For better or worse, Randy Orton is still the WWE Champion after WWE Payback, but he will be extremely busy over the coming months based on what the powers that be have planned for him. At Wrestlemania 33, Randy Orton won the WWE Championship from Bray Wyatt in a lackluster match. The “House of Horrors” match didn’t receive a positive response from the WWE fans either, but the WWE Champion is moving on.
The Viper’s WWE Title reign hasn’t been great thus far, but that’s not anyone’s fault. WWE officials, Orton, and Wyatt brought some unique elements into their feud that didn’t necessarily work. That happens, and it’s not a commentary on Orton’s reign going forward. To the surprise of most people, his next title defense will be against Jinder Mahal at WWE Backlash. There are a lot of interesting questions heading into the match.
The WWE Universe continues to speculate if Jinder Mahal could walk out of WWE Backlash the new WWE Champion. It’s being reported that WWE officials are unlikely to give the green light for the title change, but nothing is confirmed. The expectation is Orton will hold the WWE Title for a long time, and the powers that be have some challengers for the WWE Championship waiting in the wings over the next couple of months.
Apparently, WWE decided to elevate Jinder Mahal to the main event and give him a title shot against Orton was because of three reasons. The first was to shock the WWE Universe. The second was to market to a new audience in India, and the final reason was because the powers that be are willing to experiment during a WWE Network PPV because there isn’t as much pressure to huge matches and new stars can have a chance.
If Randy Orton can make it past Jinder Mahal, the expectation is Rusev will return to SmackDown Live and receive a WWE Title shot with Orton at the WWE Money in the Bank PPV. The Bulgarian Brute has been on the cusp of a main event push for some time now, so WWE officials are planning to give him an opportunity after he returns from injury. However, Rusev is also unlikely to win the title from Orton during his chance.
It’s been reported that Baron Corbin is the current frontrunner to win the Money in the Bank briefcase this year, which means a feud with Orton over the WWE Title is imminent. AJ Styles is also expected to begin a huge rivalry with Orton sooner rather than later. Many people are assuming that Orton vs. Styles is the plan for the WWE Title match at WWE Summerslam, but WWE has booked Styles in a feud with Kevin Owens.
WWE officials can always change their minds, but Randy Orton already has a list of challengers to keep him busy through the summer. By all appearances, the powers that be are planning for Orton to hold onto the WWE Championship all the way to WWE Summerslam and possibly beyond. There has been quite a bit of speculation about The Viper potentially turning heel at some point during his WWE Title reign as well.
Much like Brock Lesnar with the WWE Universal Championship on Raw, WWE officials have put the WWE Title on Randy Orton, and they’re going to run with it for the foreseeable future. If these creative plans come to fruition on WWE television, Orton will have defended the title against Bray Wyatt, Jinder Mahal, Rusev, AJ Styles, and possibly Baron Corbin. Four of those stars are fresh to the main event scene, and most of the WWE Universe wants to see Orton vs. Styles. Overall, Randy Orton’s WWE Title reign should be successful.
[Featured Image by WWE]