Just days after his supposed opponent, Chris Jericho, was suspended for desecrating the Brazilian flag, now Randy Orton has been suspended by the WWE for 60 days due to violating the company’s Talent Wellness Program (probably steroids).
This is a big blow to both Orton and the WWE. Orton has seen his stock fall considerably over the last few years, going from superstar 1-A facing John Cena in seemingly every main event, to being forced into a feud with Kane as part of a mid-card at WrestleMania 29. It seemed as though Orton was getting yet another chance to get back to the top of the mountain. He was part of a four-man title match at Over the Limit last month, and was getting set up for a feud with Chris Jericho who is as good at putting other people over as anyone could ask for. But Jericho’s suspension forced WWE to go in another direction, which likely would have been Dolph Ziggler. As much as I love Ziggler, he doesn’t have nearly the star power that Jericho does (more on that later) and is a harder sell for a big event. Now Orton’s second violation means he will be out of the picture for two months, which pretty much buries the coverboy for WWE’12. It’s been a rough year for the Viper.
The WWE is perhaps put in a tougher spot than Orton. As of now the only matches scheduled for No Way Out on June 17th are Cena vs. Big Show, Sheamus vs Del Rio, Christian vs Rhodes and Punk vs Bryan (with maybe Kane thrown in somehow). Orton vs Jericho was supposed to be a big part of the show, and now both men are suspended. Obviously they need someone to replace them. Like I said before, it was looking like Ziggler was going to replace Jericho to face Orton, and was being set up for a push after Raw this week. He’s the most talented heel among the mid-carders and is more than due to get a bump. Orton would have been a good starting point to get him on people’s minds again, but now that he’s gone who else is left? Zach Ryder? He was on YouTube opening the last PPV. Miz is a guy that could step up, but he is in the same place as Jack Swagger right now. A heel that no one cares about. If they really wanted to commit to Ziggler having him hand Brodus Clay his first loss would be a nice start. A Ziggler face turn could also be in the works, if for no other reason that to get him someone new to go against.
The one thing this hopefully does guarantee is that all (or at least most) of the titles will be defended at No Way Out. The main two are always in the mix, but when was the last time Santino defended his US Championship? How about Truth and Kofi defend the tag titles? With the WWE currently being as shallow as it’s ever been, it would be good to add some importance to the non heavyweight belts. The more people they have competing for something the better.
Obviously Smackdown won’t have anything to add since it already happened. But I’m sure we’ll see something new start brewing Monday night on Raw with only two weeks until No Way Out. Have any thoughts on what could happen? Sound off in the comment section below.