Game Rating: 92
HEIGHT: 6'5" WEIGHT: 235 lbs.
FROM: St. Louis, Mo.
FIRST WWE GAME: WWE SmackDown: Shut Your Mouth
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: WWE Champion; World Heavyweight Champion; 2009 Royal Rumble Match winner; Money in the Bank Match winner
Randy Orton was born a WWE Superstar.
From the moment he was hatched, The Viper walked among the ring’s most revered figures, even calling one of them “dad.” His father is WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton, his uncle Barry “Barry O” Orton and his grandfather, the late “The Big O,” Bob Orton Sr., all among the most fierce and rugged grapplers of their generations.
Most kids remember their first ball game or school play; Randy’s childhood memories include sitting in the kitchen of his family’s St. Louis home with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, and repairing a broken banister leaned on by Andre the Giant. He wasn’t even 5 years old when he watched his father knock out “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff in the main event at the inaugural WrestleMania.
The voices coiling through Orton’s head today have not misguided him. And neither did Triple H and Ric Flair, who groomed Orton early on, welcoming him into their elite faction, Evolution. Under their tutelage, the 24-year-old Orton became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history at SummerSlam 2004. The next night on Raw, however, an envious Triple H, who coveted Orton’s championship, attacked his stablemate and jettisoned him from the faction.
The treachery was shocking, but also critical to Randy’s own evolution. In the years that followed, he perfected his “Legend Killing” RKO — a signature move named after his own initials and the maneuver’s knockout vigor. How feared is it? Just ask the men who’ve succumbed to a lightning-quick RKO strike from literally every possible angle or position: Mick Foley, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
As dangerous as he is solo, Orton was arguably even more so lethal when paired with Edge as half of Rated-RKO in 2004 and with The Legacy’s Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase throughout the “Age of Orton” in 2009. More recently, The Viper’s chosen to partner with internal voices stirred by Intermittent Explosive Disorder, a disease marked by extreme outbursts of rage.
After winning the Money in the Bank All Stars Match, The Viper spent weeks coolly biding his time, waiting for the perfect time to cash in and claim his tenth World Title. That opportunity came at SummerSlam, in a moment that should have been Daniel Bryan’s greatest as a WWE Superstar. Mere instants after Bryan defeated Cena for the WWE Championship, Orton cashed in his contract and – in what can only be described as a shocking assist from special guest referee, WWE COO and longtime rival Triple H – pinned a helpless Bryan to claim the WWE Title as his own.
The next night on Raw, during his WWE Championship Coronation, to add insult to injury, he hit an already battered Bryan with a searing RKO. With the help of Triple H, The Shield and a reluctant Big Show, “the face of WWE” has continued attacking the bearded WWE fan-favorite on both Raw and SmackDown. In addition to Bryan, the Rhodes family has also felt The Viper’s bite, as Orton defeated his former Legacy ally Cody Rhodes on the Sept. 2 Raw – resulting in the second-generation Superstar’s termination– and then outfought Cody’s retribution-minded brother Goldust the following week.
At Night of Champions, Orton threw everything he had at Bryan, but the determined challenger fought back and caught The Viper with a devastating running knee strike to reclaim the WWE Title. A quick three-count and referee Scott Armstrong’s suspect admission of some kind of conspiracy with Bryan the next night on Raw, however, were enough for Triple H to strip the bearded wonder of the title and hold it in abeyance. With Bryan frustrated and the WWE Universe questioning the status of the WWE Championship, Orton took an opportunity to cheap-shot the now-former champion with an RKO. Following Triple H and Stephanie McMahon’s demand that The Viper find the twisted, unremorseful Randy Orton of old, he did just that with a brutal mauling of The Miz that left “The Awesome One” injured and a similar assault on Bryan that was only averted when much of the WWE roster came to the outnumbered underdog’s aid.
The Apex Predator dominates the WWE food chain once more, and he has the support of WWE’s Chief Operating Officer, as well as Stephanie McMahon and Mr. McMahon. Orton’s next move as the “face of WWE” remains unknown; all that is certain is that when The Viper next strikes, it will be without warning.