I've heard a lot of people lately comparing Randy Orton's "anti-hero" character to that of the role that Stone Cold Steve Austin played during the height of the Attitude Era. For arguments sake, I've decided to compare the two very different Superstars to see who might be the better of the two.
I'm certain there will be fans on both sides of this argument so bear with me, this is only my personal opinion.
Randy Orton has excelled at many levels during his wrestling career. He is an unbelievable athlete, an excellent actor, and an exciting performer. Steve Austin on the other hand, was not as well rounded, and I will explain in detail what I mean when saying that.
So let's look at the various areas of wrestling that make up a WWE Superstar.
1 (Athletics): Randy Orton is a tall, quick, strong, defined, and coordinated. His physical condition is impeccable, his timing in the ring is superb. He has the combination of speed, strength, and coordination. He sells moves well and has a devastating an exciting finishing move in the RKO.
Steve Austin was a good athlete, but great by no means. He was in good psychical condition but not great. Austin had shot knees and and did not exceed in any area of in-ring performance. He fed more off of his star power to compensate for his competent but not exceptional in-ring abilities.
2 (Character): Randy Orton's character has evolved but been steady and entertaining for years. He transformed from an arrogant yet gifted athlete to a ruthless and heartless predator in the ring.
He does an excellent job of cutting entertaining and convincing promos. He has built upon a solid foundation and transformed into an established heel.
Austin's character was that of a violent alcoholic who was a rebel without a cause. Although his character is quite memorable, it was nothing psychologically deep or exceptionally difficult to play.
3 (Accomplishments): Randy Orton has been a three-time Heavyweight Champion and main-evented Wrestlemania twice among other things. Austin is a five-time Heavyweight Champion and main-evented Wrestlemania three times.
But there are a few things to take into consideration. Randy's "Age of Orton" title reign lasted longer than any of Austin's title reigns.
It is also much harder to accomplish things in the WWE when you are a heel who gets in trouble as opposed to a babyface who was the face of the company. But most importantly is that Randy has accomplished all of these things and to this day is younger than Austin was in his first day in WWE, think about that one.
The ways in which you could compare these two wrestlers are limitless. But to be fair, I feel that Orton's accomplishments are more impressive than Austin's to a certain degree, due to the context in which they were achieved and the circumstances in which they happened.
Orton is a better athlete, a better actor, and an overall better Wrestler. For these reasons among others, I consider Randy Orton to be superior to Stone Cold Steve Austin.
I am in no way intending to knock Steve Austin. He's one of the most influential people in the history of the industry and because he was such a pioneer, I doubt that Orton will ever achieve the level of influence that Austin did.
The thoughts I expressed are nothing more than my personal opinions but I'd love to hear what everyone else things so feel free to chime in and let me know what you think.