Randy Orton is now a 10-year veteran in the WWE. He has become one of the biggest stars in the WWE, and he is only 31. At this rate, he could go down in history as the longest-running star in WWE history.
During Orton's time in the WWE, he has made himself a legend through his popularity, ability and impact. He may just be the most underrated wrestler in the company right now as far as his technical wrestling ability is concerned.
He has become the biggest star in the company outside of Cena, and, while he has never been very mainstream, he is a capable veteran who helps lead the company by putting over and supporting the young talent.
Right now, Orton has helped to shape SmackDown into a program that has seen many stars come up and become serious contenders and mainstay talent. It is hard to debate how Orton has helped to shape this change.
Over his 10-year run, Orton has had great—even legendary—matches in the company, ones that will be watched for years to come.
As we approach WrestleMania XXVIII, let's look back at just how many great matches Orton has had.
The following in order are Orton's 10 greatest matches of all time.
Vs. Ric Flair; Taboo Tuesday 2004: This match was brutal and pure storytelling at its finest. Flair had certainly been slowing down at this point in his career, but he never lost his ability to tell a story. This was about putting over Orton on his rise to the top, and it did that and more.
Vs. John Cena vs. Triple H; Night of Champions 2009: This triple threat would be the sequel to a weaker-than-expected match at WrestleMania XXIV, and this time these three would deliver in spades. The actions was fierce, eventually leading to more chaos when Legacy got involved. It all lead to a crazy but very entertaining and exciting World Title match.
Vs. Kurt Angle; One Night Stand 2006: Usually, when a person wrestles with Kurt Angle, that is instantly one of their top 10 matches. Orton and Angle wrestled twice, and their encounter at One Night Stand was the better of the two. A solid contest between two great competitors with Orton still developing into a true star. Not at the top of Angle's best matches, but it's certainly in consideration for Orton.
Every WWE fan knows that facing the Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell is a fearsome challenge. It is a combination that instantly strikes fear into the heart of any wrestler.
This match between Orton and Taker inside the Cell was the culmination of their months of feuding that had gone every direction possible, leading to the final appearance of Taker to announce this contest.
What this match did was live up to its hype. It was brutal, bloody and just fun to watch.
These two went at each other with Orton's father, Cowboy Bob Orton, playing the role of manager and occasionally getting physical to save the match for his son.
Not that it helped, as in the end, Orton met his fate, being tombstoned to the mat and finally paying for all he had done to Taker for months.
Looking back, what made this match great was just how well it all fit together. Not many Hell in a Cell matches are better than this one.
For the few confused, I am talking about Orton's second that night with Triple H in a Last Man Standing match.
For those who don't know what was happening on this night, Cena had just vacated his WWE Championship due to injury. At No Mercy, a new champion was to be crowned. Mr. McMahon got involved and named Orton WWE Champion.
Right after this, HHH got involved and challenged Orton for that title with HHH winning the belt. Then HHH had to defend again against Umaga in a previously announced match, which HHH won, leading to this match on that same night, where Orton cashed in his rematch clause.
It's a bit confusing, but the simple version is that both these men had competed before this match. Even with that as a factor, they pulled out an incredible match. HHH sold all the beatings he had taken up to that point, and Orton guided the flow here.
These two have faced off countless times, but something about this night made both go above and beyond in a perfect grudge match.
In the end, Orton left the building champion, as he had become at the start of the night, but HHH didn't go down without a hard fight.
I don't know why, but Orton and Christian have amazing chemistry. Each time they square off, you know you are in for a spectacle. At Over the Limit, that all came together in a contest that challenged a strong field as match of the year in 2011.
This was pure wrestling between two faces who were simply facing off for one thing: the World Heavyweight Championship.
The way that Christian went all out for the title was incredible to watch. His determination telling the story of his short and only title reign to that point was incredible.
When the dust settled, no one needed to care who won. All they needed to know was when they would get to see a match like that again.
And as we all know, everyone got just that for pay-per-views to come, though, this was the best pure wrestling contest the two had.
You wrestle Shawn Michaels, and you can expect brilliance. Michaels can make anyone look good.
Michaels here was at a good place physically and it showed, as he made the young Orton look better than anyone could have imagined.
This all was part of the foundation of the Legend Killer gimmick of Orton, and who better to put over the Legend Killer gimmick than the legendary HBK?
These two put on a great show that was not even possible to match when they faced off again years later on PPV. That was how strong this first contest was.
Michaels was great, and Orton was devious. With the help of Flair, this would be the beginning of what would become a grand journey for Orton.
When you think of Randy Orton, who is the first opponent of his that comes to mind? Who is the foil that he faced more than any other?
That answer is difficult when you consider how much Triple H and Orton have feuded; however, I think that answer in the end has to be John Cena.
Cena and Orton have run along similar paths their entire careers, competing at every turn. Orton as the cocky bad guy, and Cena as the never-say-quit hero. Their stories played perfectly against one another.
Their one-on-one matches were generally solid contests, though, occasionally overbooked. But out of all of that, only one match stands as the best the two ever had one-on-one.
The Iron Man match between these two, which would be the final match of their endless feuding, played out a story that had been building up for years. These two finally just put it all in the ring.
While it wasn't the greatest Iron Man match, what it was, however, was a special contest that encapsulated everything these men had fought over for so long.
When the dust settled, Cena stood tall as champion, which was appropriate considering how he has stood tall over Orton for years going forward.
One of the most underrated matches by two rising stars on their way to the top, this is simply one of the greatest one-on-one encounters ever contested for the Intercontinental Championship.
At the time, Edge was working his way into the single ranks and threatening to take down Orton and Evolution behind him. Orton was just the rising young star who had recently gained his first taste of gold.
These two went at it like few could, showing off just what they would become years later.
These two were at each other's throats from the start, with young exuberance and cockiness from both men making this a match to remember.
The final sequence in this bout is one to watch after a long, hard-fought match. All you have is two men pulling out everything with counter after counter. Just one mistake was all it took for the final Spear and the win.
Edge would be able to go on and further cement himself as a serious singles competitor, while Orton would move on to becoming the youngest World Champion of all time. Now we know how that all turned out, with both men having Hall of Fame-caliber careers.
The Streak began here.
Not officially, of course, because Taker had many matches before this one at 'Mania, but Orton made the Streak tangible in this match.
He went after Taker. He rattled him and mocked him. All for a chance at this thing people knew very little about up to this point—the Streak.
What made it better was how thoroughly the Legend Killer had built it up to this point. He had taken down everyone, and it was very possible the Streak could have been the next dead legend.
When the match came, these two pulled out all the stops, with it becoming more and more likely that the young star could beat the veteran monster known as the Undertaker.
When it was all said and done, though, he fell just as everyone before him. That said, this was far and away one of the best matches Taker ever had at 'Mania. To this day, it can be looked back upon as one of the few true moments the Streak could have ended.
The moment that turned Orton into a star.
It was too early in the long run. Orton wasn't ready to carry the burden, but it didn't really matter. In history, it can still be looked back upon as the moment that Orton became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion of all time.
The match itself was phenomenal. When you get in the ring with a technician like Chris Benoit, with all of this tension and pressure, you shouldn't be surprised how amazing the result is.
Counters, crossfaces and that RKO out of nowhere, this began as a heel vs. face match but ended as simply a young kid achieving his dream with the veteran giving him a respectful handshake to boot.
It was the end of the feel-good reign of one man and the beginning of a reign that continues to last to this day. Without this moment and this great match, Orton might never have been as great as he was.
I have seen many matches live but few as perfect as this. Christian and Orton took everything they had done up to this point and collected it in this final match.
Christian was the heel now, and he made sure we all knew it. Disrespect, anger and jealousy all seeped into this match.
The match was brutal in a way that went beyond the confines of the PG Era. While there was no blood, you could see the steel chairs, hear the kendo stick shots and feel the steel steps as these two ripped each other apart.
And the ending was about as poetic as WWE cares to get, as Christian fell into the exact same mistake that cost him his first championship.
Rarely are No Holds Barred matches so well crafted and so perfectly executed.
While many matches have come after this, none have matched this contest for Orton. None have told a better story, been more personal or been more brutal.
This match had every weapon you could imagine thrown into the ring. The ring itself was just a trash can for anything the two had finished using.
The blood upon both men's faces told the story of how hard fought the battle was. Foley brought the best out of Orton before anyone truly knew what the best for Orton was.
This is the kind of match that you will never see again in WWE, not because of a lack of talent, but because no one would be allowed to or willing to go through what these men did on this night.
This was the match that made the title Legend Killer mean something. It is the match that proved just how good Orton can be in the ring. And this match is the best of Orton's career.
Thanks for reading!