As mentioned in the Rumor Roundup today, via reports from Pro Wrestling Sheet and PW Insider, Randy Orton didn’t wrestle at Backlash last night (Sun., Sept. 11, 2016) in Richmond because he’s dealing with concussion issues. The injury, which was previously unreported and it was thought he didn’t suffer a concussion, apparently came in the match with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam where Orton took multiple hard elbows to the head, leaving him cut open and bloody (and also leading to a wild backstage confrontation between Lesnar and Chris Jericho).
As Insider puts it, Orton hasn’t been able to pass WWE testing to a degree the company would feel comfortable seeing him work a match. He did take a bump at Backlash, delivering an RKO to Bray Wyatt, but he hasn’t been working matches since SummerSlam.
It’s also been noted he was in Pittsburgh last week, where the head of the WWE Wellness policy, Dr. Maroon, is located.
As for the future, obviously WWE has been using him on television and felt comfortable promoting him for a match with Wyatt — who worked with Kane instead, and that plan was in place for up to a week or so, according to Insider — but it’s now completely unclear when he’ll be okay to work again. It’s entirely possible, then, that he won’t be wrestling Lesnar in the SummerSlam rematch they announced for the Chicago house show on Sept. 24.
There are questions to be asked of WWE here. If they knew he had a concussion and couldn’t work, it seems strange they would promote the match across all platforms all the way up until the show was already on the air. It also makes the decision to allow Lesnar to cut Orton open with legitimate elbows to the head look even worse because the injury was worse than they’ve ever said. It’s unlikely anyone from the company would ever admit that was the plan, but because of the widely reported Jericho story, the belief already exists that WWE laid it out in such a way that put Orton in danger of suffering this exact fate, which, again, makes it that much stranger they wouldn’t report on any of this.
This all comes while the company has been hit with multiple lawsuits related to concussions and there’s still a focus on it due to the fact that they’ve been building to a match between The Miz and Daniel Bryan that can’t happen because the latter was forced to retire due to issues related to repeat concussions.
The entire situation is strange and looks really bad for WWE.