That's the case with 99% of who Cena faces, yet I'm sure they'll defy logic again to keep Cena as "the good guy". lol.
I think in this specific instance though it's impossible for anyone with a MITB briefcase not to get cheered when cashing in. Which is fine if a character is already a heel as you can use it to turn him (ala Ziggler, I think Punk previously too). But when you're trying to turn somebody, it can throw a spanner in the works.
This is obviously assuming they go ahead and turn Orton.
Members go on about how great heel Orton was, but what I remember of him was being bald, being a pussy and running away all the time and doing hilarious facial expressions in his matches..
At times, yeah Orton did play the chickenshit heel role - but what he did differently than most cowardly heels is that when it came down to it, he'd kick ass at the PPVs. Sure he might duck his opponent again and again during the build up, but when it came to big matches he'd almost always dominate to win.
His whole Age of Orton reign had some great of examples like that (feuds with HBK, pulls every bullshit heel string in the book to get a leg up on him, but in the end beats him straight up. Hardy has Orton on the run for weeks, then Orton flat out beats him at the Rumble). Also his 2009 run, which imo was the best of his career. He hid behind Legacy for months against Trips, then when it came down to it, RKOs and Punts the *bleep* out of him to win the title at Backlash. Then he loses it, only to get it back by RKOing the shit out of the Big Show. Later that year, when him and Cena played hot potato with the title for a few months, Orton's wins over Cena were always excellent, including a clean win at HIAC.
It was Orton's overall dominance as a heel that made everyone think he would make an amazing face. His promo work was awesome too (his "I am a success" promo cut on Raw after winning the Rumble in 09 was one of my favorites of any wrestler). Hard to tell where the blame lies in why his face run has been so awful - probably about a fifty fifty split in creative not giving him much worthwhile and him just not giving a crap. Hopefully the MITB and an impending face turn can get us back to the Orton that really did deserve to be at the top of the WWE a few years ago.
I loved Orton back then, and still like him now. Him running around punting people was brilliant and as you said, he kicked ass at the PPV's.