Randy Orton is in cruise control right now and that’s not a bad thing. Most of the time, it’s a concern for fans when a WWE Superstar has reached that spot because it denotes a certain complacency that could equal laziness.
But when it comes to The Viper, nothing could be further from the truth.
Orton is a 13-time world champion and could step right back into title contention at any moment. Or he could go the rest of his career without winning the gold again and he wouldn’t need it to stay relevant. He’s competed in main event matches all over the world against an array of talented opponents. But if he stayed at the semi-main event or even dropped to the mid-card, the move would likely not affect him at all.
He’s a good babyface and an even better heel. However if he never chose a side again and finished his career riding the fence, he would leave with his head up as one of WWE’s most popular stars of all time.
Orton could go until he’s 50 and likely still be at the top of his game. Or he could leave now and look back with no regrets. This is his life, it’s his passion and only a hand-full of talents in WWE are even close to his level right now.
Orton is a familiar face among a bevy of rising stars. But when fans look at him, they don’t see an old man past his prime. They see a guy that is forever youthful, who can still put on a great match with any talent of any age. He’s become the mainstay in a company that has cycled through almost of all its past main event names.
John Cena is still hanging around but he is no longer the top guy. Triple H works very few times a year. The Undertaker may or may not be retired. The Rock’s last promoted match was in 2013. Brock Lesnar’s part-time career can only be considered infamous at this point and Chris Jericho is still out of WWE and doing his own thing.
Through it all, Orton has been the one constant. He routinely delivers top notch performances despite what storyline he’s in and he just makes it all look so easy. He’s reached this highly enviable spot in the business because he’s not only worked hard to get it; he’s done everything a top guy can do in WWE.
He’s been the fresh face on the rise that became the youngest world champion in WWE history. He feuded with the legends including Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, The Undertaker and Triple H. Orton main evented pay-per-views including WrestleMania. He’s been the most loved Superstar and the most despised.
Orton has nothing left to prove and that’s why he’s so valuable to WWE.
It’s no longer about him now. Orton was never the most approachable star for many fans, which saw him as rude and even mean spirited. But he’s not been thought of in those terms in quite some time. The majority of WWE fans, whether they love or hate him, would surely recognize his accomplishments and show respect to what he’s done in the business.
Since he has achieved so much in WWE, Orton is now in a position to give back wherever he’s needed.
That opportunity came when he worked a program with Jinder Mahal. Mahal was low on the card when he suddenly rose up to face Orton for the WWE Championship. But The Viper put The Modern Day Maharajah through the grind of proving himself, which Mahal did.
The man that was never thought of as anything more than a curtain-jerk talent became a main event star thanks to Orton. But there’s no reason to believe that Orton will stop there.
He may not be called upon to do the job as Cena has in recent months, but Orton can still give the rub to younger talents he steps into the ring with. Orton’s work behind the scenes could also be utilized, as his experience would be invaluable to anyone willing to ask him for advice.
But Orton is likely not finished yet, as he’s in great shape and has not missed a step in the ring. His days as a top main event star are surely not over as the company could book him in high profile spots and win or lose, he would always get over. He still brings a lot to the table and fans know that.
He may not be the best to ever step through the ropes. He may not be the best to ever cut a promo. But when fans think about the top 20 most consistent, most reliable WWE Superstars of the past 20 years, Orton’s name must be considered in the top five. He’s been that good and continues to be that good, despite how much time has passed since his debut.
Orton is enjoying a phenomenal run that very few others could ever match. But it could be that he’s got much more to give than anyone realizes. Maybe Randy Orton is just getting started.