Randal Keith “Randy” Orton (born April 1, 1980) is an American professional wrestler and actor best known to sports entertainment audiences for his career signed with WWE. Orton was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Bob Orton, Jr. and his wife Elaine. He is the grandson of Bob Orton, Sr. and the nephew of wrestler-turned-musician Barry Orton. Randy has a younger brother named Nate and a younger sister named Rebecca. Early in life, his parents discouraged him from pursuing any career in professional wrestling due to the major amount of time spent away from home and family. Orton however, still became involved with wrestling, on an amateur level while attending Hazelwood Central High School.
Orton graduated from high school in 1998 and then joined the United States Marine Corps. However, Orton received a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD)in 1999 after twice going AWOL and for disobeying a direct order from a commanding officer.
After his brief military tenure, Orton opted for a career in professional wrestling. During 2000 at age 20, Orton began his training, lasting into the following year in 2001. He wrestled in local training promotions in St. Louis where his father and uncle had working relations with. Orton also gained experience as a wrestling referee.
During 2001, Orton signed with the then-World Wrestling Federation and began training in its instructional program Ohio Valley Wrestling. Orton made his debut the following year in 2002 at WrestleMania X8 (2002) Fan Axxcess, defeating Tommy Dreamer. During 2002, Orton began gaining more televised match time and screen-time for promos. The following year in 2003 after the company renamed itself as the WWE, Orton quickly enhanced his presence on the WWE roster, when he joined the heel stable known as Evolution, fronted by Paul Levesque (known in-ring as Triple H). While in Evolution, Orton won his first singles title when he defeated Rob Van Dam for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at WWE Armageddon (2003). The following year, Orton won his second title when he defeated fan favorite Summerslam (2004). By this time, Orton had began drifting away from his Evolution teammates and went on to strike out on his own. Establishing himself as the “Legend Killer” Orton began on a crusade of taking down every wrestling legend the WWE had to offer. His crusade came to a cryptic end when he was defeated by The Phenom, The Undertaker (Mark Calaway) at WrestleMania 21 (2005), after promising WWE fans he would end Undertaker’s 12-0 undefeated WrestleMania record.
As Orton’s career continued in the WWE, Orton won the WWE Championship a total of 8 times and was the last World Heavyweight Champion after winning that title 4 times. During the later 2000s, Orton formed a tag team with Adam Copeland (known as Edge), becoming Team Rated RKO (a play on Edge’s nickname as the Rated R Superstar and Randy’s finisher move named the RKO). They won the World Tag Team Championship for the first and last time before losing the titles to John Cena and Shawn Michaels. During the early 2010s, Orton formed his own stable called Legacy, comprised of Cody Runnels and Ted DiBiase Jr.. Afterwards, Orton returned to his singular ways and became known as the “Apex Predator” and “The Viper”, increasing his aggression and killer-instinct in the wrestling ring.
Outside of wrestling, Orton ventured into acting. He was previously intended to star in WWE-produced film titles such as The Marine 2 (2009), but was injured at the time and the lead role was given to Ted DiBiase Jr. When he was considered for the third sequel to The Marine, he was dismissed from consideration due to his history with the USMC and the lead was given to Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin. Orton made his film debut in 2011 in the film That’s What I Am (2011) as the father of a school bully. His next film role was the lead in 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (2013), followed later with a lead in The Condemned 2 (2015) and an appearance in Countdown (2016). In 2016, Orton got a supporting role in the action thriller series Shooter (2016).
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