Breaking Holds – Episode Two

My least favorite main eventer in professional wrestling these days is probably Mr. Randy Orton. Maybe it’s because of all of those stories circulating about the Internet about what a complete waste of humanity he is (although a recent interview showed him somewhat grown up, excited about his daughter being born, so one never knows), or the seeming immunity he has from the various suspensions that other wrestlers have suffered when they were on the juice. Perhaps it’s his love of the classic Greco-Roman chinlock that needs to be locked on for three minutes at a time so that he can rest, despite the fact that he appears to be in phenomenal shape and is a paltry 28 years old, even though it did create one of my favorite crowd signs of the last ten years (“Another Chinlock, Randy?”).

Regardless, I haven’t been able to get behind Orton since he started, y’know, wrestling, and stopped being a narcissistic, hilariously irritating heel with his RNN, or Randy News Network, updates giving the audience excruciatingly minor updates pertaining to the healing progress of his injured shoulder back in 2002. I remember seeing him then and thinking what potential this guy had, and what a great heel he’d be. Six years later, and I want to smash a brick over his perfectly coifed hair, not because he’s a heel, but because he just bores me to tears with his dull ring pacing and boneheaded promo techniques.

That being said, there’s one thing that needs to be acknowledged: the man looks like the evil heelish gladiator that WWE seems to push him as.

But, hasn’t that always been the way with Vince McMahon? Hasn’t he always valued the looks of his wrestlers over their actual ability? Then again, haven’t we?

Randy Orton, with his slender yet muscular physique, and his perfectly-placed tribal tattoos, seems custom-made to be hated for all the right reasons. He has a naturally smug expression on his face, and his small eyes only seem to add to the serpent-like quality that he imbues himself with when he waits to hit someone with the RKO. He doesn’t do EVERYTHING wrong, certainly, but I feel that his look, and the reaction that his look brings out in an audience, has to be a reason for his continued pushes, even when he struck out again and again and again. He’s pretty enough to be the cocky, good-looking heel, but not so dainty as to head towards those dangerous Adrian Adonis levels (see: Jeff Hardy, Brian Kendrick). Orton also appears to be in amazing shape, despite what his constant restholds might imply.

Triple H is in the same boat, although he has managed to have some absolutely outstanding contests. I don’t mean to say that either of these men have no ability, but just look at Mr. H for a minute. The man gives off the image of the brutish hammer, a Conan for a new age, the chiseled warrior with a strategic mind for the battlefield. His two signature poses show the roar of the savage, as he pumps his arms downward in a lionesque moment of defiance and anger; the second is the eruption of water one that too many wrestling fans have tried to imitate in their shower, throwing his head and arms backward declaring his dominance and demanding your worship. His rippling biceps and enormous pectorals demand our attention, and the crowds cheer for him at deafening levels.

Just as they do for Randy Orton. Go to a live show, and check out how many guys are doing Orton’s pose when he wins or RKOs someone. There’s a large contingent of people who LOVE this man, even as every internet site in the world posts article after article of how much we revile him.

But, ultimately, no matter how much people seem to make noise about their prayers for a return of the Cruiserweight division, we chunky slobs want to see big buff badasses like Triple H and Orton pose and pound on each other, no matter how slowly they do so. I’m a HUGE fan of Chris Jericho, but will he ever be at the level that the other two men enjoy to this day? I doubt it. While Jericho is a pleasure to watch in the ring, he doesn’t elicit the mammoth responses that those two men do. Now, it could be argued that it’s because he’s never been pushed with the ruthlessness and seemingly wild abandon that the two abovementioned gentleman were, and they’d be right. They could also point to the fact that Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy receive enormous pops from the crowd, and are main eventers (although whether Jeff Hardy will maintain that momentum remains to be seen).

However, the truth is far more saddening: while Hardy and Jericho can receive attention here and there, once they start putting on a series of bad matches, or any change in the tides of the fickle crowd are spotted, they’ll be relegated back to the midcard. They receive “shots,” but that’s all. Now, if we can agree on that, someone should explain to me how Randy Orton or the Great Khali can, in their own ways, put on terrible performances on a regular basis (especially when the former has no decent excuse to do so), and yet can remain at the top of the card. How many awful matches did Khali have to have before they allowed Taker to take him out with any real regularity? The freaking Undertaker, who is booked to be an unstoppable machine of destruction and relentless, nearly murderous power, could hardly beat a man that, while certainly tall, was nearly immobile in the ring and could not perform the simplest of actual wrestling maneuvers without the very real fear of killing someone by accident.

While fans cheer for Jericho and Hardy, and internet writers, such as myself, clamor for these smaller men to get more time in the world title picture, the company, and the vast majority of wrestling fans, will continue to cheer for the men who represent that great Herculean ideal, such as Triple H, Orton, and Cena. And yes, I count Cena in that category, since the primary reason why he receives boos is because people are trying to be edgy. I’m waiting for a wrestling fan at a live event to tell me WHY they’re booing Cena other than because, “he sucks,” especially because, as much as many of you might hate to admit it…he actually doesn’t.

So, keep chanting Y2J, and screaming for the Hardys, and for the good of the Universe, bring a sign supporting London and Kendrick, because until they’re able to grate entire cheesewheels across their gloriously massive abdominals, you’ll just get HHH/Orton 9 in an inferno match.

Of course, it should be noted that I have no explanation for the continued push of JBL. Sure, the guy brings the evil, but he also needs to learn the right side of the eliptical machine, smuggling in more pints of Americone Dream than a delivery truck from Vermont.

Every theory has anomalies, after all.

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