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This past Tuesday on Smackdown, Randy Orton proclaimed that also long as Bray Wyatt remained his master, Orton would not fight him. This simple declaration has added intrigue to one of the main stories of WrestleMania season. While it’s not exactly “The Mega Powers Explode,” this is is the first angle involving Randy Orton that has me intrigued in a long time. Also, after years of bumping against the upper mid-card ceiling, Bray Wyatt looks to be stepping into the main event role fans have wanted for him for the longest time. For this week’s column, let’s take a look at one way the story of Randy and Bray could play out.
First, we have Tuesday’s upcoming battle royal to determine a number one contender. With Orton refusing to fight his leader, Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan stated the winner of this battle royal will go on to face the WWE Champion, presumably Bray Wyatt, in Orlando on Apr. 2. The speculation right now has betrayed former family member Luke Harper emerging victorious to take on his former mentor, with Orton being re-added to the mix through some storyline mechanism in the near future for a three way dance.
I like Luke Harper. He moves great for a guy his size, and he’s taken the enthralled, moon bat cult follower as far as it can go. Given a proper push, there’s no reason he can’t be a top of the mid-card performer for the WWE for a number of years. However, he’s not there yet, and his presence on one of the main bouts at WrestleMania would hurt it rather than enhance it right now.
To kick this story into gear, on Tuesday night Wyatt and Orton should interfere in the in-progress battle royal and toss the final four-to-six competitors out of the ring. This would make the bout a no contest. After he takes the microphone, Wyatt should serve notice to a stunned Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, both of whom are standing at the top of the ramp with shocked looks on their faces, that he doesn’t take his orders from anyone. He is the one who gives orders. He is the one that will lead Smackdown as its leader and champion.
Later that evening on Talking Smack, Daniel Bryan can reveal that he will have announce what the WWE Championship match will at WrestleMania next week at the start of Smackdown. The following Tuesday Bryan calls Orton and Wyatt to ringside to let them know that since they wouldn’t allow the battle royal determine a number one contender, Bryan has no choice but to reinstate the Orton-Wyatt title match or strip Wyatt of the title.
This announcement would give Orton the opportunity to cut a promo saying how a good soldier or follower will lay down for a leader and a cause he believe in. At WrestleMania, Bryan may be able to make the two square off in the ring, but he can never make Orton strike the head of his new family. At WrestleMania, Orton will simply lie down in the ring for Bray, allowing him to get the easy one-two-three and retain the title.
Bryan can then add another stipulation to the card, but not before lashing out at Randy. Bryan can remind Orton just how difficult it is to win the WWE title, and how much it means to be the one holding the belt that can trace its lineage back to Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Steve Austin, the Undertaker, John Cena, and Randy Orton himself. He can play up his history with Orton, who “stole” the title from Bryan moments after the latter won it when Orton cashed in Money in the Bank. All of this is meant to portray how disappointed Bryan is at Orton for giving up his career just so he can follow the weird musings of a cultist.
Bryan will then reveal the additional stipulation: If Orton refuses to put up a fight against Wyatt, then he will be fired from the WWE and Wyatt will be stripped of the title. The next month is spent building up the conflict within Orton as to whether he’ll do what is right or what is expected of him by Bray. A sit down interview segment with Renee Young can have her posing the question whether it’s worth risking Orton being able to support his young family by sticking with Bray only to have a brainwashed Randy respond that the Wyatt’s are all the family he needs. Over time, though, there would be little cracks in Randy’s allegiance to his leader, only to have Bray hold his group together by sheer force of personality.
The build up of “What will Randy do?” should carry over all the way to the start of their match. Let Bray get in a cavalcade of early offense while Randy turtles and refuses to strike back. After a it looks like the match will turn in to a squash and cost Orton his career, Orton should pull a 180 and start fighting back with everything he has. A stunned Wyatt tries his best to get Orton back under his thumb but it is to no avail. A good old-fashioned donnybrook has broken out.
A newly turned babyface Randy Orton has to go over in this match. The story could be that after months of being under Bray’s thumb, he still has a way to go before shaking off the effects. Bray going over clean would continue to build his main event push after years of false starts while Randy could continue his quest to both chase the title and reassert his independence in the months ahead.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE: THE CREATIVE CORNER: Examining Rumble’s potential winners from distinct possibility to outer edges of lunatic fringe