Randy Orton has been off WWE TV since he and Riddle competed in the Tag Team Championship Unification match with The Usos on the May 20 episode of Friday Night SmackDown. Riddle announced on the following episode of Raw that Orton was out with a back injury, but given that many rumors have pointed towards him wrestling Roman Reigns at SummerSlam it was assumed the injury was merely for storyline purposes. But according to Sean Ross Sapp the back injury is real and it could keep him on the shelf for the rest of 2022.
Sapp wrote on Fightful Select that Orton needed work done on his back in order for him to be healthy enough for the tag match, but that his condition has worsened since then. It’s possible that he’ll need surgery, which would prevent him from wrestling until 2023. WWE has already pulled him from their creative plans.
Orton was a guest on The Ringer Wrestling Show back in January and talked about his future plans in pro wrestling, saying he wants to keep competing until he’s 50. He already has the record for most pay-per-view matches in WWE history by a male wrestler and 14 world championship reigns to his name.
“A lot of people ask me what my legacy [will] be,” he said in a separate interview with WWE’s YouTube channel. “I think, if you’re talking WWE more specifically, my legacy will be that I was the next guy — after The Undertaker — that was the only person that never went anywhere else, and had more matches, more titles, more accolades.
“I don’t care if Roman Reigns… I’m sure he’s got Dwayne Johnson’s agent’s number on speed dial. Roman will be in Hollywood, I’ll still be here,” he added. “I’m in my prime, ladies and gentlemen. I got a long way to go. My legacy will be that I did it longer than anybody.”
Orton spent the bulk of 2021 building up a tag team partnership with Riddle as RK-Bro, which wound up becoming one of the hottest acts on Monday Night Raw. The pair first won the Raw Tag Team Championships at SummerSlam, dropped them to Alpha Academy in January, then won them back in March. Riddle is booked to face Reigns for his championship on this week’s SmackDown and, if he loses, he can’t challenge for the title again as long as Reigns holds it.