One of the best things about the last year in WWE is the formation of the odd couple tag team of Randy Orton and Riddle. Brilliantly named RK-Bro, the duo has become the most entertaining part of Raw. It gave a new charge to a stale Randy Orton, allowing his character to expand past his usual heelish ways.
Usually, by this point, The Viper has turned on his tag partner, but it’s looking like it might not happen this time. The angle has also pushed Riddle into the main event scene, where his humor and charisma have elevated him into a fan favorite. But now with Orton suffering a back injury that has him rumored to be out through the rest of 2022, what does Riddle do without him?
RK-Bro Was An Unexpected Surprise
When RK-Bro first formed last year, fans were left disappointed and scratching their heads. It seemed to be just another random WWE pairing that put the two together and a demotion for Randy Orton, who had been in the world championship scene. How could WWE reduce one of their all-time greats to being in a mismatched tag team with a comedy act?
Those thoughts changed as we saw Orton and Riddle interact on a weekly basis. Their different personalities created magic together and quickly became the most loved part of Raw. It has been a joy to watch Orton’s serious character show a softer and more fun side. It’s equally entertaining to watch Riddle get to showcase his super-over sense of humor. Every fan seems to love him and many were calling for him to win the Royal Rumble or Money in the Bank. By putting himself next to Orton, he has risen to a main event level star.
For months, fans waited for the usual storyline to play out. At any moment, Orton was sure to strike Riddle down. He did once, early in their time together, but Riddle’s dedication wore Orton down, and they’ve been a team ever since. What seemed a horrible idea at first has become a stroke of genius. When it was learned that Orton himself requested to work with Riddle, that this was not a random idea, it made sense. The legendary Randy Orton saw something promising in Riddle and wanted to go along for the ride with him.
Can Riddle Stay A Main Eventer Without Randy Orton?
Recently, Randy Orton suffered a back injury that is rumored to have him on the shelf for many months, leaving Riddle on his own for the first time in a year. His character hasn’t changed. He’s still funny, still riding around on his scooter. Fans still love him, even though he’s not standing next to Orton anymore. How long can that go on, though?
A few weeks ago Riddle challenged Roman Reigns for his undisputed championship on SmackDown. Of course, he lost. No one expected him to win. Still, he put on a high-caliber match that had fans heavily invested. The only issue is that the match had long been rumored to be the main event of Hell in a Cell. Without Orton (who was thought to be Reigns’ SummerSlam opponent), it was suddenly downgraded to a TV match, making many wonder if WWE sees less of Riddle without Randy Orton near him.
So what does Riddle do while waiting for Orton to return? A return to the world championship scene doesn’t seem likely. Gunther and Bobby Lashley are so perfect as the Intercontinental and United States champions that one shouldn’t wish for their runs to end anytime soon, even to someone as popular as Riddle. Right now it looks like a feud with Seth Rollins is in his future, which is perfect for both men. But can Riddle stay fresh with the same stoner gimmick? It would benefit him to not drop the character, but to still show a serious side more often before his shtick gets stale.
What Happens When Randy Orton Returns?
If Randy Orton is out until 2023, what should WWE do with him and Riddle when he returns? The obvious approach would be to finally break the team up. It has run its course. And if Orton returns early in the year, it sets up a perfect opportunity to have him and Riddle clash at WrestleMania.
While everyone expects Orton to be the one to turn, it would be a fascinating story to have Riddle be the one to take Orton out and turn heel. He could be angry that Orton has returned, having found out that he could be successful on his own. It’s a risky move to pull such a drastic change to a popular character, but it would be the perfect twist and ending to what has been a great story. Riddle has shown how good of a babyface he can be. It would be interesting to see what he can do as a heel. After all, he learned from the best.