Ranking Randy Orton's Greatest Opponents
Randy Orton has had a storied career that’s seen him face some of the industry’s greatest stars.
Royal Rumble winner, Mr. Money in the Bank, WrestleMania main event star and 10-time world champion—Orton is a decorated veteran in the WWE.
Fans who started watching wrestling in 2012 may not understand the hype around The Viper, as he suffered a career lull in that year that he’s only recently come out of.
Things are looking up for him, as his feud with Daniel Bryan in the new corporate era is looking to be a career highlight.
With Orton set to main event another pay-per-view and potentially win his 11th world title, now is a good time to look back at his greatest opponents.
The criteria for the list includes match quality and career impact of the feuds.
5. Mick Foley
Randy Orton was primed for greatness the moment he was christened as a member of Triple H’s faction Evolution.
He showed promise in feuds with Rob Van Dam and Shawn Michaels, but it wasn’t until his rivalry with Mick Foley that we got the first glimpse of the megastar Orton would one day become.
Their program lasted several months, progressing through the Royal Rumble and a handicap match at WrestleMania XX that also involved The Rock. It would culminate at Backlash 2004 when The Legend Killer successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship against The Hardcore Legend in a no-holds barred match.
If Foley’s legacy is that of a man who made other men superstars, Backlash stands as one of his greatest achievements.
This match may have been Orton’s “3:16” moment, and four months later he would win his first world championship.
4. The Undertaker
Randy Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam 2004 and quickly turned babyface after he was kicked out of Evolution.
He would lose the title the following pay-per-view to Triple H and struggled to make a strong impact as a fan favorite. Randy Orton’s career was heading off the rails a little, but it was The Undertaker who got him back on track.
The Legend Killer came close to ending The Phenom’s WrestleMania undefeated streak, but that was only the start of their rivalry.
Orton would get victories over ‘Taker at SummerSlam and No Mercy in 2005, but their feud ended at Armageddon with The Deadman defeating Orton in a Hell in a Cell match.
Orton entered their feud as a floundering babyface but ended it as a top heel.
Write a list of the biggest WWE stars of the 21st century and Randy Orton has probably had a feud with each and every one of them.
Talented though he may be, Christian just isn't the same caliber of superstar as the other stars on this list, but he's still one of Orton's greatest in-ring opponent. The two had a terrific feud in 2011 over the World Heavyweight Championship, one that ran for almost five months.
They had many matches in that time, and all of them were outstanding. Their match at SummerSlam stands as one of the best in the past decade. Captain Charisma and The Viper didn’t cross paths after that for two years until their match on the August 26 edition of Raw this year.
That bout left Christian with a concussion but proved that the chemistry they share is still some of the most enchanting in all of the WWE.
2. John Cena
John Cena and Randy Orton are PG Era’s Steve Austin and The Rock.
Both men are everything WWE brass would want from a top star: charismatic and talented men with impressive muscular physiques and mass appeal.
Cena and Orton have had many feuds throughout both of their illustrious careers, one of which saw the two men battle over the WWE Championship at WrestleMania XXIV in a Triple Threat match also involving Triple H. They occupied the top two spots in the company in 2009, which is when they had their greatest, most epic rivalry yet.
The Viper took on Cena in various gimmick matches, including Hell in a Cell and I Quit bouts. Their feud culminated at Bragging Rights 2009 in a 60-minute Iron Man match. Although it was won by Cena, their rivalry gave Orton enough momentum to occupy a top spot in the company throughout 2010.
1. Triple H
It’s hard to imagine Randy Orton’s career without Triple H. At every turn, he was there.
When Orton was a rookie, Triple H was there to mold him. When Orton was ready to break out as a star, Triple H was there to help make him.
After Randy had become an established main event star, he and Triple H became frequent rivals, battling each other throughout 2007, 2008 and 2009. The Viper won the title off of The Game at No Mercy 2007, retained it against Triple H and Cena at WrestleMania XXIV, but then dropped it to his former mentor a month later.
Their most famous rivalry would happen in 2009 when Orton won the Royal Rumble—after punt-kicking Vince McMahon. The Apex Predator reached a career apex as a heel who preyed on the McMahon family in his feud with Triple H.
Orton would hit a career high in a losing effort against Triple H—in the main event of WrestleMania XXV.