Randy Orton: Shedding the Years of Skin on the Viper

Micheal RobinsonSenior Analyst IIMarch 12, 2011

Graphic by Micheal Robinson (Bleacher Report)
Graphic by Micheal Robinson (Bleacher Report)

Since 2002, Randy Orton has been an active wrestler in the WWE.

The third-generation superstar is son to "Cowboy" Bob Orton, and grandson to Bob Orton, Sr.

Needless to say, wrestling is in his blood, or, in Randy's case, in his venom.

In my recent Top 100 WWE Wrestlers of All-Time, I ranked Orton No. 19 overall.

In his nine-year career, Orton has held four different titles, including the WWE Championship six times.

No titles were more important then that first one at Summerslam 2004, winning the World Heavyweight Championship from Chris Benoit.

At age 24, Orton became the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history.

After the big championship win, Orton broke free from the shadow of Triple H, Ric Flair, and Batista in the Evolution and the rest is history.

The following year, Randy Orton would challenge the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 21, of course, becoming just another victim to the dead man.

However, his match and ensuing feud with the Undertaker, would help catapult his career to new heights.

After taking some time off, Orton returned, and defeated the Undertaker at Summerslam 2005.

Continuing his feud with the Undertaker, Orton and his father, Bob Orton, defeated The Undertaker and placed him into a casket at No Mercy 2005. 

The Undertaker returned at the 2005 Survivor Series, and defeated Orton at the next pay-per-view, Armageddon, in a Hell In A Cell match.

Orton would nearly win the 2006 Royal Rumble, but was the last man eliminated, by the underdog winner Rey Mysterio.

Orton would still get into the World Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 22, but would be defeated by Rey Mysterio, whom also defeated champion Kurt Angle, in what was a Triple Threat match.

Orton's recent Summerslam success wouldn't continue in 2006, as he was defeated by WWE legend Hulk Hogan.

At this point, it has been two years since Orton has held a championship inside of the WWE.

He would then win his first, and only, Tag Team Championship, with partner Edge, as a team known as Rated-RKO.

At No Mercy 2007, Orton would be awarded his first WWE Championship, when it was awarded to him by Vince McMahon due to an injury to former champion John Cena.

Orton would quickly lose the belt to Triple H, but would win it back later that night in a Last Man Standing Match.

Orton would retain the belt for the first quarter of 2008, through WrestleMania 24, where he would defeat Triple H and John Cena in a Triple Threat match.

Backlash 2008 saw Orton lose the title to Triple H, which he wouldn't regain until a year later, at the very same event, Backlash.

After losing the title to Batista at Extreme Rules, Orton would win it back on an episode of Raw, just eight days later, due to an injured Batista having to relinquish the title.

In June of 2008, Orton would break his collar bone in a Last Man Standing match with Triple H at One Night Stand, and would re-injure himself in a motorcycle accident.

In September, Orton made his return on an episode of Raw, in my personal opinion, this was the beginning of the era we still live in today, the Age of Orton.

Orton would bring Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, Jr. under his wing, forming The Legacy in January of 2009.

To add to the list of achievements for Orton, he would win the 2009 Royal Rumble.

Orton would go onto challenge Triple H for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXV, but would be defeated.

After winning the WWE Championship on an episode of Raw in June, he would then enter a feud with John Cena.

During his feud with Cena, he would drop the title, win it back, and drop it once again.

The Legacy would come to an end, after its one year plus run, at WrestleMania XXVI, when Orton defeated Rhodes and DiBiase in a Triple Threat match. 

It would be almost an entire year from his previous title run until Orton got the WWE Championship again, when he won a Six-Pack Challenge at Night Of Champions on September 19, 2010.

Orton's title win would be short lived, as he would be defeated by The Miz two months later on an epside of Raw.

The Miz won his first WWE Championship, cashing in his Money In The Bank contract from July, defeating a vulnerable Orton following a match he had with Wade Barrett.

It has been a quiet year thus far for Orton in 2011, as he enters WrestleMania 27 in a feud with Nexus leader CM Punk.

Despite being in another singles match at Wrestlemania, his feud with Punk has gained some attention, as he has punted nearly every member of the Nexus in the skull, eliminating them one-by-one.

This will be the second year in a row that Orton doesn't compete for a major championship at Wrestlemana, but at age 30, there is still plenty of time for more success for WWE's Apex Predator.