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What Randy Orton Returning to WWE Means for the Future

The Viper’s Unexpected Return Has Long-Reaching Ramifications for WWE beyond Survivor Series 2023!

By Chris Phelan
Randy Orton walking to the ring

One of the biggest matches in Survivor Series history has been leveled up in a big way thanks to Cody Rhodes reaching out to a living legend the WWE Universe hasn’t seen in over a year, Randy Orton!

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We can all point to Drew McIntyre being the catalyst for this surprising addition to Survivor Series 2023 – after he aligned with The Judgment Day as their fifth member of WarGames, the team of Cody, Jey Uso, Sami Zayn, and Seth Rollins had their backs against the wall. But thankfully, on the November 20 episode of Monday Night Raw, The American Nightmare knew exactly who to call to help even the odds!

RELATED: How to Watch and What to Expect From WWE's Survivor Series 2023

After months of speculation about a possible early retirement for one of the greatest WWE Superstars in history, the WWE Universe can finally rest easy: Randy Orton is back – and he’ll be participating in WarGames!

Orton has been out of action since spring 2022, after he suffered a back injury that doctors feared could keep him out of the ring permanently

What Does Randy Orton’s Return Mean to the WWE Universe?

Randy Orton stands on the top rope of the ring

In a word: Everything.

Short-term, the addition of The Viper to WarGames brings an air of legitimacy to the match. We love every Superstar competing on November 25, but nobody currently in the men’s WarGames match can hold a candle to Orton. Not only is he still incredibly dangerous in the ring – the RKO is still arguably the most dead-to-rights finishing move in WWE today – but Orton’s had the privilege of healing from nagging injuries for nearly a year-and-a-half.

A healthy Randy Orton spells trouble for any Superstar across the ring from him,

Long-term, Orton’s return at Survivor Series signals a renewed effort to climb back to the top of the professional wrestling world. Before he suffered his serious back injury, savvy members of the WWE Universe remember The Viper competing at a high level in the tag team division, winning championships while proving he’s versatile enough to dominate when he has a partner – something that he hasn’t historically shown he can do until recently. 

Will Randy Orton Chase the WWE World Title Record?

Randy Orton stands with his arms outstretched

Of course, Orton currently sits at a jaw-dropping 14 world championship reigns, just two behind John Cena and Ric Flair, who co-hold the record with 16 title wins. A return to full-time WWE action could mean that he could be focusing on breaking the all-time record – after all, Ric Flair is long removed from active competition and John Cena has returned to Hollywood after a brief stint in the ring. At this point in 2023, the Legend Killer is the odds-on favorite to break the record – if it ever gets broken at all.

However, in the eyes of Randy Orton, the only thing stopping him from breaking the world championship record is himself.

So with Survivor Series looming, the WWE Universe will use Orton’s performance during WarGames as the ultimate litmus test. While it’s fair to assume Orton will exhibit at least some ring rust after being out of action for so long, a WWE Superstar on the level of Randy Orton will likely pick up right where he left off. We’re fully expecting him to dish out RKO’s like they’re candy to The Judgment Day at Survivor Series – but as far as the end result of WarGames is concerned, we’re still considering it a complete tossup. Both teams are so evenly matched that we can’t imagine a scenario where either side loses!

We can’t think of a better way for Randy Orton to officially reintroduce himself to the WWE Universe than getting involved in the brutal WarGames – but of course, it’s not really about what Orton does on November 25 that matters.

It’s what he does after. 

You can tune in to Peacock to watch WWE's Survivor Series on November 25. In the meantime, catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.