Randy Orton WWE Return Update Ahead of WrestleMania 39

Randy Orton has been off WWE TV since May 2022 after he and Matt Riddle (as RK-Bro) dropped the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Usos in a title unification match on an episode of Friday Night SmackDown. While Riddle would then claim that Orton had suffered a career-threatening back injury on TV, it was later reported that "The Viper" was indeed in rough shape. He'd undergo fusion surgery on his lower back later in the year and every behind-the-scenes update indicated WWE had no idea how long it'd take the 14-time world champion to be ready to get back in the ring (if ever). 

But fans finally received some good news recently when it was reported WWE was flying Orton in for WrestleMania 39 week in Los Angeles. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer then added that Orton is working on a comeback. 

WWE Return Update on Randy Orton and Matt Riddle

"All the indications are that he's on his way back, which is also good news because at the end of last year, there were definitely people worried about him," Meltzer said (h/t WrestlingNews.co). 

He then turned his attention to Riddle, who was written off TV in late 2022 after reportedly receiving his second WWE Wellness Policy Violation of the year. He has since been to rehab but has been off television for more than twice the reported length of the initial suspension. 

"Riddle, you know what the situation is with Riddle. He could come back at any time. I have not heard his name mentioned," Meltzer noted. 

One route WWE could go is to have Orton return and immediately target Cody Rhodes should "The American Nightmare" beat Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Rhodes spent a good chunk of his initial WWE run as a member of Orton's The Legacy stable, working alongside Ted DiBiase Jr. as the pair did Orton's bidding while he pursued and defended the WWE Championship in the late 2000s. The group would split when Orton beat the pair in a triple threat at WrestleMania XXVI.

WWE WrestleMania 39 Card

  • Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes (Night Two)
  • WWE United States Championship: Austin Theory vs. John Cena (Night One)
  • Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul (Night One)
  • Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
  • SmackDown Women's Championship: Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley
  • Raw Women's Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Asuka
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Gunther vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
  • Brock Lesnar vs. Omos
  • Edge vs. Finn Balor (Hell in a Cell Match)
  • Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
  • Becky Lynch, Trish Stratus & Lita vs. Damage CTRL (Bayley, Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky)
  • Braun Strowman & Ricochet vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs. Alpha Academy (Chad Gable & Otis) vs. The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar)
  • Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler vs. TBA