In every match he wrestles Randy Orton performs the draping DDT. It’s a good move: it looks convincing, gets a good reaction and can be performed on pretty much anybody. That’s pretty much all its required to do.
The trouble is that it doesn’t feel special. Being used in every match has removed a lot of the shine the move once had. Orton has been performing it in his matches for several years now, but for a long time it was a sparingly used weapon in his arsenal used only when the opportunity presented itself or when ‘The Viper’ felt he was running out of options in a particularly gruelling match. That meant that the move got a louder response when it was used because people so rarely got to see it. It was unexpected, almost a treat for audiences lucky enough to see it performed.
A WWE referee makes no attempt to hide his disgust at Orton's overuse of the draping DDT
As you’ve probably gathered I feel strongly about the move’s frequent use. It looks good and would
make a very convincing finisher. As Orton uses it in all of his bouts it means that people routinely kick out of it (thanks to WWE’s edict that wrestlers must win matches with their finishing moves), which harms its credibility and aura as much as its frequent usage. I’d like to see ‘The Apex Predator’ return to using the move sporadically, preferably only on pay-per-views and big television matches (not that WWE promotes such things anymore).
You’re probably wondering what the problem is with Orton using the same non-finishing move on a weekly basis. After all, Triple H used the spinebuster in every match. Sheamus uses a brogue kick every week. Miz routinely performs a flying clothesline into the corner. CM Punk has taken to doing a Randy Savage flying elbow. The list goes on and on: moves that are used every week by the same people that never finish the match. They’re signature manoeuvres. Once they reach a certain level every WWE wrestler has a set list of such moves that they employ in every match, interspersed with punches, kicks and suplexes.
It’s the WWE style. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, but the draping DDT is a move that deserves more. It should revert to being a desperation move for Orton. There are precedents for this in the current WWE product. Punk’s Anaconda Vice is the perfect example: it’s a hold that’s been established as being an effective finisher that Punk uses only when desperate. Edge used to have the lifting DDT. The same goes for the Undertaker’s Hell’s Gate submission and John Morrison’s Moonlight Drive (or whatever they call it now).
It’s an approach that works well for wrestlers outside of WWE. Most has a set list of signature moves and holds associated with them that they’ll use in each match, as well as some more impressive spots saved for occasional use. The reason for this approach is simple: the moves feel more special when used less often, entice a louder response and enable both the wrestler and their opponent to tell a more effective story in their match. This is clearly not an approach WWE are going to start taking any time soon. It’s a booking method that is alien to the promotion and its audience and would not get the desired reaction, if it was even noticed at all. But if given time this approach, or a modified version of it, could work very successfully in WWE.
The draping DDT strikes me as a move that could mean so much more if it were booked differently. But the truth is that could be said of any move of a WWE star. It would simply rely on a change in attitude that nobody in WWE’s management structure is prepared to consider. So for the foreseeable future we’re stuck with a weekly appearance of Orton’s rope-aided head-planter.