Randy Orton has been absent from WWE television since May 2022, following an attack by The Bloodline. After undergoing back surgery, doubts arose regarding his potential return and the severity of his injuries. However, recent rumors suggest that the former WWE champion could make his triumphant return as early as Money in the Bank.
While his return will undoubtedly be met with enthusiasm, the question remains: What role will he assume upon his return?
The Bloodline match
One possible scenario involves Randy Orton interfering in The Bloodline's match. The ongoing storyline surrounding The Bloodline has only increased in its momentum since the attack on Orton last May. However, with The Usos branching off from Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa, this sets up intriguing possibilities.
WWE is set to have two “drastic finishes” in mind for the The Bloodline tag team match, WrestleVotes reported. Could Orton be involved given he was last seen facing The Bloodline? It's certainly plausible.
But while it might be tempting to have Orton assist The Usos in defeating Reigns and Sikoa, this storyline appears to be focused on The Bloodline members exclusively. Introducing Orton at this point would only complicate matters, especially considering that a future match of some kind involving all four Bloodline members is likely expected at SummerSlam.
Money in the Bank match
Another option is for Orton to interfere in the men's Money in the Bank ladder match, much like Brock Lesnar's surprise return in 2019. Who could forget when The Beast Incarnate knocked Mustafa Ali off the ladder just as he was about to grab the briefcase. Might WWE attempt something similar with Orton?
Currently, LA Knight and Logan Paul stand out as the favorites in the match. Depending on which of the two Orton were to go after would dictate which type of character he'd be returning as.
Knight has been gaining popularity with the crowd and an interference by Orton could potentially elevate him as the beloved babyface fans are itching for. On the other hand, Paul is already established as a heel, so Orton's interference would likely receive an overwhelmingly positive response. This could potentially lead to a match between them at SummerSlam, adding to Paul's already impressive resume. Nevertheless, the lack of motivation behind either interference scenario makes them seem unlikely.
Gunther vs. Riddle, Intercontinental Championship Match
The most plausible scenario for Orton's return revolves around his former tag team partner, Riddle. Given their previous tag team success as RK-Bro, it is highly likely that Orton's reappearance would occur in a match involving the Original Bro. Although this would most likely position Orton as a heel, it could reignite interest in Riddle's character, who has somewhat lost momentum since his return. Or then again, maybe WWE is leaning on making Riddle a heel?
Either way, at this stage of his career, Orton is inclined to help elevate and establish new stars, making a program with Riddle an ideal opportunity. The recent addition of Riddle's Intercontinental Championship match against Gunther to the card further fuels speculation regarding Orton's return. Despite the potential challenges of portraying Orton as a returning heel against a lukewarm Riddle, this scenario offers the best narrative possibility.
A welcomed Randy Orton return
It's easy to forget about the longevity of Orton's career. In the realm of WWE television, Orton can be considered ancient. Since April 2002, the 43-year-old has been an integral part of WWE programming, spanning over two decades. It's no surprise that the toll of executing his iconic move, the RKO, enduring countless back landings has taken its toll on him.
Yet, wrestlers like Orton possess an indomitable spirit, fueled by a mix of unwavering pride and an inability to let go of the business, even if it has hurt them. Throughout history, the greats have defied all odds and made triumphant returns when they were told it couldn't be done. Icons like Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley, Ric Flair, and The Undertaker are great examples of such. And now, at 43 years old, Orton seems to be following in the footsteps of these legendary figures, despite his age not being considered old by the standards of previous eras.
Orton has attained a legendary status where the cheers he receives are a blend of both respect and adulation. His return will undoubtedly be met with open arms, regardless of when and where it occurs. Should it happen at Money in the Bank, a plethora of opportunities present themselves.