Randy Orton, for better or for worse, has been one of the most consistently good performers on the WWE roster. Unfortunately for him, he’s never consistently great. His last few “big money matches” haven’t exactly set the world on fire. He’s getting staler than refrigerated bread, but I believe that with the right opponent, Orton will really shine.
For Orton to have a truly awesome match, his opponent has to wrestle a different style from him. Think of his great opponents: Christian, CM Punk, Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan. These are all guys who wrestle differently than Orton. Think of the dud matches. Wyatt, Cena, and Triple H come to mind. They all wrestle in a similar style to Randy.
With that said, here are three opponents for the Viper who could truly bring out the best in him, and WWE would be smart to have these matches happen before the end of the year.
Randy Orton v. Sami Zayn
If I’m right (and I probably am), Randy Orton and Sami Zayn have never faced each other. At all. Zayn appeared when Randy was injured, and they were separated in the Draft. Their only interactions have been a tag team match, a backstage segment, and a mid-air RKO at the Royal Rumble. If WWE was smart, they’d save this match for a big occasion.
The Apex Predator and the Under(Ground)Dog seem like they would be perfect opponents for each other. Zayn wrestles a high-energy style that Randy can feed off. Randy, in turn, would be a great foil for Zayn. It would also bring out a bit more of Orton’s technical side. Think of when Dean Ambrose faced AJ Styles; it brought out a side of Dean Ambrose that isn’t seen often. Both men were attempting to out-wrestle each other. Hopefully the same thing happens for Randy and Sami.
AJ Styles v. Randy Orton
Yeah, they may have wrestled each other on Smackdown once, but that was just a TV match. Try to remember what a match it was. Now turn it up to 11, and then we’d have a potential 5 star match.
Styles is arguably one of the top 5 wrestlers in the whole world today. Orton is one of the most consistently smooth performers on the roster. Pair them up, and that’s a recipe for an instant classic.
Orton has said so himself that he wants to face Styles again. He’s probably serious, and when Randy is serious, he will deliver. Styles can motivate Randy in a way that very few other people could. Styles always performs at such a high caliber, and Randy will want t match that.
This sounds like such a money match up. Imagine a pay-per-view headlined by a WWE Championship match between Orton and Styles. Who wouldn’t watch that?
Randy Orton v. Shinsuke Nakamura
Randy and Shinsuke have often been compared to one another. They’re both so talented, but they’re prone to coasting and resting on their laurels when they don’t care. One main difference is that Nakamura has more classic matches to his name.
Obviously they’ve never had a chance to wrestle each other before, what with Orton being WWE born and raised and Nakamura performing on a different side of the globe. Even when WWE signed Nakamura, people didn’t think this match could or would happen. Now it is very much a real possibility.
Both men are so effortlessly good in the ring. They make everything look so easy. If they were to go all out against each other, that would be a match worth paying ($9.99 only on the WWE Network!) for. You would get to see two natural talents lock horns in a match made in heaven.
Think of what a reign as WWE Champion Randy could have had if he defended the title against opponents such as these. It would have been lauded as one of the greatest ever. Still, even if Randy isn’t champion, these matches are still very much big money.