Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Christian Vs. Orton: The Weirdest Feud Ever

A feud that shouldn't have worked, but strangely has
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As we were reminded last night, Christian and Randy Orton have wrestled six times. Twice they went at it on Smackdown, four times on PPV. All six times, they produced critically acclaimed singles bouts. I was able to view four of those, and yeah, they were all the goods. If you looked at the feud in the context of just the match results, you'd wonder why it continued. Orton kept winning and doing so in relatively definitive fashion, excepting Money in the Bank. If you looked at it through the out-of-ring stuff, it started out great when they were both babyfaces and then deteriorated as Christian was continually degraded as a chickenshit heel rather than someone who deserved Orton's respect. However, just watching each match, it was clear why both of these guys were slotted against each other.

Even last night, when it was obvious that Orton was going to win, they both played off the match so tensely and so perfectly that there were spots where I really thought Christian might have won. They made me forget about the overarching storyline, of Mark Henry lookin' to split him the wig of a Viper and the past history of the two where Orton always won and that was that. I think that's the mark of a good feud, that the two guys get along in the ring and make it look like it could go either way.

That's the thing, this feud isn't a good feud. It's a WWE-classic, warmed over, babyface-almost-always-wins (and when he doesn't, it's due to an EXTRAORDINARY circumstance), milquetoast feud where it's clear that it's just a placeholder until someone else, whether it's Cody Rhodes or Wade Barrett or whomever else is ready. (even then, the way that Barrett was treated last night doesn't really bode well for him) By any other sane metric, Christian/Orton has gone on too long and is pretty much a failure. But for the reason that the matches are so damn good, it becomes less and less infuriating that the two are announced together as opponents.

It is weird, but I think it's worked overall. Christian really hasn't been enhanced other than being moved into a token main event heel spot. I mean, you could argue he's at least getting shine and promo time, and that's good, but it really hasn't been as entertaining as a lot of people, myself included, would want it to be. But every time he's in there with Orton, at least I forget about everything else.

I guess it's what good wrestling can do for a tepid at best feud. It can spark legitimate interest. That's why I feel that the Christian/Orton feud in the long run wasn't as bad a failure as it may seem even in the light of context. It's weird, but then again, this whole year has been weird in WWE so far. It's just par for the course.

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