WWE’s Apex Predator has a lighter schedule than most wrestlers with the company, but the reason why you haven’t seen Randy Orton on SmackDown Live recently is due to an injury. It has been reported that Orton has undergone knee surgery for a meniscus tear.
Apparently, The Viper has needed the surgery since last year. His body either could not wait any longer or WWE officials thought it was a good time for him to get healthy. The timetable for his return is at least three months, according to Pro Wrestling Unlimited.
Related: Randy Orton Recovering From Knee Surgery
On paper, that would put him as questionable for Summerslam in August. It’s possible WWE officials will implant him into a feud or a match for the event. The expectation is Orton won’t return to WWE programming until after the biggest party of the summer.
Before his injury, The Viper was involved in the United States Title hunt. He was finally able to hold the championship for a brief time, but Orton didn’t have much momentum going for him and a long break from WWE television could be a great thing for him.
Randy Orton would benefit in a free agent role similar to what John Cena has done for the last year. He’s a veteran who could help get over many young superstars but being stuck on one brand has left him without a rivalry more than once. A lot of the problem might be his staleness as a babyface, which has always been an issue during his career.
With AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan leading the charge on SmackDown, Orton could have a more impactful role on Raw. A return to the Intercontinental Title hunt might be a huge opportunity for him to do something meaningful again on WWE programming. Until he returns from his knee surgery, the only thing for the WWE Universe to do is wait.