@JoeyStyles: In an interesting series of twists, champion Seth Rollins chose to have Randy Orton’s outta nowhere RKO banned and the challenger chose a Steel Cage Match so The Authority could not interfere. Orton can use something else to beat Rollins, but Rollins can’t use somebody else to help him because his new adversary Kane will make sure of it, right? Wrong! I don’t buy that Kane is fed up with being The Authority’s hired muscle. I think Triple H having to keep the peace between Rollins and Kane is a ruse. As WWE’s longest tenured Superstar, Kane knows that you grin and bear whatever position The Authority gives you. When it seems that Orton is about to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from The Authority-installed Rollins, Kane will interject himself into the Steel Cage Match (which has no disqualifications) and personally see that Rollins remains champion. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Anthony Benigno: If this were just a regular Steel Cage Match minus the RKO, I’d go with Orton. The Viper’s got the deeper arsenal, more experience in these sorts of matches, plus, he’s got the dreaded punt in his back pocket. However, this match will hinge on Kane’s status as keeper of the keys for the steel cage. The Director of Operations has been on the outs with Rollins for some time now, and no amount of smoothing-over on the part of Triple H seems to have swayed him from his general disdain for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He’s still an Authority employee, though, so expect this match to go much as Rollins’ Money in the Bank victory did: The Architect will earn the win on the shoulders of The Devil’s Favorite Demon. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Scott Taylor: Despite the uncertainty surrounding Kane’s role as “gatekeeper,” I have no doubt that Seth Rollins has plans B, C and D ready to go. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion didn’t get to where he is without outsmarting the competition along the way. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Matthew Artus: As one of two Extreme Rules grapplers whose experience at this event dates back to its ECW One Night Stand days, Randy Orton feels like an obvious choice. However, the banned RKO and Seth Rollins’ record of escaping cagey confines due to unannounced guests (Bray Wyatt or Brock Lesnar, anyone?) put the odds in favor of The Authority’s golden boy. WINNER: Seth Rollins
@HowardFinkel: Getting the RKO banned was smart strategy from Rollins. But you can’t downgrade Orton’s chances of winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship just due to that. Orton’s got Rollins exactly where he wants him — in the cage — and you know how that can go. I am also curious as to what frame of mind Kane will be in this Sunday as gatekeeper of the cage. Regardless, I look for Rollins to eke out a victory and retain his championship. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Seth Rollins: 5, Randy Orton: 0
@ShawnMichaels: This one’s really tough because they’re both very talented and really good at what they do. I think Seth Rollins has to win in order to prove that he’s not just a flash in the pan. And I think he will. WINNER: Seth Rollins
@HowardFinkel: Will this contest be a strict singles meeting, or will J&J Security have a presence outside the ring? In the interest of fairness, I believe Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble should not be at ringside. Let bitter rivals Randy Orton and Seth Rollins battle it out, one-on-one. Rollins has blossomed into a major player in WWE over the past year, while Orton is consistently cunning and methodical. Orton’s break from The Authority was the best thing he did in recent memory, and The Viper will emerge victorious, no matter where J&J Security will be. WINNER: Randy Orton
@JoeyStyles: What a butt-kicking! The Viper gave the self-proclaimed “Future of WWE” payback with interest when he battered and beat him all over the arena, then RKO’ed him through the announce table on Raw. Though an awesome athlete and a Money in the Bank winner, Rollins has been unable to win big money matches without The Authority in his corner. However, it’s safe to assume that Big Show, Kane and J&J Security will indeed be running interference for Rollins. I see Orton having Rollins ready for a match-ending RKO several times, only to be thwarted by Authority interference. Sooner or later, though even a myopic Cyclops in a referee shirt is going to catch them in the act and disqualify Mr. Money in the Bank. WINNER: Randy Orton
@Apter1wrestling: Seth Rollins has plenty of insurance to destroy Randy Orton. With J&J Security, and possibly Kane and Big Show, in his corner, it will be tough for Orton to gain a victory. However, as we have learned from the past, The Viper has a highly unpredictable, combative persona. That, coupled with his deep hatred for the entire Authority, will see him RKO his way to victory against Mr. Money in the Bank and his henchman. WINNER: Randy Orton
@MichaelPSHayes1: Seth Rollins seems to always figure out a way, but he hasn’t faced The Viper in a singles match. Nonetheless, I’m going to go with the ever-resourceful Seth Rollins. WINNER: Seth Rollins
Randy Orton: 3, Seth Rollins: 2
Brock Lesnar took WWE by storm in his rookie year, capturing the WWE Championship at age 25, but another blue-chipper needed to fill the void when Brock left after WrestleMania XX.
At the time, Randy Orton was the promising star of Evolution who reinvigorated the Intercontinental Championship and wanted to step into the main event scene. With Lesnar gone, The Legend Killer graduated into a Legend in his own right, winning nine World Titles (and three more since The Beast Incarnate returned to WWE). Orton saw the opportunity to forge his own destiny without the monstrous Lesnar in his way and he grabbed on, never letting go.
Lesnar and Orton battled once before — back when the former was WWE Champion and the latter was only 22. Orton gave Lesnar a run for his money back then, so imagine how epic the matchup would be with both Superstars primed, experienced and at their best.
#11 Randy Orton’s RKO
What’s in a name? For Randal Keith Orton, it’s a lightning-quick front face neckbreaker that has defined a career filled with venom and victory.
A year after his WWE debut in May 2002, Randy Orton figuratively stamped his initials on a move he modified from Johnny Ace’s “Ace Crusher.” Like a true Viper sinking its fangs, Orton renders opponents motionless with a three-quarters facelock before driving them head-first into the canvas. The result has proved more pivotal to Orton’s personal evolution than even his time under the tutelage of Triple H and Ric Flair — with the RKO, this son of WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bob Orton transformed into a destroyer of ring icons, cemented a legacy of championship glory and put a WWE-imposed face on an Apex Predator.
#23 Cesaro vs. Randy Orton (SmackDown; Feb. 14)
Since his arrival in WWE, many had pegged Cesaro as a star of the future. But The Swiss Superman did not get a chance to truly prove it until he faced then–WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton on Valentine’s Day 2014. Cesaro showed off his impressive strength, mat wrestling ability and powerful striking acumen. With Zeb Colter and, surprisingly, the WWE Universe, willing him on, Cesaro took everything The Viper had and answered with blistering offense of his own. The King of Swing lived up to his moniker, dizzying Orton with his patented Cesaro Swing.
In the end, The Swiss Superman reversed an attempted top-rope superplex into a sunset flip powerbomb, followed up with a bone-rattling European Uppercut and the Neutralizer to pick up what should have been a star-making victory. — Bobby Melok
‘The Legend Killer,’ 1987, Nintendo Entertainment System
Starring: Randy Orton
In a time of peace and prosperity in the WWE Universe, a force has emerged that has turned several WWE Legends to evil. There is only one Superstar who can stop them: “The Legend Killer” Randy Orton.
Challenge the likes of Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan and more in a side-scrolling action game to restore order and balance in the WWE Universe. With every Legend you defeat, Orton’s power grows, as he absorbs the special traits of those he has vanquished to become a mega Orton.
Stop the Legends. Save the WWE Universe. Help Orton become The Legend Killer once again.