WWE | Pro Wrestling

Randy Orton Turns Face and the Countdown to Fan Unhappiness Begins Again

Randy Orton is currently out of WWE, selling a concussion angle that may or may not lead to a surprise return at Survivor Series on November 23. It makes sense and for anyone that’s been keeping up with The Authority storyline, it’s a great way to wrap things up so the company can move on to something different.

But while everyone is currently applauding Orton’s face turn and basically dancing in the streets celebrating it, I can’t help but remember another time when a smiling Randy was a hated Randy. Anyone remember that? Anyone?

Actually, it was just over a year ago when Orton was one of the top protagonists in WWE, a guy that consistently got a great response every time he was on camera. He could do no wrong, he always got it right and despite the fact that he won all the time, he was never really hated for it like John Cena was.

And is. I mean, that’s never going to end right? But it was different with Randy; fans just didn’t look at him in that light. It seemed so easy for him, so effortless, that when he went over it was like an acceptance just came with it and then we moved on to the next match.

But unfortunately that was not enough for some fans. Of course, nothing ever is, right? The fact is that despite how successful Randy was in that babyface role, there was a segment of the audience that believed he was getting stale, that he needed a shot in the arm to become relevant again.

Forget the fact that he was blowing the roof off the building every time he hit the ramp. Forget that all he had to do was throw his arms up and fans rallied behind him instantly. Let’s just act like none of that was true and let’s just reboot him from top to bottom.

Isn’t that the way everyone thinks? When was the last time a guy could just be good, successful in his role and able to keep rolling without anyone questioning when he was going to make a turn? How often does that even happen anymore?

But fans continued to complain, they ignored all the positives of Randy being a top face and just began begging for him to turn heel once again. He didn’t fit the nice guy part; he was supposed to be vile and full of rage. This was not The Viper that they wanted. They wanted Randy to spit venom and do it while hating them in the process.

So WWE acquiesced; they gave in and delivered the heel that fans wanted at SummerSlam in 2013. Randy came down with the Money in the Bank briefcase, took an assist from Triple H and pinned Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. It was supposed to have been Bryan’s night and Randy Orton ruined it.

The Viper was The Viper again and everyone was happy. Finally, they stopped complaining. Well, they stopped complaining about Randy at least. Orton went on to headline with The Authority on its “Triple H and Stephanie own TV” world tour and everything seemed to be right once again.

Randy was wearing the black hat and he was very good at it. He was good anyway, but okay. I went along with it and yes I will admit a sinister Orton is a very intriguing Orton. He fit the part perfectly and it all went pretty well, even if he was overshadowed by Hunter’s heel persona. Orton had a role to play and he did it to the fullest.

But here we are, just a little over a year later and guess what? Those fans that were crying about wanting Randy to turn heel in 2013 started crying again. Oh, Randy is stale again, he needs a change. He needs to turn face, so he can go after Brock Lesnar and win the WWE Championship. The company needs another top babyface and Randy is just perfect for it! Yay!

Isn’t that about right? Did we seriously do a 180 on Orton and decide that he needed to change yet again? Don’t get me wrong here; I am not above a turn when the situation calls for it. If a guy stays in one place too long, he does run the risk of becoming old hat to fans and when that happens, a change has to occur.

It’s the only way to keep a guy fresh, to keep him at the forefront and to keep fans believing in him. Remaining a babyface or heel for too long suggests that the company is running out of ideas and really has nothing for him to do. And if the crowd turns, then the talent in question will begin to fall out of favor. Suddenly, everything he does is pointless and everything he says is meaningless. The fans have tuned out and they’re moving on.

And WWE would never keep a guy in one place for too long, right? Like, never. Right?

So yes, I understand that when the time is right that a change must take place. But I’m also beginning to wonder why this seems to be the case for Orton more than any other Superstar in WWE. What is it about him that makes fans want to see him keep changing his spots as the wind blows? Is Orton just not captivating enough on his own, is he not enough of a top talent to warrant fan respect despite which side he’s on?

Or is that just oversimplifying the issue? Is this whole thing merely just a matter of one guy needing to keep evolving with the times in order to stay current, as any other Superstar would? Or is it perhaps that without constant change that Orton’s star would fall to the point of no return? Are fans so tired of his act that they will keep demanding change or do they just love him so much that the want to see him succeed at the highest level possible?

The fact is that right now, everyone seems to be happy. Fine, I’ll go along with it. But when they change their minds and they will eventually, then I will be right back to this point yet again. And when that happens, I will be the one to remind you of where we are right now. So don’t forget this time, okay?

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Tom Clark

Tom Clark can regularly be found on Camel Clutch Blog. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at https://tomclarksmainevent.libsyn.com/

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