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Vegas Hints Randy Orton Could Return at Wrestlemania 32

Randy Orton

Leave it to Vegas to be the ones to potentially spoil what would be one of the best things that could happen to Wrestlemania 32: the return of WWE’s Apex Predator, Randy Orton.

A few days ago, Bovada released its odds for Wrestlemania, including their picks for the winner of the 3rd Annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Interestingly enough however, of the 16 confirmed participants, not one of them was favored or even ranked in the top two. In fact, of those with top-7 odds, only two, Mark Henry (+600) and Kane (+1000) are actually officially entered into the match. The other five are comprised of three members of the Wyatt Family, Braun Strowman (+125), Bray Wyatt (+500) and Erick Rowan (+1200), NXT’s Samoa Joe (+1000) and perhaps most surprisingly, Randy Orton (+800).

What’s most interesting about including Orton not only among the odds but as a top-4 pick to win, is the fact that Bovada just released these this week. That means other injured superstars such as Luke Harper, who injured his knee on the March 21st edition of Monday Night Raw and Cesaro, who has also been out for some time with a shoulder injury, were factored into the decision making. Had either been able to go, one would imagine, especially in Cesaro’s case as a former winner of the battle royal, would have gotten some action on the books.

This is what makes Randy Orton’s inclusion and not just inclusion but top-4 odds, very, very intriguing. One does not ordinarily look at odds at being potential spoilers but in this case, either Vegas knows something we don’t, or they are hoping to bait people using what now seems like a more than plausible appearance in the tournament by the Viper.

Let’s look at what we know.

It was announced in early November that Orton would require surgery on his dislocated shoulder and that said surgery would take about 4-6 months to heal. Had Orton gotten the surgery in early November, returning in time for Wrestlemania 32 in April, would mean a five month recovery time which is right along with the original report. However, in early December, it was announced on Ric Flair’s podcast that Orton would in fact miss Wrestlemania and that following the shoulder surgery the Viper would need neck surgery would could delay his return an additional 3-6 months. Flash forward to January when Orton wrote this on Instagram:

“As far as my shoulder, I was cut on 12/8. Things are ahead of schedule and I’m pumped to get back to work. As far as my neck, and I’m only debunking this ‘fact’ for the sincerely concerned fans, I DONT need neck surgery.”

So, back to our timeline, if Orton had the surgery on December 8th, that would mean the earliest he could return would be oh look, that first week of April. Not to mention, Orton himself wrote in his Instagram post of being ahead of schedule, something not unsurprising to hear as most wrestlers’ and professional athletes tend to not fall into traditional metrics regarding average recovery time.

Assuming this is the case and Orton is in fact ready for a ring return, there is no reason to keep him from being on Wrestlemania. Given there are open spots in the battle royal, which was perhaps non-coincidentally moved from the kick-off show to the main programming to incorporate a surprise return, there is no better way to insert him into the card either. Not to mention, Orton is at Wrestlemania Axxess, meaning he is already in Dallas, removing one potential hurdle from an appearance.

However, even if Orton is not an official entrant in the battle royal, that doesn’t have to stop him from having an impact on the outcome. This is where three of the other unannounced competitors come into play.

As one might recall, when Orton did require shoulder surgery, he was written off of TV. According to kayfabe, the Wyatts caused the injury, attacking Orton to prevent from him from allying with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns against them as he had been on-and-off for about a month or so. Given the nature of Orton’s character, anything sort of not going after the Wyatt Family as his first priority, would be unbelievable. Orton would have a singular focus on systemically destroying Bray and the family, thereby exacting his revenge.

It’s great because it sets up a tailor-made feud for the two superstars, one that there could be no better place to begin it, than at Wrestlemania.

Even mentioning Orton in the conversation potentially alters how the betting might go, because if hypothetically he does return, there is no way either Braun Strowman or Bray Wyatt, who have the top odds respectively, are winning. That’s because the narrative wouldn’t be about that. It would become less about the outcome of the match itself and more about the future storyline it would set up for the following PPV which could not be more perfectly named: Payback.

So, I’ll say this. Bet at your own risk.

Because if in fact Vegas is on to something with a possible Randy Orton return, that changes everything for the rest of the competitors both announced and unannounced, especially those under the banner of the Wyatt Family.

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