Randy Orton is doing some of the best work of his career on Raw this year. He’s also emerged as a thoughtful voice for the WWE locker room on a wide variety of issues.
The former is surprising because many wrote Orton off years ago as a performer who just went through the motions for a paycheck. The latter because in the past he’d presented himself as having intractable views on some topics, and was rumored to be an immature jerk backstage (and “jerk” is being generous).
Now, however, as one of the last active wrestlers of his generation on the roster - and with the current generation’s pick on the sidelines - Orton is accepting a leadership role among WWE Superstars. At least that’s what Big Show told Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso:
“Ever since I met Randy, I could tell there was something different about the kid. You just knew this guy was a main-event player. Now when you have that kind of success early in your career, sometimes that’s a good thing, but sometimes it’s a bad thing. Randy struggled with it. As wonderful and easy that Randy made everything look, it’s now that he is firing on all cylinders. His promos have been off-the-charts the past few months, and he really believes in what he’s doing.
“Randy has stepped up. I’ve always said that Randy is not John Cena. I used to call Cena ‘Captain America.’ He wanted to work hard and be the leader. Randy always wanted to be the best in the ring, but he didn’t want to be a leader. So that’s the biggest difference I’ve seen. Randy has embraced that leadership role. His presence in the ring and his presence backstage is much bigger and much more concrete than I’ve ever seen.”
Of course, Randy has a head start in the leadership department, thanks to a little thing called attractiveness bias. Orton is a good-looking dude, and that makes people more willing to follow you.
But don’t take my word on it. On his YouTube channel, Rusev recently revealed that everyone in the locker room wants to be bitten by The Viper:
“One time we had a discussion, in Europe, because most of the time we are together. Not most of the time, all of the time... one day we had a discussion of who is the most handsome man in WWE...
“The nominees, I believe, I think it was Randy Orton, I think it was Jeff Hardy - no, we were talking about who is the most sexy, probably, maybe that’s what it was. I don’t know, something of that degree... so yeah, I think it was Randy, I think it was Jeff, I think Shin, because we were thinking about Shin in Japan, he’s like a God, and probably all the girls throw themselves at him. And that’s why we were thinking about Randy and Jeff, they’re very good looking men, and everybody desires them. So we were just trying to figure out, who is the most desirable, or the most sexiest, or whatever. I think it was something like that.
“And I think Randy won - because men and women want Randy Orton.”
So now you know what the locker room thinks of Randall Keith Orton.
What do you think? Would you follow him? Do you want him? Would you follow him because you want him?