can see for Orton at this point is to turn heel and be used as an enhancement talent for the younger, up and coming faces in the upper mid card.
Blood. Urine. Vomit.