WWE Smackdown 9/23/2011: The Night That Randy Orton Practically Turned Heel

TJ WalkerContributor IIISeptember 23, 2011

Remember when Randy was the psychotic heel that kind of creeped us out?
Remember when Randy was the psychotic heel that kind of creeped us out?

Tonight on Smackdown, Randy Orton and current Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes had a match for about the third or fourth time.

I'm not sure if creative is seeing just how well Rhodes can handle a main event star like Orton or what, but that's not important right now.

The match itself was fairly quick. The two had a nice back and forth, Rhodes managed to get Orton on the ground. This is when the action started.

Rhodes started fiddling with the ring post and got caught trying to take the padding off. The ref gave Rhodes a stern talking to and turned to put the pad back on the ring post (thus taking his eyes off the match).

Rhodes used the distraction to take off his mask and hit Orton with it. Apparently Rhodes thought he was going to win because he didn't even bother to putting his mask back on before going for the pin.

Unfortunately, Orton only stayed down for a two count. Rhodes got caught with his mask off and had an argument with the referee while Orton recovered.

Rhodes managed to convince the ref that he didn't take the mask off before going back to attack Orton. Rhodes attempted a kick, but Orton caught the leg and held it for a while.

Then, out of nowhere, Orton ripped Rhodes' mask off the kid's face and slammed Rhodes in the face with his own mask.

Because this was done in plain sight of the referee, Orton got disqualified. So Orton went into his "anger management issues" phase and proceeded to destroy Rhodes.

Orton blasted Rhodes in the head a few more times with Rhodes' mask, slung Rhodes to the apron and hit the suspended DDT. But wait, there's more.

Orton literally tossed his former stable-mate out of the ring, and went to get the ring bell. Yes, Cody Rhodes got hit by the ring bell! 

Needless to say at this point, Rhodes is bleeding heavily. The cameras tried to hide but it didn't work too well.

Orton got Rhodes onto the announcers table and you could see him say "I'm sorry Cody" before RKO'ing Rhodes onto the table (which of course doesn't break).

At that point, you could see blood on both superstars. The fans in attendance were cheering Orton. Sure, Rhodes started it by using the mask. And sure, Orton was just trying to send a message to Mark Henry, but still...

The way Randy Orton picked Rhodes apart was strongly reminiscent of his days as a heel.

Like  when he gave RVD a concussion. When he handcuffed Triple H to the corner and made him watch as he kissed an RKO'd Stephanie. When he punted John Cena's father in the head and countless other dirty deeds.

Yet Orton was still getting cheers from the crowd. Orton has always walked a tight line between anti-hero and villain, but did he cross over to the dark side tonight? 

In a backstage segment, Orton said that he would "go to hell and back" to get the World Heavyweight Championship from Henry at Hell in a Cell.

Will the WWE Universe stay behind "The Viper" as he goes to hell? Or will Orton remind them that the voices he hears aren't very nice?