Randy Orton is a legend of the wrestling business. The ‘Apex Predator’ is a 14-time World Champion and has dominated the top card of WWE throughout his career.
His accomplishments and extraordinary character work make one believe that he is definitely one of Vince McMahon’s most loved performers. Although true, that wasn’t the case from the get-go.
Current AEW Color Commentator, Jim Ross, recently revealed on his Grilling JR podcast why Vince McMahon didn’t want Randy Orton in the WWE. Looks like a typing mistake? It isn’t. Vince McMahon actually didn’t want to sign Randy Orton due to his past.
JR said, “He [Randy Orton] was, believe it or not, he was somewhat of a controversial hire for us,” He continued, “Vince was the problem child that went to military school and Randy was the problem child that went to the Marines and got discharged. Big time [Randy Orton’s past was a problem for Vince McMahon].
“But, you know, it’s one of those deals where you say, look, I said, ‘Vince, you got a second chance, so why not this kid?’ He’s only a third-generation performer and both his father and his grandfather were outstanding in-ring guys.” H/t Sportskeeda
JR was not only a commentator but also the Head of Talent Relations back then in the WWE. He suggested several talents to Vince McMahon, and Randy was one of them. However, Vince didn’t want Randy because of his dishonorable discharge from the Marines.
JR had talked about this a few months earlier and had mentioned Vince McMahon is a true patriot. So it makes sense why the WWE Chairman was reluctant at first.
Randy Orton signed with WWE in 2001 and was sent to its development territory at the time – Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). He was part of an elite class of wrestlers including John Cena, Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Shelton Benjamin.
Orton made his WWE debut in 2002 against Hardcore Holly. He quickly got over with the crowd, but a shoulder injury halted his momentum. He returned as part of Evolution, became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion, and the rest is history.
The ‘Legend’ surely made Vince McMahon believe in him through his hard work and proved his initial opinion of him wrong. This is a true case of ‘never judge a book by its cover’.
Is Randy Orton one of your favorite wrestlers? What is your opinion of him? Let us know in the comments!