#6 Randy Orton (4,962 days; debut; SmackDown, April 25, 2002)
With an influx of talent hoping to make a mark in the post-Monday Night War era of sports-entertainment, a fresh-faced rookie named Randy Orton walked into Mr. McMahon’s office before his official tryout match. The Chairman raved about Orton’s pedigree, but even he couldn’t have guessed what The Legend Killer-turned-Viper-turned-Face of WWE would accomplish in his career. He’s the youngest World Champion in history, capturing the title at age 24. He unified the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships to form the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 2013. He’s risen through the ranks of Evolution and led the charge with The Legacy and The Authority.
Twelve years and 12 World Championship reigns after first walking onto WWE TV, Orton has matured into a sports-entertainment icon.
Former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton married fiancée Kim this weekend. The newlyweds recently appeared together on Unfiltered with Renee Young, available only on WWE Network.
Join the rest of the WWE Universe in congratulating Randy Orton and his new bride on this exciting new chapter in their lives! Send your congrats to The Viper on Twitter by tweeting @RandyOrton.
From the R-O.com team: Congratulations Randy & Kim on your nuptials, we wish you guys nothing but the best on your new & exciting journey together.
Three weeks ago, it was reported that Randy Orton did not appear on Monday Night Raw at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. Although it is still unclear as to whether Bray Wyatt was directly responsible for The Viper’s absence that night, as initial speculation indicated, WWE.com can now confirm that Orton’s injuries are significant, and will keep him from stepping into a WWE ring for an extended period of time.
“Randy has suffered from a dislocated shoulder. He’s had chronic problems with his shoulder, and a recent MRI that was done found he has a Bankart lesion in his shoulder, some stretched ligaments and a partially torn rotator cuff,” WWE physician Dr. Steve Daquino told WWE.com. “At this point it’s a matter of when he dislocates the shoulder again, and not if. Surgery seems imminent, and recovery time for such a surgery would be four to six months.”
@JoeyStyles: Knowing that he can have a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match whenever he damn well pleases, I expect The Celtic Warrior to walk away and take a loss by intentional count-out when he senses that an RKO is coming “outta nowhere.” WINNER: Randy Orton
@HowardFinkel: I have been a big advocate of The Celtic Warrior since he returned to WWE with a new attitude and look. And winning the Money in the Bank contract was a huge feather in the Irishman’s cap! But that was then and this is now. This match could go either way, but I feel that The Viper will be a mere three seconds better than Sheamus this Sunday. WINNER: Randy Orton
Anthony Benigno: Randy Orton’s brief leave of absence opened the door for Sheamus to run rampant, and The Apex Predator’s return has Mr. Money in the Bank appropriately shook. The Celtic Warrior was made a fool on Raw by Orton’s mocking RKO, which means he’ll have a grudge going into their Battleground brawl. And, as we all know, an angry Sheamus is the most effective Sheamus. WINNER: Sheamus
Jeff Laboon: Randy Orton is the most vindictive Superstar of all time. Every time Orton thinks about Sheamus, he thinks about how that Money in the Bank contract should travel with him. WINNER: Randy Orton
Bobby Melok: Don’t expect too many headlocks and hip-tosses when The Viper and The Celtic Warrior enter the ring. An all-out brawl favors Sheamus, so look for Mr. Money in the Bank to be victorious, despite Orton’s home field advantage in St. Louis. WINNER: Sheamus
Randy Orton: 3, Sheamus: 2
@JoeyStyles: I’ve been saying this frequently in predictions; picking a winner in a seven-Superstar Ladder Match really is a guess. Still, based on his recent career trajectory, I’m guessing Roman Reigns will win the contract as karma for Seth Rollins cashing in his contract at WrestleMania on Reigns. WINNER: Roman Reigns
@HowardFinkel: This is one of my favorite matches. It’s a mixed bag of Superstar styles and strategies that will end with one competitor gaining possession of the vaunted briefcase and contract within. And I truly believe that fate will be in the corner of Sheamus. For some reason, I just feel that The Celtic Warrior, who looks great to me, will be primed to outlast the field and lay claim to the valuable piece of luggage at the top of the ladder. WINNER: Sheamus
Jeff Laboon: Kofi Kingston is one of the most athletic, acrobatic Superstars ever, but he’s never challenged for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship one-on-one in his eight-year career. Big E and Xavier Woods will do their part to fix that. WINNER: Kofi Kingston
Matthew Artus: Everybody loves a Cinderella story, which may make Roman Reigns or Neville a trendy pick. Yet, Kofi Kingston is one appearance shy for the most Money in the Bank Ladder Match entries without a victory. He won’t tie Christian’s record. WINNER: Kofi Kingston
Bobby Melok: Though he has been on the main roster for a few months, I expect Money in the Bank to be Neville’s coming out party. The New Sensation won the NXT Championship in a Ladder Match, so will surely be out to show why he’s called The Man That Gravity Forgot, and pick up a guaranteed WWE World Heavyweight Title Match along the way. WINNER: Neville
Kofi Kingston: 2, Roman Reigns: 1, Sheamus: 1, Neville: 1
Winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match can change a Superstar’s career, instantly launching him into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture. The likes of Edge, Daniel Bryan and Seth Rollins have graduated from future star to WWE World Heavyweight Champion, thanks to the contract. On June 14 at Columbus, Ohio’s Nationwide Arena, six Superstars — Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston, Neville, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Sheamus — have been announced for the battle to secure WWE’s equivalent of a winning lottery ticket, earning a future date anytime, anywhere with the champion.
With two former Money in the Bank winners and three former World Champions in the field, a new face could take a massive step toward his first WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Ziggler won the briefcase in 2012 and cashed in the night after WrestleMania 29, but a concussion abruptly cut his long-awaited World Heavyweight Title reign short. Two years after his dream reign turned into a nightmare, Ziggler can finally right that wrong. Kingston always wows the WWE Universe and his competition with his in-match acrobatics and improvisation with a ladder. But after five appearances, the eight-year WWE veteran has never competed one-on-one for a World Championship.
WWE’s newest Superstar, Neville knows plenty about Ladder Matches, considering he captured the NXT Championship in one. Despite a lack of experience, The Man That Gravity Forgot aims to stun his much more seasoned competition. With three Money in the Bank appearances under his belt, Orton knows the dangerous bout as well as anyone. He followed his lone win in 2013 by joining The Authority and unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. Reigns had to watch “Mr. Money in the Bank” Rollins leave WrestleMania 31 with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, stealing his storybook moment. Money in the Bank 2015 represents his first step in rewriting history. A three-time WWE Champion, King of the Ring and Royal Rumble Match winner, Sheamus hopes to add another accolade to his resume with a Money in the Bank victory — while also proving WWE is the “land of the giants.”
Watch the always chaotic, always exciting matchup when WWE Money in the Bank airs live on WWE Network, on Sunday, June 14, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. P.T.