I'll just state the obvious and say that Randy Orton needs to be a heel. Maybe not for the rest of his career, but for the foreseeable future. He still gets a decent crowd reaction most nights as a babyface, but it's clear as day that he is bored out of his mind and so are most of us. I'm a fan of him in the ring, his move set and finisher are perfectly fine, but his character (or lack thereof) is atrocious. When he joined the Wyatt Family, even though we knew it would be short-lived, it was the most interested I had been in him in as long as I can remember. Remember when he burned down Wyatt's shack and people were asking who was supposed to be the heel? Well, it should have been Orton. The story should have been Orton growing jealous of Wyatt's title win and getting inside of Luke Harper's head to make him do his dirty work and turn on Wyatt. Obviously in the PG era there is only so far you can take his character, but I really enjoyed him when he was the sick, sadistic one who wouldn't think twice about punting Vince in the head or kissing Stephanie on the lips while Triple H was handcuffed to the ropes.
Can his career be salvaged? Absolutely. I'm not expecting miracles and come up with completely new material in the twilight of his run like Jericho, but I'd be satisfied with them just returning him to what he was for starters. So they can keep him on the path he's on where they just throw him on the card of a ppv just to kind of have him there, like they're doing with him and Rusev at Summerslam, but where will that lead? There's still Kevin Owens and Baron Corbin that he hasn't been in a program with. He and Owens could be interesting, but honestly it'll only be because Owens himself is interesting and would likely carry the feud. Depending on how the superstar shakeup goes, you could potentially put him up against Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, maybe even The Miz. Samoa Joe is the only one of those that intrigues me tbh.
Or they can turn him heel where he feels comfortable in his own skin and keep him heel. I think much like with Big Show, you can only have a guy flip back and forth so many times before you lose all shock factor and nobody cares anymore. They're lucky they haven't reached that point with Orton yet, the fans do still react, but they shouldn't take it for granted. As a heel, there's many more options open that they could explore. Again, depending on what the superstar shakeup has in store, you could potentially put him up against guys like AJ Styles, Finn Balor, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, maybe Seth Rollins again with him playing the face this time, possibly even Luke Harper if they'd get their heads out of their asses and put him back on tv. I wouldn't even be opposed to him targetting Jason Jordan in defiance towards Kurt Angle, building a story between them if/when Kurt decides to step back in the ring. I think if they just turn him heel where he belongs, the rest will work itself out. SDL is lacking top heels. Kevin Owens is great, but after him there's a big drop off imo to Mahal, Corbin and Rusev. Orton could automatically compete with Owens for that spot of top heel on the show. There's just way more they can do with him and it will come across to the fans that he's enjoying his role more and help keep us tuned in.