Randy Orton's Wrestlemania SlumpBy Matty J. Douglas
The Showcase of the Immortals is just one of many phrases used to illustrate how important Wrestlemania is. The very best of the WWE shine at the top of the mountain, on the biggest stage in Professional Wrestling. You can expect to see the stars considered to be at the top of the heap at the very top of the card, unless their name is Randy Orton.Confused? You shouldn’t be. I can’t be the only one to notice Randal Keith Orton’s string of Wrestlemania Mediocrity. It seems as though this year, the man who at one time was widely considered the WWE’s second biggest star, will be wrestling Kane at the 28th Showcase of the Immortals from Miami Florida. Excuse me while I yawn. Last year he found himself on the outside of the main event of Wrestlemania as well, facing CM Punk, in and upper mid-card grudge match. The year before that (WM26) Randy was involved in a lowly Triple Threat with the former members of Legacy Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. I should mention that John Cena, the company’s number one, was in the Main Event of every Wrestlemania, since Wrestlemania 21.This begs the question; what the hell happened to Randy Orton? Why has he been on the outside of Wrestlemania Main Events looking in for three straight years since becoming the WWE’s 2nd biggest babyface star? There are a couple schools of thought on this subject, which I will touch on in this piece.Thinking about how mediocre Randy’s last few Wrestlemania spots have been, I decided to look back to the last time he main-evented a Wrestlemania. It was Wrestlemania 25, the year he won the Royal Rumble and challenged the “McMahon Family Avenger” Triple H for the WWE Championship. This feud will always have a special place in my heart, because of possibly the most egregious plot-holes/logical miss-steps in the history of the WWE.The feud revolved around Randy Orton attacking the McMahon family after winning the Rumble, because he knew he wanted to face Triple H at Wrestlemania, to get revenge for Hunter turning on him in Evolution. Great, but there’s one problem, Triple H won the WWE Title a month after Randy started attacking McMahons, in an Elimination Chamber. Orton had no guarantee that Triple H was going to be Champion going into Mania, and if Trips had lost an Elimination Chamber, which there was a high likelihood he would, Orton would have started attacking McMahons for no reason. Furthermore the match the two had at Wrestlemania, which followed a classic Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels match, was underwhelming to put it mildly. Not to mention the finish completely castrated the narrative, and made Randy look incredibly weak. The story would have easily been better served had Randy won the bout. It could be a coincidence that Randy’s last main event spot at Wrestlemania for all intents and purposes tanked. Then again, it could be why the WWE is wary about putting him back in such a prolific slot on their biggest show of the year.That being said, there has been a major change in Randy Orton’s character since the last time he Main-Evented a Wrestlemania; he turned Babyface. As a Heel, Orton participated in 3 World/WWE Championship matches at Wrestlemania between 2006 and 2009, thus main-eventing all but one Wrestlemania during that period. He also challenged Undertaker and the streak in 2005 at Wrestlemania 21 in a feature bout at that event. Randy Orton as a Heel had no problem getting into one of the Main Events of Wrestlemania, but since turning babyface has been wallowing in mediocre Wrestlemania feuds, and forced to watch the Main Events like the rest of us. Could the issue be as simple as that? It very well could be.I’ll be the first to say that Randy Orton is far more compelling as a heel. He plays the party of sinister, calculating sociopath so well, that since turning babyface, I’ve felt his character has become boring. Don’t get me wrong Randy has been great in-ring, and has had a series of top notch matches against Christian in the last year but I always got the sense that he enjoyed being a bad guy more than he enjoys being a good guy, and that usually resulted in stronger promos and feuds overall. It also goes without saying that as the number two babyface (possibly now #3 behind CM Punk), John Cena is getting much more Main Event consideration as the number one babyface. It’s a far cry from being the company’s top Villain, which basically guaranteed you top billing in some form, come Wrestlemania season.This year is no doubt going to be one of if not Randy’s worst Wrestlemania. Nobody can be looking forward to seeing Orton vs. Kane at the biggest spectacle on the wrestling calendar. Am I the only one who was very much looking forward to the rumored Randy Orton/Daniel Bryan bout being discussed around the Royal Rumble? I enjoy Sheamus as much as the next Fella, but the WWE isn’t doing much to build drama around his Wrestlemania match with Daniel Bryan. Any drama there is, feels manufactured and fake, and even though the match itself will likely be a good one, it will be forgettable, much like Kane vs. Randy Orton.Orton vs. Bryan on the other hand would have gotten Randy out of his Wrestlemania funk, and pretty much writes itself. In one corner you have Randy Orton, tall, strong, a prototypical WWE superstar with wrestling pedigree in his blood, being a 3rd Generation Superstar. In the other corner you have Daniel Bryan, who has scratched and clawed and sacrificed everything to be in the WWE, and now has shattered the mold, and become an unlikely World Heavyweight Champion. Their routes to the WWE couldn’t be more different, and that in and of itself is a breeding ground for drama.I can just imagine the fireworks that would erupt having these two cut promos on each other. Orton would tell Daniel that he’s changed, that winning the World Championship has made him into egotistical, entitled little brat. That Daniel is a con artist, who doesn’t practice what he preaches. Daniel would respond by saying “I’m egotistical? I’m entitled? I’m a con artist? Randy everything you’ve ever gotten in this business was handed to you. It took me a decade to even get to the WWE. While you were being handed Championships at 24 years old, I had to scratch and claw to get here. I lived in my car; I traveled to Japan, Europe, all over the globe to get to where I am. If anyone is entitled to this championship it’s me, not some talentless waste of space from St. Louis who’s only in this business because of his daddy.” The feud and the subsequent match at Wrestlemania would have been fantastic. Instead we’re being treated to a mediocre feud between Bryan and Sheamus, and Randy’s Wrestlemania slump continues with a fairly awful feud by Orton’s standards, between Randy and Kane. What could have been, right?There you have it, but as usually, I want to know what you think! Am I sensationalizing Randy’s slump, or have you too noticed his recent string of Wrestlemania mediocrity? What do you think is the cause of Randy missing out on now 3 straight Wrestlemania Main Event spots? Do you think that Bryan vs. Orton would have been better than the programs each are now part of heading into the Showcase of the Immortals?Until next week, I’m Matty J. Douglas wishing James Roday luck when he Guest Stars on Raw tonight. He’s a friend, and I’m happy that he’s getting a chance to do so after having to miss out on his opportunity last time because of an emergency Appendectomy, that left his co-star Dulé Hill to host alone. Have a great week everybody!