Wednesday, 28 March 2012

FEATURE: Randy Orton: From Viper To Verdure

Orton began his career with the WWE on the April 25th edition of Smackdown in 2002. As a newbie, challenged Hardcore Holly., He would soon become a babyface favourite. With the looks, body and fresh style, Orton had options.
In September of the same year, Randy was drafted to flagship brand Raw, losing in a match to Stevie Richards. Weeks later, tragedy broke to the new fresh faced up and comer. After gathering momentum, Orton would be rocked by a shoulder injury.
Using this to his advantage, he would soon broadcast the RNN. An annoying Randy News Network vignette in numerous following weeks, updating fans of his condition, while other matches were going on.  The narcissistic swerve gathered slow burning heat for Orton’s impending return.

Gravitating towards heel characterisation, Rand returned to Raw as a part of a super group faction, Evolution, in 2003- 2004. Alongside main superstar of the brand Triple H as leader, and veteran Ric Flair, Randy joined alongside another fresh building star, Batista.
Proving their dominance to professional wrestling, All four members of the stable captured the brands gold at Pay Per View, Armageddon in December 2003.  As Intercontinental champion, Orton became longest IC champion surpassing The Honky Tonk Man’s record. This propelled him as a WWE force expertly.
Booked to assist Triple  H in an Elimination Chamber match to protect HHH from possibly losing his title in a match where odds and brutality were highly stacked against him, Orton did his duty and fell to Goldberg, in Goldberg and Triple H’s rivalry for the title.

The hunger for World title dominance soon surfaced. Wanting a taste of the gold, as any performer should, Orton realised he was being held back. Once Chris Benoit defeated Triple H for the strap, Randy saw an opportunity to go for it. His Evolution pals were not happy and advised him on occasion not to step on toes.
At Summerslam, Orton could not feel repressed any longer and provabally climbed his mountain. He defeated Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship in a career defining moment. He received a handshake after the match, and now became viewed as a “man”. Babyface Orton was just one step away.
After claiming he gold, a mock celebration was held for Randy by his team mates. Seemingly fine, with disgruntled looks, Batista lifted Orton atop his shoulders. All smiles again. Until Triple H gave the dreaded thumbs down signal to Randy. Realising he had been stitched up by his supporters Orton didn’t have time to process any comeback as The Animal dropped Orton had down from his shoulders.  Orton was officially ousted from the group.
Failing to return the World title to leader HHH, sparked a feud from the two lasting only one month in length as Tripper reclaimed the title at Unforgiven. 

Exacting revenge Orton would hide in a cake in the centre of the ring to ambush his former friends in a cake-bath! Randy was caked in it, all down his chest. Fans were ever more impressed. They craved a slice.

At Taboo Tuesday, the WWE’s fan interaction PPV, in which audience members voted on the matches, Orton would face the legendary Ric Flair in a steel cage.  Yet another making of Orton, he defeated a bloody Flair to mass success.
One month later at Survivor Series, won he stipulation to become General Manager of Raw for a week. 
In January, 2005, was inserted into his second Elimination Chamber match, at New Year’s Revolution. He then went on to defeat Batista for a Royal Rumble match on the Jan 10th broadcast.
Entered a brief relationship with Stacy Keibler.  Over this period of downplay, Rand briefly fought Christian then moving onwards to take Superstar Billy Graham’s advice when the legend returned to Raw.

Kissing the Kiebler
Heeding those valuable words to make a name for himself, now that he was out of the World title picture, Rand presented a copy of WWE magazine, which The Undertaker graced the cover of. He chose to make a bold move. On March 5th, he would officially challenge The Undertaker to a Wrestlemania match. He wanted to dispel Undertaker’s streak and place the 1 mark on ‘Taker’s sterling record.
In order to show his strength and deadly behaviour to prove he would do anything to make it succeed, he turned and slammed his unsuspecting on screen girlfriend Stacy Keibler with the RKO Breaking up with your girlfriend with a powerfully destructive RKO gained new low (and loathing) for Orton. It delivered the emotional response needed to develop this storyline further. It was first class.
Though “unafraid” of the Deadman, once signs of Undertaker being near occurred, Orton ran in heelistic fashion, further adding intensity to the ‘Mania build up. Orton was setting himself up, along with ‘Taker beautifully as the only one who could potentially topple the soul less grave walker.

Jake “the Snake” Roberts then gave Orton further advice. Someone who had dealt with Undertaker, on the receiving end, informed Randy advice of caution. His father, “Cowboy” Bob Orton would also help cement the foundation for the grand event by helping his lowly son commit sneak attacks on Undie at Smackdown shows. At the grand stage orton lost credibly after some interferance from his father. Even he could not best the Deadman in what was a highly enriched main event that for the first time in a long while of deadpan opponents, Orton gave the feeling that Undertaker could potentially lose one battle in the fresh hot headed challenger whom was booked superbly as an adversary. Orton paved the way for Batista and Edge to also prove debatable foes for Undi's streak to end in consecutive years.

2005 arrived, which saw now world champion Batista become Orton's new opponent. After suffering a damaging loss and ego laced defeat, 'Taker had given Orton injury from their epic collision. This made the Raw hothead ineligable, in his words to be drafted in the annual draft. It would be WWE Chairman Vincent Kennedy McMahon to break the news that Orton would be shown no favouritism and was included for selection to switch.
As the number 2 weekly draftee, Orton apperared on the June 16th episode of Smackdown to confirm the change. Randy was now a fully fledged Smackdown superstar.
He would re-instigate his Undertaker feud at Summerslam with another loss that built Orton once again. It wasn't harmful to his growing reputation.
One month later he would defeat Shawn Michaels for team Raw at Survivor Series as the lone Survivor in a traditional 5 on 5 team brand battle. Orton followed on to 'kill' Undertaker for good on Smackdown, only for the Deadman to resurface in flaming lighting bursts, reborn in a casket, which Orton with his father, Cowboy Bob defeated in a 2 on 1 handicap casket match directly after their Summerslam clash.

Hell In A Cell, in Decemeber would be the final battle. If Undertaker lost, he would retire. At Armaggeddon, Orton would slam the RKO on the legend, then allowing Cowboy Bob to hand Orton the Urn, the source of Undertaker's power, now contained by whomeever should hold it.
This became a notable and extremely pleasing 9 month fued.
Orton would return to embark on a new chapter. Embarking on to the 30 Man Royal Rumble match, and entering as man number thirty, was eliminated by Rey Mysterio. Orton would coax Mysterio into placing his title shot on the line after distasteful (scripted) remarks about the late Eddie Guerrero's death, after Rey was seen as a substitute champion, based on being one of Guerrero's best personal friends. Audience members were highly disgruntled with the distasteful quips from the creative team when used as a mechanism to gain heel heat only. Though it worked. Sure enough, In February, at No Way Out, Orton defeated Mysterio who concurred and placed his title shot on the line. Mysterio gambled his title shot at Wrestlemania away.
Seemingly over, Smackdown General Manager, Theodroe Long re added Rey to the 'Mania 22 event, thus undoing the match principal beforehand. Then champion Kurt Angle was now placed into a Triple Threat World title match up. On April 2nd, Orton was pinned by Rey, who lifted Angle's title through a third man not directly involved with the title, but as an approach to work a storyline to create Smackdown's newest heel, who did not become champion and was always going to be seen as the lesser thrid man to Champion v Challenger over Orton.

Orton ruined his chances. He served a 60 day suspension for "unprofessional conduct". He stated "My conduct was unbecoming of a champion, which is what I will be when I return". Keen to keep his position after a strict dressing down from Vinnie Mac, Orton had a storyline injury in place to cover his suspension. Angle was credited with the injury breaking Orton's angle.
In June, to re-build his troubled departure, was re-sent to the Raw brand once more. Angle was also switched to the Raw brand, to begin the heat burner battles between the two. Matches at One Night Stand and Vengeance put both back on the map and placed wrestling in comfortable parameters.
Orton would move on to the biggest legend in WWE history. At Summerslam he entered a program with Hulk Hogan. Also flirting with 18 year old daughter Brooke, parodies of the Hogan family and traditional insults to the aging icon, the Legend V Legend Killer match took place. It was in this match that support for Hogan from fans waivered. Failing to put Orton over, the hottest, youngest and vital cog to wrestling at that time, who could have benefited immensly in one night did not get the nod from Hogan. It was a crushing blow to Rand. And Fans were highly unimpressed. (This was the foundation lad by Hogan. The final straw breaking the camel's back would be one year later, again, failing to lose one match in his career to Shawn Michaels, when favour is traditional meant to be returned in good faith).

D-Generation X would be reformed. Comprised of Michaels and Triple H alone, "no one" was allowed to join. Orton teamed with another stronghold, Edge. Together they former team "Rated RKO", in a bid to rival DX and take over the industry on screen. Ego held them back on that part. Friend of DX, Ric Flair was attacked by the heelish pair of Rated RKO in which the Nature Boy juiced horrifically, on Novemeber 27th with steel chairs. They also became the tag team champions on Raw.

DX planned to take those titles at New Years Revolution but the bout ended in no contest, after Triple H suffered a legitimate injury, while in the match. Michaels was to go it alone.
Michaels would enlist America's sweatheart, John Cena to topple the mighty foes. Orton and Edge suffered crippling losses henceforth, including the loss of their very tag titles on January 29th. All four were to split up. Edge and Orton would be miffed with each other, while disolution between champions Shawn and Cena would unfold.

It was here that Orton took off with the Legend Killer monkier, adopting the high raised DDT, and running punt to the head. Michaels would sell for Orton generously, with a kayfabe collapse concussion at the Judgment Day PPV. Fans and Vince McMahon lapped it up.
Over coming months Orton's rampage continued, claiming victims in Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and Sgt. Slaughter. On the July 23rd Raw , he became number 1 conender to John Cena's WWE Championship at Summerslam. With three seperate attacks on Cena, with damaging RKO's, none could envisage Orton toppling favoured golden boy Cena. He didn't. 

Raw GM William Regal declined his demanding rematch. Upon meeting McMahon later, he offered Randy a lifeline. But only if he proved himself. Orton would strike by interferring in Cena's match then stalking and punting his father, at ringside, in the head. McMahon was impressed and granted the match. It was an oversight. orton won by DQ when babyface Cena pounded Orton with clubbing blows unwilling to stop. 

No Mercy saw McMahon strip Cena of the title and award said prize to Orton. In reality, Cena suffered injury and could not continue as champion. Carefully constructed, Orton would nonsensically lose the title to Triple H in the opening match of the show. At this time Orton became the fourth shortest WWE title reign in the company's history. More bafflingly, Orton would defeated Triple H in the main event match - a Last Man Standing match, for the title, now becoming a two time champion in one evening.

On October 8th, Shawn Michaels returned to Raw, to face Orton once again. Orton tasted the Sweet Chin Music. Setting up a match for Cyber Sunday, fans could select, Mr.Kennedy, Jeff Hardy or HBK. In an obvious choice in the fan interaction PPV, Orton delivered a low blow, thus retained the title. Another bout was scheduled at Survivor Series, where HBK graciously sold Orton like no other. It was here Orton evolved faster, thanks to Michaels' lie down.

Defeating Jeff Hardy at Royal Rumble, Cena returned to challenge Orton, after winning the 2008 Royal Rumble as the shock entry. Cena decided to cash in his title opportunity one month earlier, at No Way Out. Orton, once again got himself disqualified. At Wrestlemania, Orton defied the odds by retaining in a Triple Threat with Triple H and Cena, in a highly enthralling guessing game, where no one would assume Orton would leave with title in tow. Triple H pedigreed Cena, giving Orton the cowardly pin over in a downplay of backstage games.
Clear to most understand the business, from this Orton lost the title to Triple H at Backlash in a Fatal 4 Way elimination bout. At One Night Stand, in a Last Man Standing challenge, Orton finally fell to Triple H to end their series. Sadly for Orton, he suffered a real injury breaking his colalrbone.

He would return to the 2009 Royal Rumble match to gain victory, where he was re-branded "The Viper". Doubts of his win he sketchy, as he re-injured his collarbone close to his return in a motorcycle accident, after winning the event.

Returning to Raw to maintain his injury exposure, Orton would mock all champions on the brand. Taking exception, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes, as tag champions aimed to appeal to Randy.

On the Novemeber 3rd Raw, DiBiase caused a disqualification for Orton after running in to assist in his match against Punk. By Decemeber 1st Orton proposed a tangent to Rhodes and Manu as a trio. The Legacy was born one week later when they defeated Batsita and Triple H, in a handicap match.
January 25th 2009 saw Orton win the Royal Rumble last removing HHH from the challenge. At the March 2nd broadcast, Orton made clear he would fight for Tripper's gold title. Orton would lose at Mania XXV, though won the World title one month later at Backlash in a six man tag match with Cody and Ted, defeating HHH, Batista and Shane McMahon.

2009 was also the year in which, to add to the feud, Randy RKO'ed Stephanie McMahon Helmsley, whilst acknowledged as Triple H's real life wife, whilst H was handcuffed to the turnbuckle to helplessly watched . After the RKO, Stephanie received a beautiful and envious kiss on the lips for her troubles.

Bizarly, Orton would lose the title at Extreme Rules, one month on to Batista in a Steel Cage. Orton and Legacy then attacked Batista the following night on Raw to break his arm, forcing him to vacate the championship. Orton won it back on June 15th in a Fatal 4 Way with John Cena, HHH and Big Show. It was a sore point for Orton's career to have such downplay and devaluation.
Orton then lost to Cena at Breaking Point in an "I Quit" match, but won it back in October at Hell In A Cell in the very same match of the PPV. At Bragging Rights, Orton again dropped to Cena in a 60 minute Ironman match up. The feud had already tired out.
January 11th 2010 saw a win in a triple threat with his Legacy cohorts being able to challenge new champion Sheamus for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble. It was at this match that Orton made a performer out of Sheamus, crediting him with one of the best matches in his lukewarm journey as champion. However, on shaky ground to prove themseleves, Rhodes interefered and cost Orton his chance at victory. After this, Orton attacked both his Legacy members for their idiocy.

On Feb 15th at Raw, Orton lost yet another match by DQ. Both Rhodes and DiBiase caused a run in. Unsure of intentions, Randy was annoyed. Both Orton and DiBiase then competed in the Elimination Chamber match for the championship.
DiBiase broke their partnership after Rhodes passed a steel pipe through the chains to Ted, who smacked it over Orton to then eliminate him from becoming WWE champion. In a six man tag the next evening Orton chose to retribute his wrongs by attacking them both. The dilution was set, and break up was imminent.

This led to Wrestlemania XXVI, seeing orton face both members of Legacy in a handicap match, which Randy won. Ideally Rhodes should have won here, however the match was still adequate and Orton was praised for his sterling work to create two new level characters on different persona levels the company needed to encorporate.

Orton, now babyface, fought Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship in April, at the Extreme Rules PPV. Though he did not win, he carried Swagger further as a new talent. On the draft episode of Raw, Edge speared Orton, costing him a number one contenders spot.

Continuing on at Over The Limit, Randy then suffered a shattering blow. Seperating his right shoulder in the match, forcing Edge to think fast, while both on the outside, and take the result to a double count out, Orton was injured.

Returning in June at Fatal 4 Way, he battled Sheamus, Cena and Edge for the title, to no avail. on July 19th he defeated Edge and Chris Jericho to become number one contender to face Sheamus at Summerslam. Sheamus caused DQ by entering a steel chair. In a reversal of misfortune, Orton planted an RKO on Sheamus after using the steel chair itself.
At Night of Champions, the chance was here and now. in a six pack elimination challenge, Orton defeated Cena, Jericho, Sheamus, Edge and Wade Barrett to become the WWE Champion for the sixth time.

After a successful defence at Hell In A Cell's PPV against Sheamus, Orton was drifted to work with Wade Barrett. Barrett, who as Nexus leader who recently 'acquired' John Cena to enter the supergroup by match stipulation, aimed to use Cena in order to wrest the title from Orton to Barrett.
At both Bragging Rights and Survivor Series, Orton felled Barrett's attempts. Adding a Novemebr 22nd Raw victory also signified their end. What he wasn't prepared for was losing his title immediately after being worn down by Barrett, to an opportunistic The Miz.

Miz cashed in his Money In The Bank title contract to lift the WWE Championship for the very first time. It was here that a new star was created and even though 'only lying down' Orton again put new talent over well. The Miz needed to have a huge win to start his reign high, and Orton gave that accolayde to him.

Orton could not recapture the title at TLC:Tables Ladders and Chairs, nor at Royal Rumble either, after interferances from the New Nexus, now led by CM Punk instead of Barrett. The Miz again was sold expertly by Orton.

Orton would go on to appear once more in the Elimination Chamber match for the Raw brand. After this loss, he would continue on to punt all members (Michael McGuillicutty, Mason Ryan and David Otunga) of the new Nexus making them inactive from the powerful punts. CM Punk, as leader, was all alone. Both went on to have a challenge at Wrestlemania XXVII in what was a potential early feud of the year candidate. The match lacked a slight ingredient, though was still an adequate encounter.

On April 11th, all three inactive members of new Nexus returned to cost Orton his number one contenders match. At the 2011 annual draft, two weeks priorOrton was drafted to Smackdown in a surprise but essential move. he needed to switch in order to re-establish his charcterisation. As Smackdown stronghold, he managed to defeat Punk in their series ending programme at Extreme Rules.

He would join Christian to battle Brodus Clay and Alberto Del Rio on the blue brand. Orton then recieved a title opening to then champion Christian. Orton claimed his second World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Captain Charisma, in what would become one of the most intangible booking decisions for the WWE Universe.
Over The Limit and Capitol Punishment saw successful defences, before losing at Money In The Bank via DQ, though as per stipulation, if DQ'ed the title would switch. Rand's temper resurfaced and Christian regained the World title for the second time. Orton reclaimed once more at Summerslam in a No Holds Barred match which saw Randy work tremendously for Christian, who did not have booking approval, yet had the Universe in their droves behind him. Both worked dexterously which made their culmination of their series become the feud of 2011. No one could best it.
The the live August 30th Smackdown episode, a Steel Cage match ended their programme. (Orton retained.)

Orton would then be earmarked for a challenge with Mark Henry. Realising Orton did not deserve to be ruined at the expense of the over ladened Henry, who was undeserving of his spot, Orton was sensibly shifted to a more talented individual. Night of Champions saw Randy Orton lose the World title to the World's Strongest man, in a match that should not have occured.

The rematch at Hell In A Cell then moved him to his next opponent. Cody Rhodes would cost him the title in a rematch after earning a #1 contenders spot in the 41 man Battle Royal etravaganza.
He would then defeat Rhodes in sterling matches from Vengeance and Smackdown, in a Street Fight that was another making of Cody Rhodes by Orton as well as a powerful display of contenders in wrestling values for match worth.

Orton then suffered once more. Scheduled to win the Royal Rumble three months earlier to the event, in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, Orton, in December took and awful tumble on Smackdown in his match with Wade Barrett.
Both also fought in a Tables match at TLC, which again, saw Orton severly sell newbie Barrett as serious contender and entity. He did all he could for Barrett in another outstanding display.
WWE's most fashionable beard monger with style, integrity and passion sits at the top of WWE's tree. Classed as a man whom does not need a Heavyweight title can only prove his excellence, though fans want him to receive the title when it is not obvious and not when a new star can be formed and given as a last resort. 

Able to build those new opponents, Orton has proved his dominance in the industry, entangled with his skill set and wrestling psychology, which has made him a unique breed that can be unrivalled. Though Master Orton always gives opponents equal standing. WWE would be lost without him. Whatever he goes on to do in WWE, Orton has further options than initially perceived. Though he will always remain second best to John Cena, in company portrayal. However one instance is paramount. Orton can wrestle, draw men to the sport and perform his   talents seductively. 

© Max Waltham 28th March 2012 


  1. Randy is really cute and i watch WWE Monday's and Friday's all the time!!!!

  2. love randy orton . whoever anonmymous is back off hes mine. he has it all randy orton is beautiful/cute/hot , smart,strong, rich, amazing etc

    1. Well His Married And Has A Kid.So Stop Being So Stupid About It.

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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