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Legacy of dissent
As has been famously echoed, "to be the man, you've got to beat the man." A very simple manifesto that becomes a bit more complex when "the man" is also the leader of a pride that includes two very talented young lions.
The game of master and apprentice has oft ended sour in WWE's squared circle. For WWE Champion Randy Orton, this principle is the very bedrock and earthen foundation upon which he has cemented his Legacy.
After a hotly contested one-on-one confrontation with one of his own -- Ted DiBiase -- on Raw, speculation brews as to whether The Legend Killer's top spot as Legacy's charge might be one that's coveted by those within. (PHOTOS | WATCH)
One would think that the whispers coiling through Orton's head would be of caution, counseling The Viper that his associates may not be so content in their place -- much like he experienced just five years ago.
"[On Raw] Ted DiBiase put up a strong fight and demonstrated exactly why I selected him for this very elite group," The Viper spoke, revealing his split tongue. "Unfortunately, I had to instruct Ted the hard way: Inside the ring but on opposite ends."
"I think that was lesson enough to my Legacy to never test the hand of their leader," he added to crush implications of paranoia.
But it might prove prudent for Orton to glance at his personal rearview mirror for a moment. Upon such reflection, The Legend Killer would most certainly recall capturing the World Heavyweight Title for the first time, the greenest member of Evolution and youngest champion in history snaring the same gold his mentor, Triple H, vehemently chased as well at that time.
He should just as easily recollect the image of The Game's thumbs-down to Batista on Aug. 16, 2004, signaling a painful breach in their alliance and the revocation of Orton's membership in Evolution. Bruising healed, this moment also enabled The Legend Killer's ascension toward his individual destiny. (READ MORE: Evolution's betrayal)
"Unlike Evolution, our alliance is founded on one common goal, a Legacy," said Orton, refuting comparisons between his squad and that of Triple H. "It's not just one man's desire to suppress the talents of others. I chose Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase not out of fear that one day they would surpass me; I handpicked them to be the heirs to my Legacy."
However, the undeniable parallels between both factions make the recent conflict between Orton and DiBiase -- though very minor -- of fair interest. Rhodes and DiBiase both are extraordinarily talented Superstars, who are not only former World Tag Team Champions but also credited with conquering a number of the squared circle's names, including Batista, Ric Flair and more. In a short time in WWE, they have proven to be top-tier caliber competitors with a brilliantly decorated future ahead of them.
Though they've grown exponentially in allegiance with Orton, it could be near time to scratch the itch to go solo. This is arguably intensified for the son of The Million Dollar Man, especially, when the memories of his Legacy commander's punt are still fresh in his once-rattled skull.
"My Legacy is founded on loyalty," Orton explained. "In DiBiase and Rhodes, I've found two individuals who know what it's like to be the son of a wrestling legend. It's in their blood, like it is mine. And as it goes, blood always runs thicker than water."
As another week passes, Monday Night Raw again approaches. Merely seven days after the world witnessed The Legend Killer's close bout with DiBiase, the WWE Universe looks to see if Legacy will thrive. Will it be a sole hiccup in their progressive Raw supremacy, or will it be the start of something much more explosive? More importantly, will history soon repeat itself, but this time in a reversed role for Randy Orton?
See if The Viper's venom has sustained Legacy's lifeblood this week on Monday Night Raw, live on USA Network at 9/8 CT.