When World Wrestling Entertainment announced it had suspended superstar Randy Orton for his second violation of the company's Wellness Policy, I can't say I was surprised. To be honest, I expected this was a matter of when, not if. Though he may be one of the WWE's top superstars, and one of the biggest in the past ten years, he has had his fair share of issues both in and outside the ring.
While this obviously creates a huge problem for the WWE writers, who are now burdened with having to deal with the loss of Chris Jericho for 30 days as well as Orton for the next 60 days, that isn't the most important aspect of this story. Yes, those writers will have to work harder to compensate for the losses of two of the company's top wrestlers, but there is something else at stake here.
Before I get into that, let me be clear that I completely support the WWE's Wellness Policy. I know that there are plenty of people who scoff at it as nothing more than lip service to mollify critics, and perhaps that's true. The same thing can be said about the steroid testing policy of any sport. Major League Baseball saw the reigning MVP test positive for a performance-enhancing drug this past winter, a player who ultimately escaped suspension by appeal. Is the WWE's Policy perfect? Not by a long shot, but name a sport which has a testing program above suspicion.
Like baseball, the WWE allows a wrestler to have three strikes before being terminated. This is Orton's second violation, which is why his suspension is 60 days. If he violates the policy again, the WWE will be forced to let him go. That is a situation that the company, Orton himself, and the fans would loath to see. I'd be willing to wager the only people rooting for that to happen would be rival wrestling outfit TNA, in hopes they could bring him in. Losing a major star like Orton would be devastating to the WWE, much like any baseball team losing an important player. While the loss of a headline player will impact a team's win-loss record, it also hurts at the gate as paying fans may be slightly reluctant to pay to watch a team without their superstar. That's the pain the WWE would feel.
The WWE has yet to release what the violation consisted of. Perhaps it was steroids, perhaps it was some other PED, or maybe it was something as simple as marijuana, which Orton has previously been suspended for using backstage. Until they do, everything is nothing more than speculation and guessing.
I'm not a fan of Orton's on-screen persona at all. I haven't been for much of his career, which, I suppose, is exactly what the WWE wants. For years there have been repeated instances of Orton acting like a child backstage, which made me like him even less. However, I respect his in-ring talent and ability to a very high degree. In that regard, there are few wrestlers I appreciate more than Orton. He has obviously put in countless hours of work to become one of the best wrestlers in the industry today.
For that reason alone, I would hate to see him leave the WWE under such circumstances. Hopefully, he can get his act together now that his back is against the wall in regards to his final strike with the company.
A. Orien Avery is a lifelong professional wrestling fan as well as a passionate supporter of the New York Mets. He is also a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Follow @aorienavery on Twitter.
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