The Hot Topic: Orton: To Blame Or Not To Blame?

Rob Taylor

It’s been a long time due to my long awaited operation, but now THT is back!

A lot to cover in this column as I have been away a while!

Wrestlemania was disappointing for me, that Rey won the tile at WM didn’t have the same impact for me that Benoit winning a couple of years ago did. There wasn’t the “goosebump” moment of Eddie and Benoit being the 2 champs to make Rey’s win significant. I’m glad he has his title reign, but it won’t last long, nor should it, and it will be his only one. It is disturbing to me that WWE seems to be positioning a feud between Rey and Chavo, even if it is done on a face v face basis, it is wrong to use Eddie anymore I’d rather Chavo chased Shelton for a while.

Carlito is looking very promising as a face, his turn on Masters worked cos it was the classic “heel” turn, but cos Masters is so hated, he turned face by stabbing him in the back. Carlito is my pick for the next Rumble already…

WWE has apparently signed Harry Smith at last, if this is true I hope Harry and Vince go with the “British Bulldog” gimmick, it would not be a rip off, but a fitting tribute to a guy who might not get into the HOF for many years with the picks WWE makes these days.

Speaking of British, Finlay is getting WAY too much of a push lately for my liking, a role in MITB and now King Of The Ring. Surely the role could have gone to a returning Test or Charlie Haas?

The idea of the tournament returning is great, I would have preferred it to take place on one night, on a Smackdown PPV, but as RAW has MITB, it makes sense for SD to have the tourney. Early pick for this is Benoit as a route back to the main event for him though I could see this being used to push Lashley or Matt Hardy into the main event picture… It would certainly work for Matt. As for MITB, RVD was the right choice and even smarter is signposting early that he will be fighting for the title at the ECW PPV, I actually think he will “stun the world” in the weeks before and walk in to the ECW show as the champion, rather than win it on the night but if he were to dethrone the ever more loathed Cena on the night… ECW would instantly be viable again.

WWE has re-hired several talents recently, they were all good workers but the timing was wrong for them, Test being the most noteable. Test has been honest on his views in the past and WWE seems not to have taken it personally, which to me would say either someone believes highly in him, or they know they treated him badly. Either way if Mark Henry or Dalip Singh can main event against Undi.. Test definitely could (and do so without any groans from the fans). Chuck Palumbo, Jamie Noble and Umaga/Jamal all bring something fresh to the table now with the right gimmicks… Of course this means someone has to go… My money is on Hardcore Holly, Scotty 2 Hotty, Vito, Animal to leave Smackdown along with The Bashams, Johnny Parisi and perhaps even Eugene. I expect Sly, Dupree and Conway to escape as I can see a La Resistance/Spirit Squad feud for the Tag Titles… 5 on 3 might work especially with the 3 man La Resistance got a manager!

Now onto the hottest topic of recent years, a WWE Wrestlemania main eventer is suspended just days later for “misconduct”. To say this is shocking is an understatement and WWE and Randy Orton have played their cards close to their chest for good reason as to why, and thus I will not speculate on the actual deeds leading up to the suspension, but will on why it is a good thing.

WWE, as WCW also did during its life, has a culture where certain guys are given more “stroke” due to their percieved value to the organisiation, much like prison, a street gang or even an office those with the more stellar records have “the run of the place”, more money, power over their angles, power to keep things as they want, this keeps order to a point in a locker room, as those on the lower rungs won’t mess for fear of reprisal from the big guns…

Every now and then however, this nstural order can throw up a young, cocky guy who has a lot of promise, a lot of potential and some early success, usually manufactured success…which goes to their head and they begin to believe they are one of those top people and behave as if they have no fear of anyone.

They say the best Wrestlers are guys with their personality but times by 100… In this case it sounds like the Orton we see onscreen is toned down from the real guy. Either that or he has begun to believe his own “Legend Killer” moniker. To a point, why should he not, ater all WWE has created a man who has been fed all the “Legends” put in front of him, men Orton is well aware will not be wrestling in 2-3 years, much less the 10-15 years he could still be big in…

The downside of creating stars of this nature, as WCW and later WWE found with Goldberg is that a mentality can develop where they stop caring about what these legends, and any “locker room veteran” thinks, after all, “they’ll be gone soon, I’ll be the man then.”

Reading between the lines, Orton seems to have fallen into this trap. With Goldberg, it took Chris Jericho proving he wasn’t so tough in the locker room to break that aura around him. Goldberg didn’t change and was gone soon after… This time WWE has taken the action, rather than allowing “the boys” to do it. This is very positive and a sign of how much they truly value Randy…and perhaps their way of shouldering the blame, as I said earlier, they have given Randy the push, the perks, the title at a very young age. They told him to go out and say the “Eddie Is In Hell” stuff. It would be easy to lose where the line is with that kind of freedom, thus it cannot be 100% his fault. BUT make no mistake if he doesn’t learn from this wake up call the most promising career since Kurt Angle could be cut short.

In recent months WWE has really tried to reign in it’s wrestlers, first a dress code, then a drugs code, and I’m sure we’ll be getting a “backstage conduct code” soon. The biggest reason for this cannot simply be a few bad apples, but more setting a discipline system for the long term. We all know WWE ultimately is under the control of Vince McMahon, a man who controls by reputation and personality. Vince is 60 now, he will not be around forever, WWE is very smart to get this kind of stuff in place, being adhered to now, so once Vince goes, there is no anarcy, no chaos, just a system for controlling employees that has been around for a long time and works. Without it, when Vince goes…WWE does…

What do you think, Is Orton lucky to have a job? Is WWE to blame, as ever send your feedback to

Thats it for now!

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