WWE legend Randy Orton, absent since May 2023, is purportedly gearing up for an eagerly-awaited ring return. Recently, "The Viper" was identified at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Moreover, according to Fightful Select via WrestlingNews.co, Orton's distinctive tour bus has been consistently seen around the facility.
BodySlam.net substantiates the buzz, revealing that their sources have spotted Orton intensively training at the Performance Center over the last three weeks. For fans, the presence of Orton's tour bus at the center is an almost symbolic confirmation of his impending return.
In May, Orton's prognosis appeared bleak. His father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, announced that doctors had cautioned his son against ever stepping into the ring again due to a severe back injury. Just a month back, PWInsider relayed that Orton was still medically indisposed for action.
However, the current signals strongly suggest that Orton is inching closer to the squared circle. Although reports as recent as August insinuated his prolonged absence, Orton has evidently been harnessing the downtime. He's reportedly bulked up, adding significant muscle mass, and recovering from a career-jeopardizing lower back fusion surgery.
This surgical procedure is considered an outlier even in the hard-hitting world of pro wrestling.
Orton's 50-Year Goal
Aged 43, Orton has publicly expressed his aspirations to continue wrestling until 50. With an accommodating schedule of 80 annual appearances, this ambition, while ambitious, appears feasible, contingent on his back's resilience.
Before his injury, Orton's charisma was unmistakable. His alliance with Matt Riddle, forming the tag team "RK-Bro", was a crowd favorite. Orton's seasoned two-decade-long presence in the ring always garnered electrifying responses.
WWE is at a juncture where they could use Orton's charisma. With stars like Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar making infrequent appearances, the stage is set for Orton. The euphoria from appearances by icons like The Rock and John Cena on last week's SmackDown reinforces this.
In the pantheon of WWE, Orton has graduated from a young, promising wrestler to an emblematic figure. Just an RKO, his signature move, sends fans into a frenzy. His return, however anticipated, shouldn't be hasty. Emulating part-time legends like Brock Lesnar or Trish Stratus, Orton's appearances should be select but impactful, providing a dose of nostalgia while keeping the anticipation alive.