US Scene Wrestler Profiles

WWE Superstar Spotlight: Randy Orton

A look at the career of current WWE Champion Randy Orton…

Real Name: Randal Keith Orton
Birthday: April 1, 1980 (27)
Born: Knoxville, TN
Resides: High Ridge, MO
Billed From: St. Louis
Weight: 245 lbs.
Height: 6’4”

Signature Moves: RKO (Finisher), Inverted Backbreaker, Standing Dropkick, Randy Orton Stomp, Punt To The Head, Elevated DDT.

Title History

  • 2 Time & Reigning WWE Champion:
    – WWE Champion (1’st Reign): October 7, 2007- October 7, 2007
    – WWE Champion (2’nd Reign): October 7, 2007- Current
  • World Heavyweight Champion (1’st Reign): August 15, 2004- September 12, 2004
  • 1 Time WWE Intercontinental Champion:
    Intercontinental Champion (1’st Reign): December 14, 2003- July 11, 2004
  • 1 Time World Tag Team Champion;
    World Tag Team Champion (1’st Reign): November 13, 2006- January 29, 2007
  • 2 Time OVW Hardcore Champion:
    – OVW Hardcore Champion (1’st Reign): February 14, 2001- March 24, 2001
    – OVW Hardcore Champion (2’nd Reign): May 5, 2001- May 5, 2001

Randal Keith Orton was born on April 1, 1980 to parents, Elaine & Bob Orton, Jr. Randy Orton (the eldest of two sons) grew up in the wrestling business, as his father (“Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr.), grandfather (Bob Orton, Sr.), and uncle (Barry Orton) were all accomplished professional wrestlers. From the beginning, Randy’s parents (namely his father) tried to discourage their son from a career in professional wrestling after seeing the toll it takes on an individual and a family. Randy’s wrestling career began as an amateur while he attended Hazelwood Central High School, where he graduated in 1998. Following his High School Graduation, Randy enlisted with the United States Marines Corps. About a year after enlisting, Randy Orton was given a dishonorable discharge for going AWOL on two different occasions and for disobeying an order from a commanding officer. Randy was convicted and put into military prison for 38 days.

Randy Orton made his professional wrestling debut in 2000 in St. Louis, MO for a company called the MMWA-SICW. Randy would learn from some of the local greats in the business, including his father. Randy also dabbled in being a referee for World Organized Wrestling (WOW), where his uncle worked.

After less than a year being a professional wrestler, Randy Orton was signed by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) in 2001 and was sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) for developmental training. Shortly after being signed, Randy Orton would win the OVW Hardcore Title twice and would also be the last OVW Hardcore Champion.

Randy Orton made his on-screen WWE debut on April 25, 2002 on SmackDown, as a face. After different trials and tribulations, Randy and the WWE came to the conclusion that Orton was not made out to be a face and WWE opted to turn Randy heel. However, shortly after this decision was made, WWE decided to move Randy to the RAW brand and they gave Orton a run at being a face again. Shortly after this, Randy suffered a shoulder injury and would be out of action for an undetermined amount of months. Randy would go on to take part in segments (called the “Randy News Network” or “RNN”) where he would talk in length about his recovery process from his injury. This segment would often interfere in the show and slowly turned him heel.

Following his return from injury in 2003, Randy joined the stable, “Evolution”, which featured himself, Dave Batista as the two newcomers and Ric Flair and Triple H as the experienced mentors. As time went on, the heel group was steered more towards protecting Triple H’s World Heavyweight Title than building up Orton and Batista. Throughout 2003, Orton’s (as well as Batista and Ric Flair’s) prime objective became to protect Triple H’s World Heavyweight Title. During late 2003- early 2004, Randy began referring to himself as “The Legend Killer” and would insult and assault legends on a regular bases (such as Harley Race, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels, and The Undertaker, among others). Randy Orton would go on to cement his legacy as “The Legend Killer” when he defeated Shawn Michaels at Unforgiven 2003.

Towards the end of 2003, Randy Orton began using his first custom finishing maneuver, which he dubbed the “RKO” (named after his initials; Randal Keith Orton). In December at Armageddon 2003, Randy would win his first major WWE title when he defeated Rob Van Dam (with Mick Foley as the Special Guest Referee) to win the Intercontinental Title. This win meant that “Evolution” held all the championships on the RAW brand (Triple H held the World Heavyweight Title and Batista & Ric Flair held the World Tag Team Titles). Randy’s reign as Intercontinental Champion would last for seven months, the longest Intercontinental Title reign in seven years.

Throughout much of the early part of 2004, Randy Orton would feud with “The Hardcore Legend” Mick Foley. This would eventually lead to a match between Orton and Foley, that was dubbed a “Hardcore Legend Vs. Legend Killer” Match where the match would be fought under Hardcore rules and Randy’s Intercontinental Title would be on the line. Orton went on to defeat Foley to “kill” another legend and retain his Intercontinental Title in the process.

At Vengeance 2004, Randy Orton’s phenomenal run as Intercontinental Champion would come to an end when Edge (who Orton would team up with in late 2006- early 2007) defeated Orton to win the title. Randy would not be without gold for long, however. Randy would rise through the ranks of the WWE and the RAW brand and would end up challenging for the World Heavyweight Title (the same title that his mentor and leader of Evolution, Triple H, lost in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania XX to Chris Benoit) at SummerSlam 2004.

Randy Orton would go on to defeat Chris Benoit at SummerSlam 2004 to not only win his first World Heavyweight Title (and first World Title of any sort), but would also become the youngest World Champion in history (beating out former WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar). On the RAW following Orton’s championship win, a “celebration” was held by the other members of “Evolution”. However, this celebration would turn very badly for Orton as Triple H masterminded a plan to oust the new World Heavyweight Champion out of Evolution. Randy would be hoisted up on the shoulders of his fellow Evolution teammate, Batista, and was given the thumbs up by a seemingly happy Triple H. However, Triple H abruptly gave the thumbs down and told Batista, “Now”, with this, Batista dropped Orton from his “pedestal” as the new World Heavyweight Champion. Triple H would assault Orton over, what Triple H believed to be, “his” World Heavyweight Title. This would all come to ahead at Unforgiven 2004, where Triple H would make Orton’s first reign as a World Champion a short one, as Triple H defeated his former protégé to regain the World Heavyweight Title.

After captaining a successful team at the 2004 Survivor Series, Randy Orton would be given the honor of being the RAW General Manager for a week (the stipulation of the Survivor Series Match was that the winners of the match would be given a week to be the General Manager of RAW). Randy Orton would be unsuccessful in regaining the World Heavyweight Title on a couple different occasions throughout the early part of 2005. Batista would then step up at the 2005 Royal Rumble and would go on to win the World Heavyweight Title from Triple H at WrestleMania 21.

Randy would then begin an on-screen relationship with Stacy Keibler and would begin a feud with Christian, which would further distance Orton from the World Heavyweight Title picture. Orton would almost drop to mid-card status, but was given a big push in February of 2005 when “Superstar” Billy Graham made a rare and special appearance on RAW and told Orton to “do what no other wrestler has done” to set himself apart from other wrestlers and cement his name in history. With these words of wisdom, Orton would vow that he would do what no other wrestler has done and defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania (The Undertaker was 13-0 at this point). Leading up to WrestleMania, Orton would establish himself as a monster heel when he hit his on-screen girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, with the RKO establishing his unpredictability.

On the night before WrestleMania 21, Randy would induct his father, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr., into the WWE Hall of Fame. The following night at WrestleMania 21, Randy would receive assistance from his Hall of Fame father during his match with The Undertaker. However, it would be for naught, as Orton would fail to defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania, thus failing to “kill” the legend of The Undertaker. The night after WrestleMania 21, Orton would face off against his former Evolution teammate and new World Heavyweight Champion, Batista. Orton would announce that he had suffered another shoulder injury and would be out of action for 6 months. Orton also declared that, due to his injury, he was not eligible in the 2005 Draft Lottery (which saw John Cena and the WWE Championship brought to RAW). Vince McMahon spoiled Orton’s plan and informed him that he, indeed, was eligible for the draft.

Randy Orton would appear on the June 16 edition of SmackDown and announced that he was the latest draft pick in the 2005 Draft Lottery and was now a member of the SmackDown! Roster. Randy would rekindle his feud with The Undertaker and would eventually “kill” the legend of The Undertaker by defeating him at SummerSlam 2005. After this Orton and The Undertaker would continue their feud and compete in all different kinds of specialty matches. The feud would ultimately come to ahead at No Mercy 2005 when Randy and his father defeated The Undertaker in a Handicap Casket Match. Following the match, the Orton men would set the casket on fire with The Undertaker inside. It would later be revealed that The Undertaker managed to somehow escape from the fiery casket. They would continue their feud even further and would ultimately be settled at Armageddon 2006 when The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell Match that Randy was lured into when The Undertaker promised to retire if he lost the match.

Orton would take a two-week hiatus from SmackDown to sell his injuries from the match at Armageddon. In 2006, Randy would align himself with Booker T, while Booker T was in the middle of a feud over the United States Championship against Chris Benoit in a “Best of Seven Series”. Booker would suffer an injury and put Randy in as his replacement in the series against Benoit. Orton would ultimately defeat Benoit in the final match of the series, but since Orton was competing in the matches as a surrogate for Booker T., Orton would win the United States Title for Booker T. without Booker having to actually defeat Benoit.

At the 2006 Royal Rumble, Orton would enter the Royal Rumble Match at number 30 and would be eliminated by Rey Mysterio (the last man eliminated). This win by Mysterio would earn Mysterio a shot at either the WWE or World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania 22. However, Randy would con his way into a match against Rey Mysterio at No Way Out 2006 with Rey’s WrestleMania spot on the line. Using the ropes, Orton would earn a shot at the World Title at WrestleMania. SmackDown! General Manager, Theodore Long would later announce that he would be adding Rey Mysterio to the World Title Match at WrestleMania 22, making it a Triple Threat Match between reigning champion, Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, and Randy Orton. Mysterio would go on to pin Orton in the Triple Threat Match to win the World Heavyweight Title.

WWE announced on April 4, 2006 that Orton would be suspended for 60 days due to “unprofessional conduct”. He would return in June 2006 and challenge Kurt Angle to a match at One Night Stand 2006, which Orton lost. Orton would again challenge Angle and would ultimately defeat him at Vengeance 2006. When Orton returned on an edition of RAW, Orton announced that Kurt Angle would be facing “RAW’s Randy Orton” at One Night Stand 2006, thus announcing that Orton had rejoined the RAW brand.

In July of 2006, Orton began a “Legend Vs. Legend Killer” feud with Hulk Hogan. Hogan would go on to defeat Orton at SummerSlam 2006. Orton would then go on to form an alliance with Edge to form “Rated RKO”, a partnership made to “kill” the legend of D-Generation X (Triple H & Shawn Michaels). On August 13, 2006, Edge & Orton would defeat Ric Flair & Roddy Piper (Piper was taken out before the match by Rated RKO and it was made a glorified Handicap Match) to win the World Tag Team Titles. This was Orton’s first reign as a tag team champion. During a match between DX and Rated RKO at New Year’s Revolution 2007, DX member, Triple H, suffered a quadriceps injury, which abruptly ended the DX/Rated RKO feud.

Randy Orton would compete in the 2007 Royal Rumble Match and make it to the final four (with Edge, The Undertaker, & Shawn Michaels). Shawn Michaels would cause Edge to inadvertently eliminate his partner. The next night on RAW would not fair well either, as the team of WWE Champion, John Cena & Shawn Michaels (who would later face each other for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 23 and then lose the World Tag Team Titles to The Hardys the next night) defeated Rated RKO to win the World Tag Team Titles. Randy Orton would also be a part of WrestleMania 23, as he would compete in the 8-Man Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match against Edge, Finlay, CM Punk, Mr. Kennedy, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, & King Booker. However, Orton would not win the match. Randy Orton would receive a shot for the WWE Title at Backlash, along with Edge & Shawn Michaels (in a Fatal 4-Way Match), but failed to win the title. During the time leading up to WrestleMania and through Backlash, the tag team of Rated RKO would collapse as Edge and Orton turned on one another. Their rivalry continued until Edge left to join the SmackDown! Brand (Edge defeated Mr. Kennedy for the Money-in-the-Bank contract on RAW and went to SmackDown in the same week to defeat The Undertaker to win the World Heavyweight Title).

Now on his own, Orton would continue to kill the legend of DX. Now that he and Edge had “killed” one half of the legend, Orton set out to “kill” the other half in Shawn Michaels. Orton would repeatedly attack Michaels and cause him ‘head trauma’ and at Judgment Day 2007, Randy Orton defeated Shawn Michaels after the referee stopped the match after Orton punted Michaels in the head, which ultimately caused a ‘severe concussion’ that would keep Michaels out of action for an undetermined amount of time. After killing the legend of Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton would set his sites on ECW’s Rob Van Dam. Orton would attack Van Dam during a match on RAW and would ‘injure’ him in the same manner that he did Shawn Michaels. This would lead to a Stretcher Match at One Night Stand 2007. Rob Van Dam would win this match, but after the match, Orton assaulted RVD and would ultimately put him on the shelf for an undetermined amount of time, as well (giving RVD a ‘severe concussion’ following a DDT on the concrete floor). Randy would also face “The Amercan Dream” Dusty Rhodes in a Texas Bullrope Match at the 2007 Great Americab Bash and would win the match and kill the legend of Dusty Rhodes. Dusty’s son, Cody, would feud with Orton during this time and would ultimately lose his first two matches on RAW to Orton. The night after The Great American Bash, Orton would give Dusty Rhodes the feared punt that claimed Rob Van Dam, Shawn Michaels, & (shortly after) Sgt. Slaughter.

Later in the same night, Randy Orton was revealed as the new #1 Contender for the WWE Title. Randy would go on to face WWE Champion, John Cena at SummerSlam 2007 (the same event that Randy won the World Heavyweight Title three years earlier). After a hard fought match, John Cena would ultimately hit Orton with the F-U and pin Orton to retain his title. Randy kept his name in the hat (after being denied a title shot by Mr. McMahon, being told to “prove himself”) the night after SummerSlam by punting John Cena’s father’s head in John Cena’s hometown of Boston, MA. This would lead to a SummerSlam Rematch for the WWE Title at Unforgiven 2007 (where Cena had won the WWE Title one year earlier). John Cena would get disqualified in this match after he ignored the referee’s five count to stop assaulting Orton. Cena would retain the title, but would also extract revenge for him and his father. After the match, Orton would bring Cena’s father over the barricade once more and would set to punt him in the head yet again. However, John Cena dove in and took down Orton and put him in the STF-U. Cena would then instruct his father to punt Orton in the head, which he did. Following this match, Acting General Manager Jonathan Coachman instructed Cena’s father that his son would defend the WWE Title against Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing Match at No Mercy 2007.

On October 1, 2007, the WWE Champion, John Cena would suffer a torn pectoral muscle, that would end Cena’s over year-long reign as WWE Champion. Cena’s reign would officially end the next night on ECW on October 2, as Mr. McMahon announced the title vacated and that there will be a new WWE Champion at No Mercy and that “history would be made”. That Sunday at No Mercy in Chicago, history would indeed be made, as right off the top of the show, Mr. McMahon and RAW General Manager, William Regal would call Randy Orton to the ring and award Randy his first WWE Title. Regal would then tell Orton that Mr. McMahon had promised a WWE Title Match at the pay-per-view and that Regal would allow Orton to hand pick his first challenger for the WWE Title. However, before he could choose his opponent, Triple H made his presence known and would ultimately goad Mr. McMahon into making a WWE Title Match right then and there between the new champion, Orton and Triple H. This would be historic within itself as it’s the first time a WWE pay-per-view started with a WWE Title Match. What would be even more historic would be when Triple H rolled up Randy Orton to take the title from Orton to make him an 11-time World Champion. Orton’s first reign as WWE Champion lasted under a half an hour. Later in the night, Triple H would be forced to defend his WWE Title against Umaga, as ordered by Mr. McMahon. Triple H would retain his new title successfully, but suffered ‘rib injuries’ and was generally banged up. Later on backstage, Mr. McMahon confronted the new champion in the Trainer’s Room and stated that Randy Orton had requested his automatic rematch for the WWE Title and that the match would take place on the very same night that the WWE Title was awarded to Orton, lost by Orton, and defended by Triple H. Mr. McMahon would inform Triple H that their match would be a Last Man Standing Match. In what would be the icing on the cake for a history making night in the WWE, Orton would regain the WWE Title from Triple H following the RKO on the announce table.

Orton had won his second WWE Title and was leaving Chicago the champion. Orton would go on to make his first title defense the next night on RAW in a Handicap Match where Orton teamed with Umaga to face Triple H. The match would ultimately end in a disqualification, saving Orton’s title. However, during a Championship Celebration on RAW, Mr. McMahon (who requested that every RAW superstar, including Triple H, come out to shake the new champion’s hand) sent Orton to drag Triple H from the back (Triple H was assaulted by Umaga earlier in the show and was unable to make it out to the ring). But as Orton made his way up the ramp. Some familiar music hit and Shawn Michaels appeared, making his first television appearance since Judgment Day in May, where Orton nearly ended Michaels’ career.

This led to a WWE Title Match between Randy Orton and the fan’s choice of Jeff Hardy, Mr. Kennedy, or Shawn Michaels. Shawn Michaels won the poll and would challenge Orton for the WWE Title. Michaels would win that match by disqualification after Orton low blowed Michaels to retain his WWE Title. However post match, Shawn Michaels hit Randy with Sweet Chin Music for the fourth time in as many weeks.