Backstage Update On WWE's Plans For Randy Orton & How It Views His Return

While it almost got lost in the hoopla that was CM Punk's return, Randy Orton's return at Survivor Series was just as monumental, with the long-time WWE star helping Cody Rhodes, Sami Zayn, Jey Uso, and Seth Rollins prevail over The Judgment Day in WarGames. It was a long time coming, as "The Viper" had spent over a year and a half on the shelf recovering from a back injury, one that at times looked like it could end his Hall of Fame career.

Now that he's back, Orton and WWE are wasting no time getting him back into the swing of things. Fightful Select reports that Orton is primed for big things now that he's officially joined the "WWE SmackDown" brand, including a feud with the Bloodline stable. This was made obvious onscreen last Friday when Orton rejected "WWE Raw" to sign with "SmackDown" after "SmackDown" GM Nick Aldis offered Orton matches against the group (and also after they attacked him).

Another hint that Orton and Roman Reigns are destined to cross paths is producer Michael Hayes, who not only produces most of the Bloodline's segments but produced both Orton's "Raw" and "SmackDown" appearances last week. As for Orton's appearance on "Raw," the decision was made for him to appear there before joining "SmackDown" in order for Orton to wrap up loose ends with both Jey Uso and The Judgment Day, giving him a clean slate for "SmackDown."

As for Orton's work since he returned, WWE is said to be over the moon about both how his return at Survivor Series came across, his performances on both "Raw" and "SmackDown," and especially his conditioning. All in all, it appears everything is coming up Orton in his first weeks back.