Randy Orton will be taking a lot of time off in 2018.
Long-time WWE superstar Randy Orton got another main event push at the start of the year. He was a member of The Wyatt Family, won this year's Royal Rumble and defeated Bray Wyatt to become the new WWE Champion at WrestleMania 33.
But the Legend Killer dropped his title to Jinder Mahal at Backlash and has mainly been a part-time wrestler since. Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura faced Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view this past weekend in a losing effort. That could have also been one of the last times we see Orton for a while.
According to Steve Fernandes of PWInsider.com, Orton will have a "light schedule in January," and is going to take February and March off. Orton should be present at the Royal Rumble but is only being advertised for the Feb. 6, 2018, tapings of SmackDown.
The reasons why Orton will take a lesser workload are unknown at this time. He isn't scheduled to film any movies or television shows, and there aren't any reported injuries on his body.
But the creative team is moving in the right direction with newer talent, led by Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Jinder Mahal, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode and others. In the PG Era, WWE has used many of its veterans like Orton, Cena, Big Show, Kane, Triple H, and Undertaker for part-time roles only.
With this latest report, we can probably rule out Orton winning his second-straight Royal Rumble event. It also remains to be seen who he could possibly feud with at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans—should he be present. We can also expect Orton's feud with Owens and Zayn to end very soon. We don't know what that would mean for Nakamura, though.
Perhaps we'll find out the reasoning for Orton's part-time schedule soon enough.