Following his anticipated return during the climax of the men’s WarGames match at Survivor Series, Randy Orton appeared on the Nov. 27 episode of Raw and stated his intentions to get revenge on The Bloodline for injuring him.
Of course, The Bloodline are SmackDown-exclusive stars. So, if Orton wanted to get his hands on them, he needed to find a way to join them on Friday nights. The show’s general manager, Nick Aldis, gave “The Viper” an avenue to quench his thirst for retribution.
All Orton needed to do was sign his name on a SmackDown contract.
How did Randy Orton become a part of the SmackDown roster?
On the Dec. 1 episode of SmackDown, Aldis told Paul Heyman about his plans to sign Orton to his show. Naturally, this upset “The Wiseman”, who understood Orton’s threat to Universal Champion Roman Reigns’ title run, but he wasn’t the only one miffed over this development.
Continuing his professional rivalry with Aldis, Raw GM Adam Pearce objected to his contemporary’s intentions and hoped to make his push for the future Hall of Famer. This set the stage for a bidding war for Orton’s services.
That negotiating battle took place during the show’s main event segment. Pearce promised Orton a world title shot if he linked up with Raw while Aldis reaffirmed his promise to give him The Bloodline. Still, Orton remained undecided until Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa teamed up to attack him.
Fortunately for Orton, LA Knight, who also has issues with the Bloodline, ran down and evened the odds for him. With the ring clear of the heels, Orton handed the Raw contract back to Pearce and inked his name on the SmackDown one. Then, he thanked his new boss with an RKO.
We’ll see if Orton dropping Aldis with his finisher leads to anything significant — hopefully, WWE doesn’t plan on turning Aldis into a heel authority figure to feud with Orton — but it’s clear what Orton’s immediate direction is.
As the Universal titleholder for over 1,000 days, Reigns has run short on fresh opponents (and that’s been true for a while). If WWE plans on staging the rematch between him and Cody Rhodes for WrestleMania XL, it will need a couple of bridge opponents for its top heel before the big show in Philadelphia.
Orton is the ideal fit for that role. He certainly has the name value to share a pay-per-view (or Premium Live Event) marquee with Reigns and he’s at the point in his career where losses to wrestlers like “The Tribal Chief” won’t damage his credibility. He makes more sense for that spot than Knight, who needs to be protected as an ascending babyface star and probably shouldn’t drop a second match to Reigns.
Of course, Reigns is on one of his extended leaves, so WWE will likely fill the time before his return by having Sikoa and Uso spar with Orton. We’ll find out if that’s enough to keep fans interested in the feud while they wait for the champ.