OWW Wrestler of the Week: Randy Orton

HeadLocker — Jay Shannon</b

Wrestler of the Week: Randy Orton

Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, evaluates the winner of the 2009 Royal Rumble. Randy Orton has been a troubled young man who’s fought off injury and attitude problems to become a top star in wrestling.

The 2009 Royal Rumble was filled with more twists and turns than a dozen rollercoasters strapped together. In the big match of the night, Randy Orton outlasted twenty-nine others to take the title shot at Wrestlemania 25. Randy Orton is this week’s OWW: Wrestler of the Week.

Troubled Youth

Randal Keith Orton was born on April Fools Day, April 1, 1980. His father is the legendary “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Jr. Bob and his wife, Elaine, really tried to persuade their eldest child to stay away from the wrestling business. They explained the hardships of the road and the toil that wrestling takes on the wrestler’s body. Randy, at first, agreed with their thinking and enlisted in the US Marines. Sadly, Orton’s bad attitude got him dishonorably dischared in only one year. Orton had gone AWOL on more than one occasion. He had also directly disobeyed a superior officer. When Orton found himself out of the Marines, he turned to the sport that made his father a legend.

Orton worked for a small group, based out of St. Louis. He was trained by his father and a handful of others in the small organization. “Cowboy” Bob Ortono still had connections with the WWE and he was able to help Randy get a developmental deal with the WWE.

OVW days

In 2001, Randy signed on with OVW. He received further training from the staff there. Orton was actually pushed as a face, early on. Orton feuded with The Prototype (John Cena) during a large portion of their time there. Orton was also lucky enough to train with the legendary, Bobby Eaton, when they tagged up for a tag team tournament.

Orton held the group’s Hardcore Championship, twice. He also challenged for the other titles. Despite a somewhat bad attitude, Orton impressed the trainers and agents for the WWE. After a year with the farm team, Orton got called up to the big league.

The Evolution of Randy Orton

Randy Orton was sent to Smackdown, where he was immediately thrown into a feud with Hardcore (Bob) Holly. the feud converted Orton into a face. After five months on the Blue Brand, Randy was shifted to Raw. On Raw, Randy first feuded with ECW Alumni, Stevie Richards. During one of his early Raw matches, Randy suffered the first of many injuries. The shoulder injury put Randy on the shelf for several months. Orton remained vocally active during his rehab. He did several video pieces where he complained about the lack of support from the fans. By the time he returned, Randy Orton was a full-fledged heel.

After his return, Orton joined Ric Flair‘s new Four Horsemen-like stable, Evolution. The original concept was that this was The Evolution of the Four Horsemen. Orton joined Ric Flair, Triple H and (Dave) Batista. They ran rough-shod over the other Raw roster members. Orton earned his first championship during this time, the Intercontinental title. He feuded with Mick Foley over the belt.

Orton’s alliance with Evolution came to a crashing end, literally, after he beat Chris Benoit for the World title. Evolution threw Randy a huge party. Batista lifted Orton onto Batista’s shoulder. Triple H gave the Thumbs Down sign and Batista stunned Orton with an Electric Chair Drop. Orton was dispatched from the group for daring to go after the World title.

Running solo

Randy dropped the World title to Triple H and then began a bitter feud with his former stablemate. They would feud during the winter months. Following his repeated losses to The Game, Orton moved forward. At the suggestion of “Superstar” Billy Graham, Orton decided to do something no one had been able to do: Defeat Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The Orton v Undertaker feud got a major push from the company. Even though Orton lost to ‘Taker, he wasn’t ready to give up. They feuded for nine months. The final battle had Undertaker defeat both Randy and Bob Orton in a Hell in a Cell match.

Rated R-K-O

Orton next feuded with Rey Mysterio. Orton talked trash about Eddie Guerrero, who had died only months earlier. Rey was able to best Orton in several matches, including a Triple Threat championship battle with Rey, Orton and Kurt Angle.

Randy ended up with a 60 day suspension for what was called “unprofessional behavior”. To allow Randy to save face, a phony injury was created to explain the disappearance. When Randy returned, he admitted that he was suspended for smoking marijuana. Orton moved forward to feud with the legendary, Hulk Hogan. Hogan trounced Orton in their match. Orton needed a new direction in his career.

Edge was irate that D-X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) kept costing him title matches. Edge turned to Randy for help. Their team name was a combination of Edge’s Rated R Superstar nickname and Orton’s finisher, the R-K-O. The team was dubbed Rated R-K-O. The duo handed D-X their first loss, since coming back together. Orton and Edge would go on to win the Raw tag titles. Triple H was sidelined with a legit injury during their war. John Cena stepped in to take Triple H’s place. Shawn and John took the titles from Rated R-K-O. The Edge/Orton team dissolved due to in fighting and Orton went back to being a solo act.

The Viper

After splitting with Edge, Orton took on a more vicious persona. He attacked several superstars with a new rope-assisted DDT and the Orton Punt (a vicious kick to the head). He took out Shawn Michaels, RVD, Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter and Dusty Rhodes. Orton tried the same move on John Cena but failed. Cena dominated Orton in their feud.

Orton sunk to a new low when he attacked John Cena’s father, John Sr. Cena unleashed a most vicious beating on Orton at Vengeance. Orton won the match by DQ, but Cena kept the belt. Cena was injured and Mr. McMahon gave the title to Orton. Orton then faced off against Triple H for the belt. Orton and Triple H actually switched the belt back and forth, twice in one night. Orton would move on to again battle Shawn Michaels for the championship.

Orton would trounce Shawn in their matches, many which had Shawn’s Sweet Chin Music Superkick banned. Orton then had to battle a returning John Cena. Cena had shown up at the 2008 Royal Rumble and won the event. Cena went after Orton’s title at No Way Out. Orton would retain the title at No Way Out and at Wrestlemania. Orton’s title run came to an end when Triple H threw Orton out of the ring and broke Orton’s collarbone. Orton went on the shelf for several months.


When Orton returned, he attacked Ted DiBiase, Jr. DiBiase, who needed time off for a film project, took a Orton Punt to the head. After Priceless (DiBiase and Cody Rhodes) were forced to disband, Orton scouted Rhodes and Manu (Afa, Jr.) to form a new group. The group was called Legacy. The group would go through a few member changes in the next few weeks. Sim Snuka, the former Deuce, joined the group. He was quickly ousted, as was Manu. DiBiase later rejoined his former partner and the man who attacked him. They worked together to move towards the Royal Rumble. During the Rumble match, the three Legacy members squared off against Triple H as the Final Four. Triple H dumped both DiBiase and Rhodes to the floor. Randy took full advantage of a distracted Triple H and dumped him to the floor, thus winning the match. Randy Orton has his sights set on the World or WWE title at Wrestlemania 25 He has one bit of business to deal with first.

On the Raw before the Royal Rumble, Orton brutally attacked Vince McMahon. On the Raw following the Royal Rumble, Shane McMahon stepped forward to attack Orton. Orton is looking to have to face Shane, in the near future.

In Conclusion:

Randy Orton has had a very turbulent past. He’s been kicked out of the Marines, been suspended for his behavior in the WWE and had numerous injuries. While he’s far surpassed his famous father and grandfather, he has not quite lived up to his potential. The win at Royal Rumble might be a fresh start for the Legend Killer. Winning the Rumble was the factor that got Randy the OWW: Wrestler of the Week award, this week.

–Jay Shannon
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