Randy Orton Officially Joins WWE SmackDown Roster, Kicks Off Feud With The Bloodline

CM Punk might be a free agent within WWE, but the other man who returned at WWE Survivor Series, Randy Orton, has made his decision. In the main event segment of Friday's "WWE SmackDown," Orton accepted "SmackDown" GM Nick Aldis' offer to become an official member of the blue brand — even giving Aldis an RKO afterward, as if to seal the deal.

Orton signing the "SmackDown" contract was the culmination of a segment that saw both Aldis and his "WWE Raw" counterpart, Adam Pearce, make in-ring pleas to retain Orton's services, with Pearce offering Orton a World Heavyweight Championship match while Aldis offered him revenge on The Bloodline, who (in storyline) were responsible for Orton's lengthy absence due to injury. At this point, Paul Heyman interrupted, intending for Bloodline members Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa to demolish Orton before he could sign anything; in reality, Heyman just seemed to make Orton's choice easier. After LA Knight came down to even the odds and fought off Sikoa, Orton delivered an RKO to Uso before eagerly putting pen to paper and telling Heyman inform his Tribal Chief that "daddy's home."

Orton immediately resuming his feud with The Bloodline not only makes storyline sense — he was reportedly in line for a match against Reigns at SummerSlam 2022 before being put on the shelf, a spot that was eventually filled by Brock Lesnar — it also lines up with recent reporting, which has suggested that Orton is on the short list for Reigns' opponent at the 2024 Royal Rumble.