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Why Ken Kennedy is better than Randy Orton


In a weekend VIP audio update, Torch editor Wade Keller said that, if he were drafting rosters today, he would pick recent OVW call up Ken Kennedy over fellow OVW alumnus Randy Orton. I'm going to look today at the pluses and minuses of both men and why Kennedy is the right choice.


Ken Kennedy has said that the wrestlers he admired growing up were "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, and the Rock. Kennedy has clearly emulated their charismatic style. For example, his "Misterrrr Kennedy... Ken-ne-dyyy!" intro is reminiscent of the Rock's "Can you smell what the Rock is cooking?" and could easily make the transition from cocky heel phrase to babyface catchphrase that the fans say right with him. What makes Kennedy so special is that he is able to go over the top. Many wrestlers seem like they know their craft and maybe even have some charisma, but they're in a box. When I took acting lessons in high school, my acting teacher always emphasized the importance of doing everything bigger. Kennedy does that. That could be because Kennedy himself studied acting, winning several awards as part of his high school's forensics team for play acting. He has utilized that acting experience, using it to kick his personality up a notch. He's no ring general by any means, but he's improving, and he also has one of the most impressive looking finishers in WWE right now.


One of the great things about Kennedy is that he's someone who has soaked up some of the best stuff in wrestling history. He's got the charisma of those late nineties superstars who inspired him while also having elements of an eighties/early nineties throwback, with the fun spirit that brought the WWF into the mainstream. Wrestling seems to have lost a lot of that pure enjoyment that used to be there for the sake of realism, and I think that characters like Kennedy and his Smackdown compatriot Christian bring that fun touch back in just the right way.


Randy Orton, on the other hand, seems to be holding back. Unlike Kennedy, he's not breaking out of the box and making everything he does big. Everything he does is just enough. He's got a finisher that's nice but not particularly original. He puts on matches that are decent but not great, relying heavily on the same old holds to fill in the gaps in his matches. He cuts promos that make sense and tell the story, but don't give you much more insight into who Randy Orton really is.


Randy Orton is a third generation superstar. He's grown up around the business and knows its history. Orton, while not a model recruit, did serve in the armed forces and has that training and background to inform the realism of his matches. Despite all of these skills and more, when you watch one of his matches, you don't see it in the ring. He looks like he's just going through the motions most of the time. He shows a little more life when his dad's around, but not enough. It could be because his head's just not in it. He's still more renowned for being a party boy than a student of the game.


Kennedy is someone who's been a student of the game, working hard to improve and connect with the fans. He's someone who obviously gets it. His personality and work ethic has won him admirers in Vince McMahon, current OVW booker Paul Heyman, World Champion Batista, and Triple H, among others. McMahon has said that he sees Kennedy as a future WrestleMania main eventer, even as soon as next year, and from what I've seen, I have no reason to argue with this. While I don't see him in a world title match, I think that he could be in a semi-main event facing a legend, fighting for the U.S. Title, or something similar. Kennedy also has real life qualifications of his own, with experience in martial arts (tae kwon do and escrima) and high school sports (swimming and track, where conditioning is key), and he could definitely make use of that experience, particularly if he incorporated some of the fighting moves in a worked way into his repretoire.


When you compare them in the ring, Orton seems to have a small technical advantage at this point. However, Kennedy seems to be putting out a lot more effort in the ring and is improving as time goes on, while Orton seemed to plateau a long time back and has perhaps even gotten worse over the past year. If you told fans who only saw his recent work that the original plan was for him to main event WrestleMania 21, they'd tell you that you were insane. Workrate also matters less than personality in WWE and to the vast majority of fans, so while Orton is technically the better in-ring performer, fans will be more naturally drawn to Kennedy. Kennedy can be carried to good matches and his drawing ability is built on his character, while Orton is just going through the motions with both his ring work and his character.


Finally, one reason that Wade Keller cited for choosing Kennedy over Orton was that, when you look at Orton's eyes, it doesn't seem like there's a lot going on behind there. With Kennedy, there seems to be some thought going into what he's doing. His promos are anything but phoned in. He was scheduled to work in OVW through October, but when a family member of his became seriously ill, WWE gave him permission to leave OVW to spend time with his sick family member, and Kennedy cut an emotional farewell backstage in OVW in September. Somehow, I don't see Randy Orton having that same sort of response in a similar situation. Orton needs to start showing us that there's more to who he is than what we've seen and that he isn't totally soulless.


Randy Orton and Ken Kennedy both showed potential early on in their careers. They're both OVW graduates. However, at this point, Kennedy is the one with the future. Orton still could come back and make it, but he's going to have to put in a lot of hard work and effort that he just doesn't seem to have in him at this time. Kennedy is main event material, while Randy needs to prove that he's more than a glorified upper midcarder.



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I'd call this article dreck pure and simple. I'm no Randy Orton fan but Kennedy hasn't even been around for 6 months. Yeah his gimmick is decent now but how's this shtick going to hold up say a year from now or even by Wrestlemania. We haven't even seen more than brief glimpses of him in the ring. Being a student of the game means nothing. Triple H is supposedly a student of the game and he has no clue. He just chalks up fan complaints as nothing because he supposedly knows more. And being admired by Vince, Batista and HHH isn't glowing praise because they have extremely questionable tastes in wrestlers.


I'm no fan of Orton and it seems they've unsuccessfully thrown everything but the kitchen sink at the fans to get the guy over. Just look at how lame the new nWo ripoff shirts are for their latestest attempt. But Orton has shown he can be carried in a match, he has a more marketable name (Orton) and he's a more seasoned worker at this point.


I'd take Orton over Kennedy at this point for a lot of reasons:


1. Orton in the WWF would be fine if they just accepted that he's a midcarder for life. With that said he's a capable midcarder for anyone.


2. He's proven. Orton has been around for 3 years now. Kennedy has been on tv for 2 months. Orton's character is also more well developed and can be tweaked where Kennedy will have to be completely repackaged.


3. Orton is capable of being carried to a good match by workers like Chris Benoit. We don't know about such things from Kennedy.


4. Again, the name Orton means something in wrestling. Ken Kennedy means nothing.

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The current Triple H is clueless in a lot of ways. Just look at his annual attempt to recreate his match with Taka. He fails over and over because he doesn't understand what made that match work (selling). His selfish nature has completely clouded his judgement.


He's also had to constantly stick his foot in his mouth over saying certain guys can't work. And just in general with wrestling. He instantly buries anyone just coming into the fed if 90% of their offense isn't punch/kick based. As I said earlier his taste in who he considers quality workers is highly questionable.

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It can't be stated enough that Ken Kennedy has been the biggest hit of the latest batch of OVW call-ups, and he's been the only one not cut off at the knees right out of the box. He's doing the exact same gimmick that got him over on OVW, and shock of shocks, it got him over in WWE.


I've been a fan of his ever since I picked up OVW TV tapes, he has the charisma you need to get over in abundance.

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Not to derail this thread but:


" He's more than capable as a worker."


HHH is so medicore in the ring.  Average punches, bad moves, a neat finisher that he has no clue how to set up, weird pyschology.


Just a bad worker.

Maybe he's a bad worker when compared to the greats of the world but if anyone can wrestle the "WWE style" it's Triple H. ;)
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