When Randy Orton kicked-off his wrestling career about two decades ago, he was taking up a legacy that has lasted for two generations. One would think that coming from a family with a long history of high-performing wrestlers would ease the journey for Randy but that wasn’t the case. At least not at the beginning. For the most part, Randy found himself struggling to build a name for himself rather than getting obscured in the shadow of his father Bob Orton Jr. and grandfather Bob Orton. When your father, grandfather, and paternal uncles made history in the rings, they leave a large pair of shoes you must fill.
Two decades later, Randy Orton has not only filled those shoes but he has also split them open. By becoming the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE history in August 2004, he exceeded the expectations of family, admirers, and naysayers. Two decades is a long time to be in the ring; this is why this article will chronicle the highlights of his journey so far.
Randy Orton Trained Under His Father in the Early 2000s
Randy Orton received training under his father Bob Orton Jr. before debuting at the Mid-Missouri Wrestling Association-Southern Illinois Conference Wrestling (MMWA-SICW) in St. Louis, Missouri. After wrestling there for about a year, he signed a deal with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), then known as the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). This deal meant that he would go for training in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) in Louisville, Kentucky.
At OVW, Randy faced off with fellow wrestlers such as The Prototype (now John Cena), Rico Constantino, and later formed a tag team with Bobby Eaton in one of the tournaments. The ensuing years will prove epochal for Orton’s career.
Orton’s Earliest Victories
Randy Orton’s earliest victories began to trickle in when he won the OVW Hardcore Championship twice against Mr. Black and Flash Flanagan in February and May 2001 respectively. In the early days, he clashed with several wrestlers including John Cena, Billy Gunn, Steven Richards, Chuck Palumbo, and Shawn Stasiak. But fighting is not the only reason Randy steps into the ring. On a few occasions, he served as a referee with World Organized Wrestling (WOW), too.
By 2004, Randy started to gain worldwide attention for his daring persona. Not only did he challenge notable wrestlers to a duel, but he also beat the legendary Shawn Michaels using his RKO finisher move which he popularized around that period. The previous year, he’d beaten Rob Van Dam to clinch the Intercontinental Championship at Armageddon.
That win marked the start of his reign as the longest Intercontinental Championship holder, for 210 days. In the seven years that followed, Orton established himself with the popular tagline, “Legend Killer.” He challenged and defeated legendary wrestler, Mick Foley, to retain the Intercontinental Championship. He also beat Shelton Benjamin to retain the title but later lost it to Edge.
Randy Orton Remains the Youngest World Heavyweight Champion in WWE History
In 2004, Randy Orton emerged WWE champion. Beating Chris Benoit to emerge world champion after only four years in the ring wasn’t the best part. He did it at 24; becoming the youngest world champion in WWE history to clinch the World Heavyweight Championship title.
Two years later, he joined forces with Edge to form the tag team popularly called “Rated-RKO.” Side by side, they fought for and won the World Tag Team Championship. After Rated-RKO was dissolved in mid-2007, Orton went home with 2 WWE Championship reigns all in one night. Doing so at 27 makes him the second youngest two-time WWE Champion.
Ten years later, Randy Orton joined The Wyatt Family and won the SmackDown Tag Team Championship alongside Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt. Before then, however, he’d been part of several other groups including The Legacy (with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase Jr.) and The Authority.
In 2018, Orton clinched his first United States Championship. That made him the 18th overall Grand Slam Champion in the WWE. In his nearly two-decade career, Orton has held the WWE’s World Heavyweight Championship a total of four times and the WWE Championship nine times.
In 2013, he defeated John Cena to become the final holder of the World Heavyweight Championship before it was unified with the WWE Championship to become the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Today, the wrestling body reckons Randy Orton as the fourth wrestler with the most world championship victories in WWE history. The other three are John Cena (16 titles), Ric Flair (16 titles), and Triple H (14 titles).
Like some of his counterparts, Orton juggles wrestling with acting. He has so far appeared in several movies including That’s What I Am (2011), 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (2013), The Condemned 2 (2015), Changeland (2019), and Long Shot (2019). As expected, these huge milestones have translated into millions of dollars.
He is Worth More Than $11 Million
Randy Orton has been in the ring for nearly two decades now. All that time and accomplishments have earned him a net worth of $11 million. With an annual income of $6.5 million, SportEKZ ranked him as the fourth highest-earning wrestler after Tyson Fury, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena who earn, $15 million, $12.5 million, and $10 million respectively.
When we add income from his pay-per-view sales, movie contracts, royalty bonuses, and merchandise sales, that figure surpasses $6.5 million. That’s believable when you consider that the movie, Long Shot, in which he appeared grossed $53.9 million in the box office. As mentioned above, he has also appeared in 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded and The Condemned 2, which have grossed $1.97 million and $8.6 million respectively. This leaves him with a sizeable share of the pie. Today, Orton owns a lavish mansion in St. Charles, Missouri worth $1.23 million.
Randy Orton Comes From a Family of Wrestlers
Born April 1, 1980, Randy Orton is the son of former professional wrestler Bob Orton Jr. and Elaine Orton. His father Bob and uncle Barry are both sons to the renowned wrestler Bob Orton Sr. The Orton boys took after their father’s legacy, joining the WWF (now WWE) in 1972 and 1976 respectively.
Randy Orton’s mother, Elaine, worked as a nurse at the renowned Christian Hospital, North East of Missouri. Although it is not clear when and why, the couple has since divorced. But before going their separate ways, they had three children. As the first of the three, Randy Orton spent the better part of his childhood in Knoxville, Tennessee. His siblings, a younger brother named Nathan and a younger sister named Rebecca, are also famous personalities outside wrestling.
While Nathan went the way of stand-up comedy, his sister, Rebecca (popularly called Becky) is an actress. Asides from acting, Becky Orton also directs movies. She has both starred in and was assistant director for the 2015 movies Heist: Jane and Heist: Jack.
Of the three Orton kids, Randy seems to further into the spotlight. the reason isn’t farfetched. Wrestling is an inseparable part of the US entertainment industry. And Randy Orton’s early successes endeared him to millions of wrestling lovers across the globe.
Randy Orton is Married to Kimberly Kessler
Randy Orton has been married to Kimberly Kessler since 2015. Together they are parents to five lovely children. However, three of those five children are not his. Here’s why.
Orton married his first wife Samantha Speno on September 21, 2007. Together, they have a daughter christened Alanna Marie Orton (b. July 12, 2008). Their union ran into troubled waters in late 2012 and led to a separation and ultimately divorce in June of the following year.
The wrestler later found love again, this time at the arms of a fans club member, Kim Marie Kessler. The duo tied the knot on November 14, 2015. Together, they have one daughter, Brooklyn Rose Orton (b. November 22, 2016).
Although Brooklyn is their first child together, they are parents to four other children (three from Kessler’s previous marriage and one from Orton’s marriage with Speno). The family resides in St. Charles, Missouri.