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Wrestling / Randy Orton

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"If you were to design a sports entertainer from the ground up, it would look exactly like Randy Orton."

Randal Keith Orton (born on April 1, 1980 in Knoxville, Tennessee) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to the WWE. Orton is a third-generation professional wrestler; his grandfather Bob Orton Sr., father "Cowboy" Bob Orton, as well as his uncle Barry O, all competed in the professional wrestling industry.

Before being promoted to the main WWE roster, Orton trained in and wrestled for Mid-Missouri Wrestling Association-Southern Illinois Conference Wrestling for a month. He was then sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). There, Orton held the OVW Hardcore Championship on two separate occasions.

After signing with WWE, Orton became a member of the stable Evolution, where he acquired the moniker "The Legend Killer": an unstoppable golem of a man who physically targeted Hall of Famers and other veterans of the industry, usually outside of appropriate restrictions. In 2004, Orton became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion when he won the title at the age of twenty-four (defeating Chris Benoit). This win resulted in his departure from Evolution and a feud with his former stablemates. In 2006, Orton joined forces with Edge in a tag team known, Rated-RKO. Together, Orton and Edge held the World Tag Team Championship. After the team disbanded, Orton won the WWE Championship twice in one night in mid-2007 (said title changes being the only time that title changed hands that year).


These days, Orton is better known for his decade-long feud with John Cena — actually much longer, originating back when they were both scrappy upstarts in OVW. Ironically, in an inversion of their usual WWE feud dynamic, Orton was the face and Cena was the heel. In fact, you would be forgiven for thinking these two are descended gods who have been fighting down through the centuries. There's been roughly 30 single matches between Cena and Orton, but if you count multiple matches —Tag Matches, Triple Threats, Hell in a Cells, Elimination Matches, Elimination Chambers — the number is probably around 125.

Also considered one of the more practical/lazy wrestlers in the near century-long existence of pro wrestling (counting the carny days), while every other wrestler was coming up with new crazy risky moves to finally put their opponent down, Randy Orton was the one man to go "Why don't I kick him in the head really hard?"


He is a nine time WWE World Heavyweight Championnote , a four time and final World Heavyweight Champion, one time Intercontinental Champion, a one time World Tag Team Champion alongside Edge, and a one time Smackdown Tag Team Champion alongside The Wyatt Family. In 2017, he won the second Royal Rumble of his career.

As usual, That Other Wiki has more details on his career.

"I hear tropes in my head. They counsel me. They understand. They talk to me.":

  • Aborted Arc: Looked to have a feud with Chris Jericho in 2012 after getting attack by Jericho in a match. Then it was all dropped when both got suspended within a week of each other, Orton for 60 days due to a Wellness Violation and Jericho for 30 days due to him kicking an Brazilian flag, which is a huge no no.
  • Always Someone Better: Daniel Bryan's looking to be this for Orton, as Randy has never been able to get one up on Bryan in a legitimate one-on-one scenario without any controversy, interference or distractions. This was discussed by Cole and company during their 12/16/13 main event encounter, which ended in a DQ win for Bryan when Orton low-blowed him, further emphasizing the point.
    • Ironically, during an interview with AJ Styles on Talking Smack, Daniel confesses to AJ that the best wrestler he has ever been with in the ring, including AJ, is Randy.
  • Ambiguously Brown: He's actually white (which is somewhat obvious) - just rather tan. He sometimes even gives off a bronze/golden skin tone, which has inspired some to dub Orton as WWE's literal "golden boy."
    • He's actually not completely white. He's part Cherokee.
  • Anti-Hero: Compared to most of the smiling, rule-abiding faces in the organization, and YMMV on the extent, Orton fits this anywhere from type III-V.
  • Anti-Villain: In his feud with Edge in early 2020. While Randy is the unambiguous villain of the story, attacking his old friend and brutalizing his neck just after Edge came out of retirement, in Orton's own twisted mind he's doing his old friend a favor and trying to save him from himself, from taking his already-damaged body and ruining it beyond repair to chase the high of the roar of the crowd and the adrenaline rush of victory, by injuring him so badly he will have no choice but to go right back into retirement.
  • Animal Motif: Vipers, venomous snakes in general.
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • John Cena and Triple H have been his biggest feuds. With Cena, that got so personal, Cena's father got involved - twice. His feud with Triple H went as far back as his days in Evolution, and him getting kicked out rather brutally after winning the World Heavyweight Title, which was something he couldn't forget and wouldn't let go of, and would later target Hunter's family.
    • The Undertaker for the period when he tried to break "The Streak", even proving he was badass enough, by turning heel again, since leaving Evolution, but giving his girlfriend Stacy Keibler an RKO.
    • His feud with CM Punk was a two year long wait on the behalf of Punk, who previously had to vacate his title after being punted by Orton, and thus couldn't defend it on the Unforgiven PPV in 2008. This lead to Punk taking over leadership of The Nexus, and using its members to weaken Orton for their match at WrestleMania 27.
    • After Christian won the World Heavyweight title in 2011, for the first time, and five days laternote  had to defend it against Orton, by popular vote by "WWE universe", and losing, their mutual respect for one another turned sour when Christian turned heel and demanded several re-matches for the title, ultimately winning it back, before losing it back to Orton about a month later. Christian is generally regarded as the rival Randy had the most chemistry with in regards to both matches and actual feud-building.
    • His short feud with Cody Rhodes stemmed from their days in Legacy, with Rhodes feeling he never got the retribution he needed, and it got very bloody at one point, with Orton hitting Rhodes over the head with the ring bell, necessitating stitches.
    • Wade Barrett became a pain for him, when his team won at Survivor Series, pinning Orton, and at one point pushing Orton down a flight of stairs, their feud came to an end, a few months after that after Orton winning a No DQ match to settle things, once and for all.
    • When Kane returned from injury, Orton became a target, since prior to Mark Henry putting Kane on the shelf, they've had matches, which Kane lost, and Kane felt his humanity had taken over, so he needed to defeat Orton in order for him bury that humanity he had inside him.
    • Randy also had many issues with Batista over the years, stemming from Batista's part in Randy's ousting from Evolution, though it's only in the last five years that they have directly opposed each other. It's mainly due to the fact that while Randy hated Dave for his part in the betrayal, he hated Hunter far, far more.
    • Long story short, Randy tends to not make many friends. Then again, considering his character (regardless of his alignment), it's highly doubtful Randy's had any to begin with.
    • Most recently, he has been feuding with Seth Rollins of whom has replaced him as the "Face of the WWE." Irony set in a few months later when Orton allied himself with Reigns and Ambrose in their feud with the Wyatt Family, and showed as much chemistry with them as Seth himself did when they were in the Shield together.
    • Jinder Mahal from April until Battleground 2017.
    • Jeff Hardy after his Face–Heel Turn at Extreme Rules 2018.
    • Rey Mysterio in fall 2018.
    • AJ Styles after Styles provoke him that's Orton make it to the WWE because of his family and his stable Evolution, Rated-RKO, The Legacy, The Authority and The Wyatt Family and also provoke that's he failed the drug test.
  • Ascended Meme: The "RKO Outta Nowhere" meme, on two instances:
    • First was during the 4/20/2015 episode of RAW. To put into context: Orton was slated for a cage match against Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules that year, with a stipulation that the RKO was banned. Seeing as he would not get to use it during their match (which was at that time a week away), Orton decided to "get it all out of his system" and RKO anyone he sees. One highlight was when he RKO'd Heath Slater through the table at the canteen; prior to the latter's Oh, Crap! face, no one expected Orton to be there as the camera was focused on Slater.
    • The second was in the 8/1/2016 episode of RAW, as buildup to his Summerslam match with Brock Lesnar. To put into context: Paul Heyman was doing his usual Large Ham promo for his client, up to the point where he emphasized the fact that Orton can never hit the RKO on Lesnar (while the camera was focused on Lesnar). Cue RKO on Lesnar.
    • Two others used as counters have since made it into the repertoire of Khaos' character Jet Brazie.
      • His RKO on Evan Bourne as Evan tried hitting Air Bourne became known in Jet's move pool as the EDEN Cutter, while one he hit as a counter to John Cena's Attitude Adjustment is a tables-only counter-cutter move dubbed the NEUE Cutter (the RKO in particular won Orton a Tables Match against Cena before Night of Champions 2010).
  • Asshole Victim: Despite not "killing" anybody, Orton's punt has been treated as equal. So when CM Punk faced off Orton for revenge, he was more than justified.
  • Audience Surrogate: Arguably a big reason for his popularity. Contrasting him with John Cena (who's pretty much a straight-up Boy Scout aside from a few moments), Orton does what he wants, when he wants, to who he wants — not only with very few consequences, but also often invokedgetting cheered for it. Who's lived long enough that hasn't wanted to go completely apeshit with impunity (on bosses and coworkers in particular) at least once?
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The elevated "spike" DDT he uses from the second rope is really cool and brutal-looking, but if his victim's conscious enough to get his feet off the second rope, it'll get countered. Which WWE seems to recognize, as it's the one of his Five Moves of Doom that he never seems to get off on his first try.
  • Ax-Crazy: Hell yes.
  • Badass Beard: A constant coating of Perma-Stubble.
  • Badass Boast: "I embrace hate! And hate embraces me!"
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: During his days in Evolution.
  • Bald of Awesome
  • Bald of Evil
  • Berserk Button: The one thing MITB 2011 taught us about Randy Orton? Don't spit in his face. Or do, if you're trying to get him disqualified.
  • Big Bad: In 2009, during the Road to WrestleMania, due to his constant attacks of the McMahon family and his threatening to cancel the event all together should he be fired for his actions, along with winning the Royal Rumble match that year.
  • Birds of a Feather: Legacy, a Power Stable Randy formed with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr., was built around the fact that all three of them were the sons of famous wrestlers. Manu, son of Afa from The Wild Samoans, and Sim Snuka, son of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, were considered as entrants as well but ultimately didn't make the cut.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: During his feud with Triple H over the course of the first half of 2009, Orton was made out to be a Dirty Coward by repeatedly stalking and taunting Triple H, putting 'H's father-in-law Vince McMahon and brother-in-law Shane McMahon in the hospital, knocking out his wife Stephanie McMahon and kissing her while unconscious, and using the members of Legacy (Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase) to do much of his dirty work and bail him out during matches. But you didn't have to be especially perceptive to point out that the McMahons partially deserved it after insulting Orton's father and firing Orton's ally Chris Jericho simply for speaking rudely to Stephanie. (And this doesn't even take into account the fact that Orton and Jericho were right to complain, correctly accusing John "Bradshaw" Layfield of bribing Shawn Michaels to help him win a shot at John Cena's WWE Championship by unfair means.) Not to mention that Triple H had all this coming for a long time due to the fact that he'd had his Evolution stablemates attack Orton in a jealous rage after Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship in 2004. Not that this wasn't noted in Kayfabe, Triple H even used the fact he screwed Randy over to goad him into fighting him.
    Triple H: I'm not a good person, Randy...
  • Book-Ends: Tapped out to John Cena's STF at the beginning of their Iron Man match at Bragging Rights 2009; this was done pragmatically, as a quick tap-out with more than 50 minutes left on the clock would leave him fresh and ready to continue. Near the end, he was forced to tap out for real with the score tied at 5 each, causing him to lose the WWE Championship.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Orton wrestles a very simple but effective wrestling style. Technically there's nothing wrong with that, but if you don't hold an appreciation for that sort of thing his matches tend to be boring as hell.
    • The crazy part is that he basically wrestles as a heel from the mid eighties, with his melodramatic knee drops and stomps, combined with his incredibly heelish middle rope DDT. Randy has great Wrestling Psychology…for a methodical heel, even though half the time he's a sociopathic face.
    • His wrestling style is also completely practical from a business standpoint. Guys who do really flashy moves and take crazy bumps through tables or off ladders or even just in the ring might be more entertaining for audiences to watch, but they can't put on a match like that every single night, and their bodies inevitably suffer for it. (Note how, since the NXT and indie influence on the main roster has become more pronounced in The New '10s the standard workrate has increased somewhat but injuries have also seen a massive uptick) With his style, Orton could potentially wrestle a match five nights a week if the bosses asked him to, with a fairly low risk of injury (for him and for the other wrestler/s he's working with) and with comparatively little chance that he's going to have to retire prematurely.
      • Enforced at the beginning of his career by some of the legends that mentored him. He used to feature several top rope moves in his arsenal. Once he hit main event status, though, his mentor(s) advised him to remove them because, first off, they were too risky for a guy of his status and health history (he's got shoulder issues) and, second, because he didn't need them to get over.
  • Broken Ace: Presented this way in kayfabe, with some Reality Subtext. Orton was the talented athlete that most of WWE's higher-ups envisioned at the top of the company back around 2003-2005, but never surpassed John Cena's status mostly because of his inability to stay out of his own way. In kayfabe, especially, most of his heel turns, his most recent in particular, are marked with bouts of insecurity and paranoia — despite (or perhaps because of) ostensibly being The Authority's handpicked champion.note  And, both in and out of kayfabe, Orton still occasionally dips into anger and behavioral issues.
  • Captain Obvious: "You might not know this about me, but I have a severe anger management problem." No Randy, we'd never have guessed. We thought you just didn't realize that kicking people in the skull as hard as you can could cause significant injury.
  • Catchphrase: "My name is Randy Orton."
  • Characterization Marches On: Orton was a clean-cut, respectful baby face when he first debuted in 2002. Even after he turned heel a few months later, he still had that wide-eyed enthusiastic personality. Contrast that to the modern day Orton and it's like two different people. This can be attributed to his time in Evolution with him getting violently thrown out of the group, and his later quest to become a WWE Champion no matter what. He probably realized he couldn't keep those traits if he wanted to get anywhere in WWE.
  • Cheap Heat: During his feud with Rey Mysterio Jr., Orton told Rey that recently deceased Eddie Guerrero was in Hell. Even for his Jerkass hat that he was sporting at the time, most everyone said that was going way too far. Even Tazz sounded legitimately off about that. In a shoot interview on WrestleMania Rewind, he stated it hurt to say it. He also stated that the comment was cleared by Eddie's family.
  • Cherry Tapping: In a backstage brawl with Wade Barrett, Randy, in the middle of beating the crap out of Barrett, soaked him with a water hose and dumped the contents of a garbage can (although not the garbage can itself) onto his head. Then he RKO'd him through the roof of a car.
  • Chronic Villainy: Like most wrestlers in the modern era he’s a Heel–Face Revolving Door, but Randy has a tendency to randomly betray or attack people just for the hell of it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Kicking people really hard in the head.
  • Composite Character: Since his 2005 move to Smackdown, Orton started to merge shreds of his Viper persona while also reviving some of the animation and personality he had during his membership and later feud with Evolution.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • His "Randy News Network" vignettes from the first time he was out with injury. He pretty much started every promo with a hi and his name. Between then and now, actually, this was basically the gimmick of Dolph Ziggler.
    • Also, during his title celebration after his 2013 heel turn, he (among other things) tightly embraced Stephanie McMahon, at which point Michael Cole really flipped out and said something to the effect of, "After everything he's put that young lady through?" Of course, for those with decent memories, a younger Randy Orton feuded with the McMahon family — punting everyone he could get a foot to except for Stephanie herself, whom Orton once gave an RKO and once delivered an elevated DDT and kissed on the lips with a tied-up Triple H Forced to Watch.
  • Cool Car: His interest in them seems to be a minor character quirk of his that nobody really talks about - probably because it mainly shows up when he's a heel. But it seems like Randy is terribly Genre Blind about his rides, which usually ends with them being defaced or destroyed.
  • Corpsing: During a multi-man in-ring face-off on the Jan. 29 2019 episode of SmackDown, Samoa Joe came out to tear a strip off the guys in the ring. When Jeff Hardy tried to interrupt, Joe's scathing rebuke ("Heyheyhey, do me a favor- why don't you act like this is an AA meeting and you shut yo' mouth while I'm sharing with the group!") was so funny that Randy crouched down with his hands over his ears to try and hide how badly he was cracking up.
  • Creator's Pet: He became an In-Universe example of this throughout 2013-14. In this storyline, The Authority has decided he is the "Face" of the WWE, and they kept the championship on him at all costs under the guise that it's "best for business", and used their power and influence to clear any potential challengers to his position. By late 2014, Randy was being phased out of this role in favor of the new "Golden Boy," Seth Rollins. He didn't take too kindly to it.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Punt kick has become this — apparently it's been legitimately banned, which is why Randy hasn't been seen using it as often in the last two years. Apparently, also, WWE relaxed that ban for Extreme Rules 2013, where Randy used it to beat The Big Show, just to show how serious things had gotten... and then again at Survivor Series the same year... same guy, too.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The 'Viper' gimmick in comparison to his original 'Legend Killer' gimmick.
    • Also, he is pushed as a Darker and Edgier counterpart to John Cena.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Usually with threats more than jokes. For example, when Ashton Kutcher guest-hosted RAW for his movie Killers, he told Zack Ryder that he put a hit on him. Randy, being called the "Silent Assassin" and the "Legend Killer", was Zack's first suspect, claiming that Orton was trying to end his legend career before it started. Orton's response?
  • Determinator: There is nothing Orton won't try in order to get what he wants. After William Regal refused to grant him a rematch for John Cena's WWE Championship, Orton proved he was ready to take on Cena again… by forcefully pulling Cena's father out of the crowd and kicking him in the skull.
  • Did Not Think This Through: According to WWE Story Time, he began to think this prior to his infamous Hardcore Match in Backlash 2004 when he tried placing himself on a tack.
  • Didn't See That Coming: RKO out of nowhere — you know it's coming, but when?
    • Ever since "RKO Outta Nowhere" became a thing, a large number of his matches - particularly on PPV - seem to be booked to end like this by design, in that Randy will typically try to hit an RKO straight-up at some early point in the match only to have it blocked.
  • Dirty Coward/Dude, Where's My Respect?: Headed this route after winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
    • His first promo after winning the Championship: "You are ALL jealous of me!"
    • His reaction to his first title defense in a match against Daniel Bryan? "You can ALL kiss my ass!"
      • Then during the actual match, he intentionally DQ's himself by giving the challenger a low blow.
    • His reaction to a rematch with John Cena at the Royal Rumble? Beating up the latter's father in an unprovoked attack after losing to Kofi Kingston and then calling out The Authority the very next week during their welcome-back promo for Batista.
    • His reaction to John arriving at the arena the very same night for some retribution? He got the hell out of Dodge quickly before Cena gave him an Attitude Adjustment onto the concrete stands in the crowd.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • While inactive with injury in 2008, he punts CM Punk in the skull before a World Heavyweight Championship defense as the climax to a big beatdown by Legacy. Punk can't defend the championship that night, meaning Orton basically screwed him out of the title. Punk tries to go for revenge immediately but is beaten into the background shortly thereafter. A couple years and turns later, Punk and his New Nexus cost Orton a WWE title match with The Miz because he's never forgotten it. So Orton goes punting New Nexus members for consecutive weeks and threatening to beat Punk so bad he has to eat through a feeding tube. As the babyface of the feud.
    • Then again, Punk did threaten Orton's wife at one point during the feud. That's a quick way to get on Orton's really bad side.
  • The Dragon: He served as this to Triple H during his time in The Authority.
  • The Dreaded: Randy is a legend in his own right these days, but his legend inspires fear rather than respect. His uncontrollable rage, inability to be reasoned with, and overall insanity has made him absolutely terrifying to every non-main event talent on the roster. Even those who are considered "in his league" are wary of him, because he's liable to fly off the handle at any point, and with a finishing move that can literally come out of nowhere, that is not a good thing, as Randy Hates Everyone Equally. No one, not even his allies or even his own family (by his own admission, no less) is safe from his wrath.
  • Dull Surprise/Creepy Monotone: His rather… subdued speaking style either fits his character or displays his complete lack of charisma. It's a strange character quirk, for sure, but Orton was much more expressive during his younger days as the Legend Killer.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Tanned, toned torso, perpetually nearly naked, dripping with sweat before the match has even started...
    • When Orton was in Evolution, his TitanTron entrance video even included an image of him being fawned over by a bevy of women as he grins lecherously.
    • He's also posed for Playgirl.
    • On the November 14, 2013 edition of Monday Night Raw, Randy Orton cut the crowd to pieces by proclaiming that the girlfriends/wives/mothers of all the men in the audience were "Fantasizing about what it would be like to wake up to Randy Orton." Judging from the loud, immediate shrieks of joy from the women in the building, he may have been right (despite, or maybe because of, the fact that he was a heel at the time). There may have been some long car rides home from the arena that night for couples who attended the show.
  • Enemy Mine: He started to get along with with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in late 2015 due to some tag matches they had together. He even looked like he was considering joining up with them in their feud with the Wyatt Family. The Wyatts, sensing that, took him out — which only cemented his decision to ally himself with Reigns and Ambrose when he came back a few weeks later.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • As a face, Orton's wife (who seems to be a different woman every time she appears onscreen — none of them are his Real Life wife, either) tends to get threatened a lot — and no matter how many voices he's hearing in his head, if his wife's in trouble, he'll put whatever he was doing on hold to go to save her. Some of the more Genre Savvy guys like CM Punk have taken advantage of this in feuds. note 
    • In 2005, his father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, would assist his son in matches and the two seem to have a loving relationship.
  • Expy:
    • One of the theories behind why Orton is so popular is that many of his heelish antics (randomly attacking people) remind the audience of the antics of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. The fact that both have snake motifs (Austin is the Rattlesnake, Orton is the Viper) and the RKO has some similarities to the Stunner probably helps towards that.
    • Orton was bald during his heel run around 2009-2010 as well.
    • At one point, Randy stopped doing his signature "Release the Doves" pose and started doing Austin's pose (both arms raised, hands in fists, minus the middle fingers) during his entrance.
    • He is also a third generation superstar who later became the youngest world (World Heavyweight Champion to be precise) champion in history. Do you smell it? That makes him a Composite Character of The Rock and Stone Cold.
      • Bonus points for the fact that shortly before winning that title, he had the longest reign with the Intercontinental Title since The Rock's reign with it in 1998.
    • Alternatively some of his physical mannerisms, the snake-related nickname, and the heel persona of being sadistic and merciless could be seen as a nod to Jake "The Snake" Roberts (who, incidentally, had a hand in his training).
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence
    • Orton smashing Cody Rhodes in the head with the announcer's bell in their September 2011 match. He cracked Rhodes' head open, and blood was pouring out. Nauseating to look at, and Rhodes required nine staples to stitch his scalp back together.
    • In a shocking twist, he was also the recipient of this at SummerSlam 2016. Brock Lesnar's elbows did very, very bad things to Randy's forehead.note 
  • Face–Heel Turn:
  • Fatal Flaw: Christian took advantage of Randy's anger issues in their feud in 2011. He got rather good at it during MiTB PPV.
  • Fleeting Demographic Rule: Independent maverick superstar takes the Championship by joining up with corporate forces against all continuity and character logic? Are we talking about Randy Orton or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin?
  • Finishing Move: The RKO, technically a jumping cutter.
  • Five Moves of Doom: Garvin Stomp, Elevated DDT, Powerslam, Twisting Backbreaker, RKO. He had also added Olympic Slam and a Powerbomb to his set for while, but it appears like the those two plus the Twisting Backbreaker have all but disappeared. He would use the Punt as a finisher for a while but that has since been banned. After all those changes, he was left with the running clotheslines, Powerslam, Elevated DDT, and RKO.
  • Foreshadowing: The lengths he would go to during his feud with The Undertaker, starting with RKO'ing his own girlfriend at the time just to prove that point exactly, was really our first major look at the massive evil streak that was growing inside of him.
  • For The Lulz: When he was feuding with Sheamus (Randy as champion), he planned to be very...liberal with his Finishing Move...
    Randy Orton: I would RKO my own grandmother if it meant keeping this titlenote . And then I'd RKO your grandmother just to see the look on her face!
  • Full-Frontal Assault: not literally, but he admitted in 2016 that his rather limited attire has always made him "feel naked".
  • Funny Background Event: Go back and watch Dean Ambrose tear-ass on the Authority with the hotdog cart, condiments and all. Randy is mostly curled up in a ball on the floor by the barrier, his face mostly obscured, but it's obvious that he's sneaking a few bites of a hot dog. That Dean Ambrose threw. And landed on the floor.
    • Can be seen here at the beginning of this gif.
  • Fun T-Shirt: In line with the Ascended Meme entry above, he wore a gray T-shirt with his initials printed on front and "#OuttaNowhere" at the back during the 8/1/2016 episode of RAW
  • Fun with Acronyms: The RKO. They're also his initials.
  • Generation Xerox: He regularly uses the superplex in his matches; that move was often used by his father "Cowboy" Bob Orton.
  • Genre Blindness: Invokes this on his opponents. How many guys have tried top rope moves on Randy only to get caught and RKO'd in mid-air? You'd think they would stop doing it by now.
    • AJ Styles hilariously averted it once, faking a Phenomenal Forearm attempt, which resulted in Randy flopping back-first on the floor after RKO'ing the air. However, Orton recovered in time to get out of the way of a 450 splash, with AJ rolling through and then turning around into an RKO anyway.
  • Genre Savvy: He was fighting Daniel Bryan. Suddenly, there's a huge explosion of fire on the entrance stage. Randy abandons Bryan and the match to run to strike the first blow on the approaching Kane. Of course, he got his ass kicked anyway, but given Kane's penchant for mowing down anyone in his path, it was worth a shot.
  • Genius Bruiser: It's not discussed ad nauseum like it is for some people — but if you look at Randy's career it becomes clear that he's very well versed in psychological warfare. Which makes perfect sense, given that he was mentored early in his career by two masters of it. In fact, as a superior athlete, he likely would be better in the category of this trope than his two teachers. The only things that hold him back in such a regard have been his anger issues and his durability.
  • Glass Cannon: His career's been rather peppered with various injuries if you look at it very closely. The hypermobile shoulders don't help either.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The basis of his entire face run.
  • Going Commando: There have been a couple of wardrobe malfunctions over the years, and all of them have confirmed that he doesn't wear anything underneath his trunks.
  • Groin Attack:
    • A couple of his early feuds saw him getting hit in the nuts a lot. Then again, when one of the guys on the other end of the feud is Ric Flair
    • Fittingly enough, since Flair was one of his mentors — at least in kayfabe — he seems to have very few qualms about using them himself when frustrated.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper:
    • He said it himself that he has anger problems. Just ask Christian, who spit in his face and received a boot to the junk in response. Or R-Truth, who hit him with a water bottle and received a steel chair.
    • Or that time when Vince McMahon tried to fire him a few years back. Randy hit him in the face and then hit him with the punt. Then there was the time he punted Shane. Stephanie tried to tell him off, and guess what? She got RKO'd, too.
    • That's nothing compared to what happened to Cody Rhodes, who hit him with his mask again. Only this time, Randy kicked out and hit Cody with his own mask. But then, he hit his head with a bell which accidentally busted his head open! There was uncensored footage when before he RKO'd Cody, he hit him with a steel chair while Cody's face was in a bloody mess! Wow.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Was as susceptible to attacking heels as he was to faces. In fact, the only way you can tell what alignment he is is by who he attacks most frequently and who he gets placed into tag team matches with. That's the only thing about his character that really changes, otherwise he's the same sadistic sociopath that he's always been, and does not follow the normal rules of face/heel allegiance (such as never attacking someone of the same alignment).
  • Hearing Voices: "Voices" by Rev Theory served as his theme song when his character became darker, and at first, it had no official relevance to his character. Soon after, Randy was confirmed to have severe mental issues, especially with anger, and eventually, the voices in his head became canon. And even more terrifyingly, the voices themselves apparently don't approve of Randy's twisted actions.
    Orton: In my world, there's no games. Just pain. Misery. Agony. Chaos. Voices begging me to stop. But I don't listen.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
  • Hero Killer: Made a name for himself as a "Legend Killer" kicking the crap out of a bunch of legends. Even after he moved on from that persona, his signature punt was notorious for putting out faces, most notably John Cena and Triple H.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • At Money In The Bank 2011, Christian provoked Orton into getting himself disqualified and losing the World Heavyweight Title due to the stipulations by spitting in his face; something that Orton himself had a habit of doing back in his Evolution days.
    • And on a more meta level, a couple of his feuds have happened because, at some point, Orton didn't know where to draw the line.
    • Was set to star in the third installment of The Marine. But due to his past history with the marines (he went AWOL and was dishonorably discharged after serving 38 days in military prison), he was pulled from the movie after some real marines wasn't all that pleased with him starring in the movie. note 
  • Horrifying the Horror: On the October 11, 2016 episode of SmackDown, Randy invited Kane (his tag-team partner that night, and also WWE's resident demonic psychopath) on a trip through Randy's world. A world where "There's no games. Just pain. Misery. Agony. Chaos. Voices begging me to stop."
    Kane: Randy... you got issues.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: A large chunk of the last several years for Orton has seen the twelve-time World Champion as an enforcer to other stars. After he lost the title(s) himself, he spent a fairly lengthy stint helping to keep the titles on Seth Rollins (and/or off Daniel Bryan) as a member of The Authority. In 2016, he's a member of The Wyatt Family.
  • Idiot Ball: Low blowing Christian after he spat on him, when he was warned if he got disqualified Christian would win the world heavyweight title. Although maybe "Uncontrollable Anger Ball" would be more accurate.
  • I Coulda Been a Contender!: Downplayed example. While Orton today is a legend just below Cena in popularity and accolades, their positions could've easily been reversed years ago. Orton was actually the first choice for the new face of WWE after the first departure of Brock Lesnar, thanks to his looks, lineage, and talent. (Un)fortunately, his initial face turn (after Evolution's betrayal) did not pan out well, due to him not being over enough with the crowd as a heel to get cheers from them and not experienced enough to get over as a face yet. Add that with Orton's backstage attitude, where it was alleged he wrecked an entire hotel room in a fit of drunken rage, and one can't really blame the company for cutting his first world title reign short. Orton wouldn't win another world title for three years — and when he did, it was firmly as the company's top heel.
  • I Have the High Ground:
    • Loves subverting this trope. It's almost to the point where attacking Orton from the top rope is like signing your own death warrant. If you attempt a high-flying move on Orton, there's at least a 90% chance he's going to counter it into an RKO.
    • He did have a few high-flying maneuvers in the beginning of his career.
  • Important Haircut:
    • Check his hair from his OVW days to his first injury.
    • And again when he went to his 'Viper' gimmick. He shaved his bald, presumably to help himself physically resemble an actual snake.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In his feud with Ric Flair one article had the title Orton Hears A Woo.
  • Invincible Hero:
    • As of September 2010, some of the internet fanbase has started to turn on his push as the top face on Raw after one too many segments and matches that have ended in Orton RKOing everyone in sight. As of May 2011, it's only gotten worse.
    • Building on this, prior to losing the title to Mark Henry at Night of Champions, Orton hadn't lost cleanly since before the previous WrestleMania.
  • It Runs in the Family/Wrestling Family: Ortons have been appearing on professional wrestling cards for at least the past half-century. Randy just happens to be the most famous and the most popular.
  • I Work Alone: Anytime Orton's been in a group, things have never worked out well. Something he has commented on and even stated that he works better alone.
  • Jerkass: Even as a face he is this.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Randy does not do things out of what little goodness his black heart has — he does it because it benefits him in some way or because somebody the audience doesn't like managed to piss him off. If it makes him come off as more heroic and more popular, the only benefit out of it for him is more merchandise sales.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Randy did this to Evolution on the Raw following Unforgiven 2004. He proceeded to whack Triple H in the head with the World Heavyweight Championship belt, which caused Hunter to fall head first into the cake.
  • Just Here for Godzilla/Watch It for the Meme: Can invoke this among audiences. Say what you will about Randy, he's got one of the best finishers in the whole industry - to the point that even people that aren't fans of his sometimes deliberate and formulaic wrestling style will pop huge if he ends a relatively stock match with a particularly creative RKO variation. (That is to say, a lot of people tolerate Randy's matches just for the 'RKO Outta Nowhere'.)
  • Karma Houdini:
    • As a face Orton never, ever gets paid back for any of the horrible things he does to people, and even as a heel he's done numerous things that he never gets punished for. This was CM Punk's motivation for making The New Nexus target Orton. (See Large Ham.) He even punted them on a bus during their feud, and it would appears as this would apply again, but then three out of four of Orton's punt victims came back off the bus to beat him down and cost him another shot at the WWE title. He then defeated all of them once again, dominated CM Punk twice in a row, and went on to win World Heavyweight Championship 2 days later in a match he only "earned" via Teddy Long's clear populist favoritism. Opening yet another clear floodgate of Karma Houdini-ness.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: His secondary finisher, a running punt to the head. Also, he's prone to stomping on his opponents repeatedly to weaken them.
  • Kryptonite Factor: Seems to have this relationship with Kofi Kingston, who has pinned him twice on television during his championship reigns. In the world of wrestling, this normally wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that Randy's a 12-time world champion and Kofi's the very definition of a perennial midcarder. One of the matches which Kofi won, completely cleanly, was on Raw (January 13, 2014), but felt more like a PPV main-event. It lasted 16 minutes and 46 seconds bell-to-bell, and Orton seemed to have the upper hand the entire match until Kofi surprised him with an SOS. Randy's not even immune to this guy when the face/heel roles are reversed and the two don't wrestle for about a year. He managed to roll up and pin Orton at the end of a tag match in 2015 after Randy had turned face again.
    • Has a less dramatic version with Ali, as the latter losing to the RKO a couple of times caused him to go out and come up with a unique counter to the move. Randy as a result now has an exceedingly hard time hitting Ali with the first attempt (even on weekly shows, where finishers typically, you know, finish matches.)
  • Large Ham:
    • His slow and stoic promo style is only a character effect of his Viper persona following the end of Rated-RKO; while he was the Legend Killer, Orton was quite energetic as a speaker.
    • Even after going Viper, Orton has had his moments. A prime example is when he was leader of Legacy and attacked CM Punk, who was the World Heavyweight Champion at the time. After a few moments of allowing Legacy to pound on Punk, Orton appears from offscreen, delivers the punt kick to Punk, and shouts, "NOW THAT! THAT RIGHT THERE! WAS! IMPRESSIVE!!!"
  • Light Is Not Good: In his early days with his golden pyro, flickering golden lights and even his theme song "Burn in My Light".
  • Like You Would Really Do It: His Punt Kick has become this. It was under legitimate ban status for a while and had completely disappeared from his moveset but in recent years, he's at least teased using it. He's never been allowed to connect with it, though - any time he tries it will get stopped somehow, and if he manages to actually see the move to completion, it always gets dodged or countered.
  • Manly Tears:
    • After winning the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time at Summerslam 2004.
    • Also during Ric Flair's retirement ceremony the night after WrestleMania XXIV.
  • Meme Acknowledgement: Every time he hits the RKO, the commentators almost always make references to the associated meme, usually by adding the phrase "from out of nowhere". Also by the WWE, as evidenced by the Fun T-Shirt entry.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: A possible literal example. After smashing Cody Rhodes across the face with his own Mask of Power and cracking it, the latter seems to have become even more dangerous than he was before.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Back in 2009, Orton infamously got in the ear of the highers-up backstage to curtail the push of one Kofi Kingston (otherwise known as the "STUPID!!" incident). Ten years later, a match between Orton and main roster newcomer Mustafa Ali in the lead-up to the Elimination Chamber where both were participants in the titular match, ended up with Orton giving Ali a nasty facial injury. Ali couldn't work the Elimination Chamber match and was replaced by... Kofi Kingston. And the rest, as they say, is history. (And as a coda to the story, Orton and Kofi finally had that program for a main event title - but now with Kofi as the champion. Kofi won.)
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • After barely beating Wade Barrett who sent Nexus in before the match to take out his leg, Orton slumps against the turnbuckle, hurt and exhausted but still the WWE champion. Then he hears over the loudspeakers: "AAAAAAAAWESOME!" as Miz's music hits and Miz comes to cash in his MITB contract. The look on Orton's face was perfectly understated as he looked into the camera almost as if he was saying "Oh, you're shitting me with this..."
    • Also induced this from time to time, especially during his heel runs, if for no other reason than the fact that he was such a loose cannon and was liable to RKO or punt anyone that was in his way - that includes his enemies, his allies, women, guys sitting in the first row (just ask John Cena's father) or even, by his own admission, his own grandmother.
    • The time he was put in a gauntlet by Batista. The first two opponents were Evan Bourne and Jack Swagger, and Orton won both matches, but only after Swagger intentionally got counted out. Then Mark Henry came out, and it looked like he was going to do what Swagger did, but changed his mind, and "Oh crap" was definitely an accurate description of Orton's reaction.
  • Oh Crap, There Are Fanfics of Us!: Someone mentioned wrestling fanfic to him. He looked it up, and had this response (somewhere between good-natured confusion and being slightly creeped out). Of course, he also said the stuff he saw was "always him and Cody," which kind of implied he didn't dig very far.
  • One-Hit Kill:
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Hero becomes the Only Sane Man trying to be the voice of reason in an Enemy Mine team, you know things are serious. The commentators even point out this is the case and a sign of how serious a threat The Shield are.
  • Parent-Child Team: Teamed up with his father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton, whilst Randy was feuding with The Undertaker during the latter part of 2005.
  • Pet the Dog: While promoting Summerslam 2010 in Los Angeles, he did a charity appearance for MDA.
  • The Quiet Stoic:
    • Randy Orton is a very cold person. In promos he's quiet and speaks slowly. Even his entrance reflects this, with him walking slowly to the ring, and in matches he rarely goes berserk.
  • Red Baron/Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Previously known as "The Legend Killer" and now known as "The Viper" and "The Apex Predator."
  • Remember When You RKO'd A Sun?: Or remember when you destroyed half the McMahon family? After his loss to Daniel Bryan, Stephanie reminds him of that. She wants the more ruthless and vicious Randy Orton. And he was more than happy to oblige when he went out of his way to destroy The Miz.
  • Popularity Power: The main reason why Randy became a face in 2010, and the main reason why Randy's been unable to turn heel until 2013. No matter who he RKOs, the fans won't turn against him. Hell, if he RKO'd Cena, chances are he'd be cheered. They only managed to turn him heel by putting him up against the massively over Daniel Bryan - anyone else (Cena, Sheamus, Triple H, maybe even Punk, who suffers a similar dilemma when he's a heel) and they would be on his side no matter what.
  • Power Stable
    • Evolution: Until he got too successful and was kicked out by Triple H.
    • Legacy: Until it was dwindled down to three members and the other two finally got sick of him.
    • The Authority: Until he stopped being successful and was kicked out by Triple H.
  • Pretty Boy: Skirted this line in his early WWE days.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    • His promos somehow manage to combine this with Dull Surprise. The results are interesting to say the least. While it kinda sorta worked when he was a heel, as a face it's fairly… lackluster.
    • Anytime he does actually raise his voice (see the Large Ham reference) he usually invokes this trope.
  • Punted On The Bus:
    • Randy's patented Punt was used to write out wrestlers who were being sent back to developmental, needed to be written out due to injuries or just taking a break, but has since been banned.
    • He himself has been Put on a Bus on a few occasion after getting various injuries, mainly with his shouldernote , and his string of concussions he had in 2011-2012.
  • Rage Quit: A pretty blatant one on the 12/15/13 RAW. Couldn't beat Daniel Bryan in a non-title match - cue Groin Attack.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: He likes Barney.
  • Red Baron: "The Viper," "The Apex Predator," for a time "The Legend Killer."
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Randy's character didn't change at all during his face run other than the fact that he didn't insult the audience. He still attacked everybody and still acted like the same Jerkass psychotic and sadistic sociopath he's been since 2009 2007. The only difference is that the fans cheered for him instead of booing him when he was doing those things and he just went with it.
  • Sadist: Definitely wears this hat as a heel. Probably wears it in some measure as a face, too.
  • Sanity Slippage: In Randy's feud with Christian was focused on Randy's anger management issues. Instead, it came off as Randy actually being more unhinged than usual, and he seemed to enjoy his own pain and that of others.
  • Slasher Smile: Expect a pretty painful move to be set up for his opponent when he sports one of these. Perhaps counterintuitively, it's even more sinister when he's a face. He puts on a wide grin, sticks his tongue out, and legitimately looks like he's losing his fucking mind.
  • Sociopathic Hero: His babyface persona. Pretty much the same extremely violent, entirely unpredictable guy he is as a heel — he just attacks heels, smiles a bit more, and says "My name is Randy Orton" before every promo.
  • Spam Attack: As Orton proved during his No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Seth Rollins during the March 9, 2015 episode of Monday Night Raw, Orton's biggest rule during a fight or a match is "When in doubt, European Uppercut."
  • Start of Darkness: Getting kicked out of Evolution, something he never really got over, he went from being an arrogant "Legend Killer," to the cold-hearted monster we all have come to know as "The Viper." Hunter later lampshaded it in the promo that would manipulate Randy into facing him at WrestleMania XXV.
  • Start My Own: Evolution served as the blueprint for Legacy, except this time, Randy was the Centerpiece, his quest to keep the WWE Championship paralleling Hunter's attempts to keep a stranglehold on to the World Heavyweight Championship. It was also the biggest piece of evidence that Randy hadn't gotten over Evolution's betrayal four years prior.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: The announcers usually spend quite a bit of time talking about how good he looks.
  • Take That!: During an appearance on Chris Jericho's "Highlight Reel" at the 2016 Battleground pay-per-view. When asked about his then-upcoming SummerSlam opponent, Orton showed no fear of taking a trip to Suplex City, claiming that only one RKO is necessary for a trip to Viperville... "no enhancement needed."note 
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Randy's modus operandi. Notably, during his Iron Man match with John Cena, he tried to blow Cena up with pyrotechnics. Michael Cole called him "psycho", and rightfully so.
  • Three Month Rule: He actually subverts it a lot. No matter his alignment, the many enemies he's had over the years (most notably Cena) will make it clear that they still don't like him (and maybe even still hate him). In fact, Randy's transformation from the suave Legend Killer to the sadistic Viper has always had his ousting from Evolution as his Start of Darkness, and it's referenced frequently (most notably when the match and/or storyline somehow involves Triple H), despite Evolution having been dissolved in 2004.
  • Tranquil Fury: In comparison to the psychotic rage he frequently shows in matches, his backstage persona is almost perpetually reserved, stoic, and matter of fact. Unless you're Mr. Kennedy or Kofi Kingston.
  • Troll: Randy has shades of this in his most recent heel run.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Has been known to RKO people who just helped him win a match, as a face, including Evan Bourne and John Cena.
  • Unnecessary Roughness: It's kind of Randy's M.O. We could be here all day.
  • The Unsmile: It might simply be because we're so used to seeing him as the Viper, but even when he's smiling sincerely, something about it looks a little... off.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Pretty much runs on it. See list below:
    • His pre-RKO freak out ground hitting ritual.
    • Also, his post-RKO/victory flailing about.
    • Seemed to combine this with Berserk Button at Money in the Bank 2011 when he utterly destroyed Christian when he spat in Ortons face, and got DQ'ed in the process, losing the title to Christian.
    • And when Cody Rhodes hit him with the mask again, the No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that ensued became Extreme Mêlée Revenge.
    • What he did to Roman Reigns, while not as bloody, was certainly every bit as brutal.
    • His merciless pounding of Seth Rollins has to fall under this category as well.
  • What Happened to the Viper?/Put on a Bus: Orton disappeared off television after getting suspended for 60 days in the end of May of 2012 (for failing a drug test). No storyline injury or explanation was given either. After his return, all that was mentioned was that he'd been away.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Is often the recipient. The thing about Randy is that he knows well that a lot of the stuff he does is reprehensibly wrong. He just doesn't care.
  • Villain Song: Well, when he is a villain, his theme song "Voices" could count.
  • Villain Team-Up: With Edge when they formed Rated-RKO, and later with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to form Legacy. Also teamed up with The Revival to torment Kofi Kingston and The New Day in 2019.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Christian sent Orton on a month-long one of these in 2011. Orton defended the World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank under the rule that the title could change hands via disqualification. Christian spat in Orton's face to get him angry. One kick in the nuts later, and Christian was the champ. Orton would demolish him at every opportunity, before winning the title back at SummerSlam in a no-DQ match.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Taken to the extreme. Orton walks around in nothing but his Underwear of Power, even when there's no apparent reason for doing so: backstage when he's not wrestling, and even on nights when he's not scheduled to feature in a match.
  • Watch the Paint Job: Every time someone gives a car. By the end of the night, it's going to be covered in orange paint.
  • Wild Card:
    • Randy is probably one of the best examples in modern WWE, his allegiances tend to be shaky at best. He targets pretty much anyone who pisses him off or is in the way of being the best, be they Face or Heel. It's safe to say the only allegiance he has is with himself.
    • On a meta-level, Orton's one of the best 'switch' guys on the entire roster, able to get the crowd to buy into him as a heel as much as they did when he was face.
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • John Cena, whose feud with him goes back to 2001 and their OVW days. After Cena gave his "retirement" speech on the 11.22.10 Raw, Orton met him in the back and they hugged goodbye. John has said multiple times that he respects Randy as a competitor. Randy hasn't said it as much, but he has said it before. Albeit reluctantly.
    • Christian was one of these, however his increasingly desperate begging for another shot after continuously losing has resulted in Orton getting frustrated with facing him.
  • The Worf Barrage:
    • Ran into this a bit in his 2011 feud with Mark Henry. Easily RKO'd him in a non-match context (the infamous "CheeRKO" that ended with a jumping split and a bunch of posturing, but when the Night Of Champions match rolled around, the move that had served as a One-Hit KO on so many Superstars (including Mark Henry at points) was suddenly woefully ineffective. End result? Randy pretty much got his ass handed to him. Twice. For the World Heavyweight Championship on both occasions.
    • Similarly, Randy only needed one RKO to defeat The Undertaker at Summerslam 2005. At Armageddon 2005, three RKOs and a Tombstone were not enough, and Randy lost.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Just ask Stephanie...or Stacy Keibler, for that matter. But especially Stephanie. In Royal Rumble (2019) he hit an RKO on Nia Jax. In episode March 2nd on Raw, Randy hit an RKO on Beth Phoenix.
  • Wrestling Family: Is a third-generation wrestler, with his grandfather Bob Orton Sr, father "Cowboy" Bob Orton and uncle Barry O, having all been in the business.
  • Wrestling Psychology: Was trained by Jake "The Snake" Roberts.
  • You Are What You Hate: Randy's career took off when he became the "Legend Killer" and took down countless ring veterans and legends, such as Mick Foley, in arrogant and oftentimes brutal ways. These days, he's undeniably a legend himself, one his younger self would've aimed for if he lacked any self-preservation.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When he was part of Evolution with Triple H, Ric Flair and Batista, he won the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit at SummerSlam. The next night following a rematch, in which he retained, the other seemed to be celebrating with him, only to turn on him and giving him one hell of a beatdown. Triple H tried to force Orton to relinquish the title the following week, only for Orton to spit in Triple H's face and run off with the title, thus setting off a face turn.


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