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Randy Orton Hits 20-Year Milestone In WWE

Ryan Rosendale

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Randy Orton Hits 20-Year Milestone In WWE

Featured Image Credit: WWE

This week marks the 20-year anniversary of Randy Orton in the WWE.

Orton hit the milestone on Monday (April 25) with the 'Legend Killer' making his WWE TV debut on April 25, 2002 on Smackdown, defeating Hardcore Holly.

Since that time, Orton has gone onto become one of the mainstays of WWE programming and is without a doubt a future WWE Hall of Fame inductee.

Here's a list of Orton's greatest accomplishments across his 20-year career.

-14-time World Champion (tied for third most)

-First-ever WWE World Heavyweight Champion

-Youngest World Heavyweight Champion

-WWE United States Champion

-WWE Intercontinental Champion

-2-time Raw Tag Team Champion

-Smackdown Tag Team Champion

-World Tag Team Champion

-Grand Slam Champion

-2-time Royal Rumble Winner (2009 & 2017)

-Money In The Bank Winner (2013)

-Most Matches in Raw History

-Most Matches In Pay-Per-View History

It's quite a list for the 42-year-old.

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee on April 1, 1980, Orton came from a strong wrestling linage. His father, Cowboy Bob Orton Jr and grandfather, Robert (Bob) Orton, both spent years as professional wrestlers and despite being warned against following in their footsteps, that's exactly what Orton did.

Soon after making his debut, Orton would suffer a shoulder injury and be out of action until early 2003 when he would make his return as a part of the now famous Evolution stable. The group comprised of Triple H, Ric Flair, Batista and Orton and they would run ruff shot over Monday Night Raw until the summer of 2004 with Orton winning his first championship while still apart of the group, defeating Rob Van Dam for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Armageddon 2003.

Evolution at the height of their power. Credit: WWE.
Evolution at the height of their power. Credit: WWE.

Summerslam 2004 would see Orton defeat Chris Benoit for the World Heavyweight Championship causing him to be kicked out of the group by Triple H in a savage beatdown that is still remembered to this day.

Orton would lose the championship to Triple H in late 2004 and would spend the majority of 2005 feuding with The Undertaker. The two would trade wins on Smackdown and Pay-Per-View before Orton moved back to Raw in mid-2006 to form Rated RKO with Edge.

'The Viper' would then spend 2007-2008 at the top of the card, winning the WWE Championship for the first time at No Mercy 2007 before claiming one of the biggest victories of his career at Wrestlemania 24, defeating two of his biggest rivals Triple H and John Cena in a Triple Threat Match.

The following two years would see Orton apart of another stable, this time forming the group, Legacy. Comprising of himself and fellow generational wrestlers Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr., the three would form a successful and memorable group before disbanding in early 2010 with Orton turning face for the first time since early 2005.

After winning multiple World Heavyweight Championships from 2011-2013, Orton's next big career move would be to turn heel and re-join with former Evolution stablemate Triple H as a part of The Authority. That move would see Orton again win another WWE Championship and re-form Evolution with HHH and a returning Batista to battle The Shield.

In the years following his removal from The Authority, Orton would feud with Seth Rollins - delivering the best RKO of his career on Rollins at Wrestlemania 31 - and Sheamus before he would join The Wyatt Family to destroy them from within - winning his ninth WWE Championship from Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 33.

Following a short rivalry with Jinder Mahal, where he would lose the WWE Championship, Orton would win the WWE United States Championship for the first time in 2018 - becoming the 18th Grand Slam Champion in the process - before feuds with Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Kofi Kingston, Edge, Drew McIntyre and Bray Wyatt would further cement his legacy within the company.

Orton has spent the last year apart of the tag team RK-Bro with partner Riddle. The two have won the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships twice and will look to become the Unified WWE Tag Team Champions at Wrestlemania Backlash on May 8 (May 9 AEST) when they face the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos in a Unification Match.

Filled with countless memorable moments, high-profile matches and earth-shattering RKO's, Orton's career is hands-down one of the best in WWE history and it doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

Here's to another 20 years of Randy Orton!

Topics: Randy Orton, WWE, Australia

Ryan Rosendale
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