There’s been a lot of speculation on whether or not Randy Orton would be ready to return in time for WrestleMania 32 in April. While some have suggested that he will be, there’s really been no official updates on him that have backed up those claims.
Ric Flair, who is close with Orton, gave an update on “The Viper” during his podcast, WOOOOO! Nation, on Friday, and he said that Orton won’t be able to wrestle at WrestleMania 32.
“I’m told (Randy Orton) won’t be ready. Randy’s shoulder surgery was a lot more serious than people understand. He even had it done by a different surgeon this time because he wanted to make sure that… If it pops out just pounding the mat…just imagine what would happen if he took a German from Brock (Lesnar).”
Orton has hypermobile shoulders, which is why he’s had a long history of shoulder dislocations and separations. He’s tried to have the condition fixed once before, but it clearly didn’t work. So, that’s why he’s going to a different surgeon this time.
According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Orton injured his shoulder while taking out the garbage at home last fall. At the time of the injury, Orton was in the middle of a feud with the Wyatt Family; however, the feud wasn’t expected to be a long-term thing.
The Observer also reported that Orton would need neck surgery, and that he could be out of action until early 2017. However, Orton has refuted that report.
“Many of you think I need neck surgery. I heard a few weeks ago that (Dave) Meltzer stated that as fact. I don’t keep up with gossip, so I didn’t think anything of it. As far as my shoulder, I was cut on December 8. Things are ahead of schedule, and I’m pumped to get back to work. As far as my neck, I don’t need neck surgery.”
While Orton reportedly doesn’t need neck surgery at the moment, he is still having neck issues, and he may end up needing surgery in the future.
Orton’s injury was the first of many to come for WWE, as Seth Rollins, Sting, Cesaro, and John Cena all suffered significant injuries in the following months.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon reportedly had the top six matches for this year’s WrestleMania 32 set as early as last spring, but it’s unclear what his plans were for Orton. These days, McMahon isn’t exactly known for his long-term planning, and the injury epidemic in WWE this year could prevent him from planning one year in advance in the future.
It’s interesting that Flair brought up Brock Lesnar while talking about Orton’s injury. That could be an indication that WWE was planning on having “The Viper” wrestle “The Beast” at AT&T Stadium.
Orton vs. Lesnar has happened before, but it’s been 14 years since the match, which took place during Orton’s rookie year on the main roster. It was a one-sided squash match, as Lesnar was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at the time.
Lesnar and Orton have been kept away from each other since “The Beast’s” return to WWE back in 2012, but a match between the two is something that WWE fans are dying to see.
It’s still unclear when Orton will be able to return to the ring. We may have to wait until this summer to see “The Viper” back in action. In fact, we’ll probably be seeing a lot of guys return to the ring this coming summer, as both Seth Rollins and Cesaro are also on-pace to be back in the ring within the next couple of months.
There isn’t exactly an obvious opponent for Orton if he were able to return in time for WrestleMania 32. Pretty much all the top guys have their ‘Mania matches set, so it’s hard to see where Orton would fit in on the card. But, unless “The Viper” surprises us all, that’s likely something that WWE won’t have to worry about.
[Image via WWE]