Note from John Canton: This is a guest column from Andy Mullen. It was sent to us by Andy after he inquired about writing a column, I told him to check out our Contact Us page that has simple instructions on how to send in a sample column. This is Andy’s second column submission. If he does a third and I like it, then he’ll be part of the TJRWrestling team. Here’s Andy.
Last week on Monday Night Raw, WWE Champion Randy Orton proclaimed he is no longer “The Legend Killer,” just a “Legend.” I am now safely and fully ready to commit to the following words: Randy Orton is the greatest professional wrestler ever. Or at least one of the greatest. A year ago I probably would have said, “sure he is good, but let’s revisit this after he retires.” He is a living legend. There is no debate. Frankly, I am ashamed it took me this long to see it.
During his WWE career, Randy feuded with nearly every type of WWE superstar. Big men, technically sound stars, high flyers, you name it and in each case have been able to put on enjoyable high-level matches and was entertaining enough to keep you interested. But at this year’s Royal Rumble it all changed. When Edge returned, it sparked something in Randy. The opportunity for them to work together clearly was a goal of his and he made the most of it. It’s a shame that there were no fans for any of the Edge versus Orton matches this year (at WrestleMania and Backlash) because the crowds would have been hot. When Edge got injured, Randy transitioned, and that is when the new “Living Legend” Randy Orton was born! His pursuit of the WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre was a lot of fun. Drew and Randy seemed to have good chemistry and frankly, the feud has helped elevate Drew as a true main event player. Again, the coronavirus took away the crowd (sans the Thunderdome) for most of this story and that is a shame.
Now as WWE Champion, Orton seems to be settling into the role of hunted rather than the hunter, with three apparent adversaries in McIntyre, The Fiend, and Mr. Money in the Bank The Miz. I want to see Drew get his rematch, as one more hard-hitting battle with a Randy Orton win could tie up any loose ends with that story. The Fiend brings a whole new element to Randy being the hunted and Wyatt can position himself as the ultimate hunter with a great revenge story already built-in. Oh and don’t forget the newly super amazing Alexa Bliss that adds a new wrinkle to everything. Of course, we can’t forget The Miz waiting calmly in the wings with John Morrison seemingly there to cost him his shot and lead to that feud eventually.
I won’t claim to know how Vince McMahon’s mind works. Frankly, I imagine it’s a horrible place full of Giant Gonzalez versus Great Khali matches, but I digress. But I can see where the next few months are going. Randy dispatches his challengers in high-end matchups, all the while claiming he is what he says he is and that’s a legend. After all of that where does this end for Randy? I think right back where it started, with Edge.
I am not a doctor, but I would assume Edge is working on his rehab and pacing himself for the right time to return, and what a perfect time for that around the Royal Rumble. After Orton takes care of his current competition it would make sense for him to go full heel and proclaim that he is the greatest wrestler alive (he is not wrong). I would go even as far as to have Randy Orton proclaim that he should be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame as an active competitor. He could run down the list of all the legends before him that he has surpassed such as Flair, Michaels, The Undertaker, Foley, and others. Randy can deliver a pretty good promo and in the right environment, which includes fans, he could cement himself as the top of the top. Naturally, this is where Edge comes in and from here the story finishes itself.
We have seen Randy Orton go from cocky 24-year-old World Heavyweight Champion to the Legend Killer, to The Viper and now The Legend. All of it has felt like a very natural evolution (pun intended). Randy turned 40 years old earlier this year and may just now be hitting the prime of his career. A career that was once defined by alleged attitude problems and a few trips to the wellness policy suspension list. Those transgressions feel like a lifetime ago, as Randy Orton has shed that skin and truly evolved into the greatest professional wrestler walking this earth, a legitimate Living Legend.