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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Randy Orton: A Great Heel
July 5, 2006 by C.T. Pontes


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A good heel is one that the fans just love to hate. Whenever he enters the ring, it is almost certainly to a chorus of boos. Examples of heels who I feel fit the description are Triple H (before he became more of a tweener/face), nWo in its prime, and, to some extent, Vince McMahon. However, there is a wrestler out there who at the moment is generating a lot of heat, who I think could become one of the best heels of all time. That man's name is Randy Orton.

Over the past year, Orton has been making great strides both in the ring and on the microphone. He is a very sound technical wrestler, and each time he enters the ring there is the potential for a very memorable match. On the mic, Orton's speaking abilities are among the tops in the business. His feud with the Undertaker was generally well received by the fans, and he cut several excellent promos during it.

One that I remember happened on SmackDown! after Orton drove Eddie's low rider into the stage with Taker on it the previous week. He came out, cocky as usual, and declared, "The Undertaker's dead! I killed him!" The lights then went out, and when they turned back on Taker's voice was heard, challenging Orton to Hell in a Cell. Orton masterfully played scared, as the best heels do, praying, falling around the ring and being is a general state of dismay.

Orton's feud with Rey Mysterio was also a memorable one. Although he did use questionable means to generate the heat, (mainly two comments: One saying Eddie was in Hell, and one saying Rey has as good a chance of winning as Eddie has of coming back to life) the fans were dialled into the feud and could not wait to see what would happen next.

At the moment, Orton is extremely over with the fans. He is booed, although he does have quite a following of fans who love to see him win, as he often uses illegal means to gain the advantage. Whenever he appears at a press conference preceding a pay per view, he usually gets a least one "RKO!" chant. However, that's not to say that he doesn't receive some guff from the fans, as seen at the Vengeance press conference, where they told him that "You tapped out!"

An underrated aspect of being a heel is instantly recognizable theme music. Orton, in my opinion, has the best theme music in the WWE. It's a song that I would put on a CD for pleasure listening. When that music hits, starting with that almost static sound, the fans instantly know that, as JR would say, "business is about to pick up." Think about your favorite wrestlers of the past and present, heel or face: I guarantee you can remember their music, if not all the lyrics if the song had them.

If Orton can continue on his path, there is no doubt that he can be one of the most memorable heels in the history of wrestling. Equipped with the excellent angle of the cocky, good-looking jerk that kills legends, it's hard to tell how big of a villain he can become. If Orton ends up killing the legend of Hulk Hogan at Summer Slam or WrestleMania, which is being speculated, and he can stay out of trouble, the legend of the Legend Killer will become even greater.

by C.T. Pontes ..


Tealmania wrote:
I think Orton is one of most annoying heels I have seen since Sid Vicious In WCW. And that is not a good thing he is annoying in a lot of ways his tactics in the ring, his music, his tactics out the ring, and his cockiness. But what I really hate about Orton is his mouth, but that is what he is paid to do entertain us.
Andrew Murray wrote: Yes...and No

Orton is good at what he does. Admittedly i am one of the many who sit there with severe dislike at his mockery and callous behaviour, but then again if i feel that way that obviously means he is doing his job...

His efforts against Undertaker were applaudable, given the longevity and the results that came out of the pay per views. A Hell-in-a-Cell was inevitable given the nature of the 'Taker's history but the most interesting feature was how Orton (hated or not) made the issue live and succeeded in lifting a possibly 1 sided affair into one of the better Smackdown feuds of 2005.

But he isnt the best.

Blatant anti-Orton bias aside, Edge has done more for the nature of heels in this business than Orton Jr,even more than Triple H (not even touching Shawn Michael's brief dabbling in the role against Hogan). In hindsight Eddie Guerrero also deserved some serious kudo's for his more recent (and last) effort against Rey but im getting sidetracked...

Sustained and by now damned well practised, Edge has brought new life into a struggling RAW brand. The ongoing HHH/Batista and then after the Draft HHH/Cena Title shots were by (and dare i say including) Wrestlemania boring and if anything more predictable than the PPV's. Every single aspect of his wrestling from his Money In The Bank win has moulded his character into universally hated - but in the longterm - very very successful. A success Orton has very noticeably failed to obtain.

The RAW/Smackdown War was lopsided and if it wasnt for i think the long term interests of RAW, the results we saw could have been so much more worse. Sylvan wimped out and copped a hiding from Hardcore Holly. Edge took the smarter option and got himself "excluded", thereafter playing an interesting (and typically heel) role in the then RAW tag-team champs pummeling Batista 3 ways from Sunday.

Consider his more recent fights. TLC against Ric Flair went down as one of the greatest of its kind. Ditto the IC title shot at NY Revolution. The long term spat with Foley i thought was timed beautifully. Pit an up and coming heel with a short history of hardcore fights against one of the only stars of the older generations propping up RAW (not that i would ever say that in Flair Country...). The resulting Wrestlemania fight should at least go down as one of Foley's better...and probably THE fight that has now given Copeland serious title credibility.

Admittedly the "Co-Hardcore" Champions thing was a bit of a curveball. But notice how Edge still did not lose what he created - that heel mentality of 1 for all and all for himself. He took up the alliance, went into the Lion's Den and wore the full brunt of a very fast returning ECW.

I think the phrase was "I'm not Pro-WWE and im not Pro ECW - I'm Pro Edge". He will still fly the RAW flag cos they sign his paychecks, but make no mistake how he will walk into any arena, manage to piss off any possible crowd (ie Philly) and still walk out a champion.

Randy Orton's use of Eddie's memory in his rant against Mysterio was at best uncalled for and at worst disgraceful. Respect the dead and what they left us. Great wrestler, will be here for decades but still needs to think about the ramifications of what he does.

As for Edge...i still consider him the only Mr Money In The Bank. Because he sure as hell is cashing in. Good money in being a heel nowadays. Especially a truly great one.
CurtisC wrote:
He makes a decent heel but a poor face. A lot of people compare him to The Rock but he doesn't have the charisma or the energy that Rock has. He's too mellow and laid back. Whenever The Rock get's on the mic it sounds like he's had 10 cups of coffee. Orton sounds like he's on tranquilizers.

Also, it's odd that you and a lot of other people like his theme considering how much he hates it. He said it sounds terrible, it doesn't fit him, and that the lyrics sound like they were written by kindergardners. This was in a recent interview on some radio station in the UK.
Harry Sassoon wrote:
I agree Randy Orton, a third generation superstar is one the best there is but also one of the most memorable heels I have ever seen but you said something about Eddie Guerrero and when he said the words "Eddie's in hell" to Rey Mysterio, I thought that he was told to say that by the WWE in the script and I was upset because Eddie was one of my favourite wrestlers and it was disrespectful to Eddie too.

The RKO chants barely happen on TV because not many people like his character. When he first joined the WWE and faced Hardcore Holly in his first match I wasn't sure his charater would be big because he looked like a boring rookey like John Cena but they both turned out so good. Randy is the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in the WWE and that's how he will be remembered for now.

He was also a member of evolution for a couple of years with start like Ric Flair, Batista and Triple H and that made him more known because he was with the big boys and he was untouchable and if you messed with him, you messed with the rest of evolution too.

You also mentioned his entrence if good. I like it too. In smackdown vs raw and smackdown vs raw 2006 I have had it as my entrence because it's good but most entrences sound better when there's a croud cheering for them so it would sound better if the croud like Orton more.

I also agree with the legend killing bit. If he would one day face Hulk Hogan at wrestle mania and beats Hogan who is a hall of famer he would have a really good chance of being in the Hall of Fame too.
Ernesto Diaz wrote:
Yes, you totally speak the truth on Randy Orton being a great heel. He has the ability to be a great heel. I am a big fan of Randy Orton and I want him to stay as a heel. Although I didn't like the remarks he made abot Eddie Guerrero. He was great as IC Champion and I hope the WWE give him another title shot. P.S. He does have the best entrance music!!
Anonymous wrote:
I agree completely that Orton is great heel but not perfect. I personally love Edge and think that he is the greatest heel of his generation and I also love his theme song and I know almost all of the words, because on this day I see clearly.
Stephen Y wrote:
This was a good article about one of my favourite wrestlers at the moment. He hashad some memorable fueds in the WWE. I remember when he first debuted and he wore blue Adiidas shorts, and his finisher was a cross body from the top rope, I knewhe potential to be a star. He moved to Raw, and injured his arm, and I remember his funny \"RNN\" updates on his njury. He joined Evolution and this made him a main-eventer. I read he doesn\'t like his entrance music, even though it\'s the best music at the moment in WWE. Just out of interest, has he ever used the \"Super RKO\" that he uses on the SmackDown vs Raw game"
Jon Rosaler wrote:
Orton is now getting a few cheers now, following up to his feud with Hogan. Randy is not the only heel to exploit Eddie's death. JBL and Mark Henry were no different. With Orton on Raw, I'm gonna say he's the Third Best heel on Raw. First, it's Edge, then Mcmahon, then him.

He's a great heel, no doubt, but not the best.
Nate R. wrote:
I have to agree with C.T. here. The Legend Killer has developed into a very entertaining WWE superstar. Questions arose after his 60 day absence, as to whether or not he could make the same heel impact with his return, and he has answered the questions with continuous RKO's and boos from the fans. At still a very young age, Randy Orton has a very bright future ahead of him in this heel role. Great article C.T., keep them coming. -
Kevin Hill wrote:
Thank you. I have loved Randy Orton since his WWE debut. I have heard some people criticize him but when I asked why, they could give no reason. I think he can become one of the greatest heels of all time as well, just as long as he stays ot of trouble, and WWE doset make the mistake of turning him face.
FJ Parlan wrote: He CurtisC, this is for you, well, for the benefit of the others too.
The theme that Orton referred to as "sounds terrible, it doesn't fit me, and the lyrics sound like they were written by kindergardners..." is the theme that he previously had before this. Alright" =) Peace.

His current theme "Burn in my Light" by Mercy Drive is a really good song. I like it.
Michael Stone wrote:
Hey Great Article, and to "Unknown" Well Randy orton is doing his job as a great heel, because you feel the same way WWE wants you to feel about a heel, it's like that 14 year old kid's column about the rise and fall of edge. I have to agree, orton is a great heel, but as others have said and it's true, Edge is not only the biggest heel in WWE (because The Great Idiot and Henry are not putting up a good fight, and King Booker is entertaining, and I can't wait for his 1 month title run!) but he is currently the MVP of WWE, But orton will be a big heel when he feuds with HHH in the latter part of 2006, I would love to see him feud with Cena, maybe he (like edge, HHH and Y2J) Can put interest into a Cena Feud. Hopefully randy can get a good title run if his backstage tactics don't bring his downfall. Anyway once again, great article! Long Live Mr. Money in the bank!
Kyle Gurrent wrote:
When I first started to even notice orton, he had just won the title at summerlam from chris benoit(which Im still pissed about) and the next night on raw I believe orton was celebrating in the ring with evolution when trips gave him the thumbs down and batista dropped him, I was shocked! But the next day I ran it threw my head and could see why it was done. Anyway, I anticpated that next raw all week until it finally came. Trips gave a promo as to why he did it, and It really hyped me up for orton to come out. And then his new music....... "hey,nothing you can say" I was jumping up and down, sitting at the very edge of my set waiting to hear what he would say. And then....... Once those first 12 words came out of his mouth, I shook my head, took a deap breath and word by word I slowly creeped back into my set, And then the hype was gone and now the only thing I was thinking about was, "man is this guy boring". You see, having mic skills is what drives a fued, and if there's going to be a face with weak mic skills it's not so good. But if it's a heel with weak mic skills then thats bad, real bad. Becuase if that heel cannot convince you that he really doesn't like his opponent by either stating something negative about him that everyone was thinking about him but never told him to his face ( Like what foley did to flair on raw by calling him an old man who needs to retire) then the heel has failed to get the crowd involved in the storyline and they have turned that fued into a filler. Just like this hogan/orton fued is going to end up, a filler, (incase you haven't noticed the crowds reation or lack there of) Especially if orton is the heel, because orton is not a normal guy(like cena, who has a basic understanding of what is funny but is not charsmatically gifted) , he is surely not a funny guy (like the rock, who has the ability to keep the crowd eating his every word becuase he has been charismaticaly gifted by the genitics of either his father or mother). So then what is orton" He is simply a boring guy, he can't wooo a crowd becuase he can't keep them awake, so if orton wants his fued with hogan or any other fued in his career to succeed he's going to need to rely on his in ring skills to translate into hate for his opponent, and not his mic skills (which are non-existing).

So to sum this all up, orton is not a great heel, he's not even a good heel,but he has the ''potiental" to be a truely great heel, and that's if he can manage to relize that he cannot talk fluently and starts to try and keep his talking to a minimum. But, Judging by his backstage reports though, its going to take a slap in the face from a established star to help orton shut-up and do what he is good at and thats wrestle, not talk.
Paul Hunt, Manchester uk wrote:
I have seriously mixed feelings about orton, that are the main reasons I would give for making such an grand statement. He's a classic second generation wrestler (his longest story arch centred around assistance from his legendary father "Cowboy" Bob), getting breaks in terms of stories and squashes and the monicher "Legend Killer", a great angle to provide maximum individual coverage from the interest in real superstars he is lined up against. Generally he comes off as cheep and disinterested in the crowd, not helped by his egotistical persona. This negativity is offset, however, by a fascinating athleticism in execution, wrestling skill on the big-stage making for superb p-p-v matches and a proffesionalism in taking the falls, working with opponents and working his angles. Unfortunatley, the positioning of Orton thus falls down. How can he be a truly epic heel when he will never be top billing like Edge or Triple H and be seen as the central protagonist, or incite the revulsion that NWO or Rowdy Roddy could with every dirty trick" He is enigmatic in being too good, but not in a particlarly effective direction. Pure ego doesn't work for a heel as ruthlessness is very different from visciousness. My pick for favourite heel in the current WWE would certaintly be William Regal. He just looks, talks and wrestles nasty, a simple formula that doesn't require five minutes of telling the crowd to "Shut Up" and taking the mickey out of Rey Mysterio to achieve. Personally, I believe Orton would suit a baby-face tag-team set up for a while. My mum loves him, which is always a start for good faces.
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