DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 08: World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton during the WWE Smackdown Live Tour at Westridge Park Tennis Stadium on July 08, 2011 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
So one of your biggest stars has been back for nearly a month after 60 days of being off TV and yet, he's barely around.
On May 30, WWE announced it had suspended Randy Orton for 60 days due to a Wellness Policy violation. "RKO" had his first strike back in 2006 when he was caught using steroids without a valid prescription. His much ballyhooed incident in which he was suspended for smoking marijuana backstage didn't technically register as a Wellness violation, however, so when he was busted again for steroids in May, it didn't result in a pink slip.
He returned July 29 on Raw to RKO Heath Slater after "The One Man Band" said he was done dealing with Legends and it seemed all was water under the bridge.
But he didn't have a match at SummerSlam and spoilers from last night's (Aug. 21) Smackdown indicate he likely won't have one at Night of Champions either.
Is Orton still being punished for being one hot piss test away from being fired?
Perhaps but there's a more rational explanation for WWE not inserting Orton into any in-depth storylines.
My Cageside colleague Keith Harris brought word earlier this month Orton would be starring in 12 Rounds: Reloaded, a sequel to the 2009 John Cena film.
Harris also pointed out production is slated to begin on Sept. 26 which gives the third generation Superstar a little over a month from now before he's back off WWE TV.
In total, Orton will have had less than two months of availability and Wellness Policy violation or not, that's not a whole lot of time to build any sort of program worth wasting resources on.
It looks like the WWE Universe won't get a full-time "Apex Predator" until Survivor Series rolls around.
Any idea how Orton will be written on TV next month?