Randy Orton won the 30-man Royal Rumble, presumably paving his path to a world title with match with John Cena at WrestleMania 33. Seeing Orton stand tall at the end of the pay per view brought back some pleasant memories of “The Viper”.
“Randy was bred for this business,” said Galloway. “He is a third generation star, he looks the part, talks the part, and is the complete package in the ring. As most people know, Randy has always been brutally honest, which is why we clicked when it came to conversation. We were never afraid to express our real opinion on wrestling. This business is the one thing Randy truly understands. He is always evolving and adapting to what is relevant in the modern TV era.”
Seven years after winning his first Royal Rumble, 12-time WWE world champion Randy Orton has once again booked a ticket to WrestleMania. Orton was the last man standing among 30 participants at Sunday night’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view at the Alamodome in San Antonio. In the main event and titular match of the night, Orton eliminated Roman Reigns with a clothesline after an RKO and tossed him out of the ring. In a Royal Rumble match that was short on surprise entrances, business picked up in a hurry late in the match, following appearances from Brock Lesnar (No. 26), Goldberg (28), The Undertaker (29) and Reigns (30). After a series of memorable standoffs that could very easily be the ignition for a variety of WrestleMania feuds, it was Orton who secured a title opportunity at WrestleMania 33 on April 2, in Orlando, Florida.
“I’d say I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot of great things here, more than most,” Orton told ESPN.com immediately following his victory. “I think I heard today that there were 23 winners here in 30 Royal Rumbles. That’s quite a short list, given the history of WWE and how long WWE has been around. But not only am I one of the 23, I’ve done it twice. It’s just accolade after accolade stacking up, and I couldn’t be more grateful.” Orton, a member of The Wyatt Family, entered at No. 23 and instantly cleaned house with several of his signature RKOs, including an impressive one in which he caught Sami Zayn in mid-air after Zayn leaped from the top rope. Two spots later, however, embattled Wyatt Family member Luke Harper entered the match, creating a memorable moment.
Harper and Orton have feuded in recent weeks due to a lack of trust in the group, which caused Wyatt, the leader of the faction, to become the peacemaker for a time before ostensibly booting Harper from the group. Wyatt attempted to extend an olive branch one last time before Harper surprised his former leader with a stiff spinning lariat before eating a retaliatory big boot to the face from Orton. Moments later, after Harper attempted to put Wyatt in his own finishing move, Sister Abigail (including a signature kiss on Wyatt’s forehead), Orton rescued Wyatt again with an RKO on Harper.
24. Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins & Braun Strowman) vs. Team SmackDown LIVE (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon, Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton) — 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Men’s Elimination Match (Survivor Series)
If there was a WWE equivalent to a big-budget summer popcorn flick this year, it was undoubtedly the Survivor Series main event. The heavily hyped battle between Raw and SmackDown LIVE was so packed with marquee stars, high stakes and even comic relief (thanks to Team Blue mascot James Ellsworth) that you wouldn’t have been surprised to find out it was directed by Joss Whedon. The nearly hourlong (!) affair — which saw Roman Reigns almost hospitalize Shane McMahon with the ugliest Spear of 2016, The Shield Triple-Powerbomb AJ Styles through an announce table and Randy Orton & Bray Wyatt walk out as survivors — left us slack-jawed, breathless, and asking one question: When’s the sequel?
Even a pro wrestling bad guy like Randy Orton has a heart. Especially when it comes to family. That has been apparent in the last few weeks even as the heel Orton won the Smackdown tag team championship with Bray Wyatt last weekend at TLC and the actor Orton appears on USA Network’s Shooter on Tuesday as James Richards, a former Navy SEAL who leads a militia group.
On Thanksgiving, Randy and wife Kim welcomed daughter Brooklyn Rose. “Everybody is doing great,” Orton said this week. “The baby is perfect. Mom is healthy. They came home on Thanksgiving so that was pretty cool.” Days earlier, Orton stepped out of character during the Survivor Series pay-per-view to check in with Shane McMahon’s sons in the front row after McMahon took a wicked spear. “He whacked his head pretty hard,” Orton said. “I knew where the family was. I didn’t think the camera was going to be on me. I wanted to reassure the kids that daddy’s OK and he will be fine.”
Orton also was wearing an orange bracelet to raise awareness for leukemia after his 5-year-old nephew T.J. was recently diagnosed. “He’s a little badass,” Orton said. “It’s going to be a long journey. That’s why I wear the bracelet and will continue to wear it.” As a third-generation wrestler, Orton has been steeped in the wrestling business by his grandfather, father and uncle. Now a father of five kids, Orton fully understands to how his kids react to seeing him in the ring, too. While promoting Shooter – which airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET after Smackdown – Orton talked family, wrestling, his new tag team partner and more with For The Win. His Shooter episode is part of WWE Week on USA with Raw on Monday (8 p.m. ET), Smackdown on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET) and the 14th annual Tribute to the Troops on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET).
LET’S TALK ABOUT “SHOOTER.” HOW DID THIS ROLE COME ABOUT FOR YOU?
I got an opportunity while I was out of action in the ring after shoulder surgery in December. I was a couple of months away from being cleared and was still at home. Basically, that made me one of the candidates. They talked to a couple of other guys and wanted to give me the opportunity. You don’t really get to audition. USA Network talks to our people and the network wanted me to play the role. It was really cool that they picked me. It does make you feel good. I was really impressed with the director. He was willing to work with me. I needed a little extra in terms of pointers because I’m not as experienced as the other actors. It was a great group of people. The crew was awesome. Ryan Phillippe was great. Just a man’s man. He talked to me on the same level. There was no big-leaguing anybody on the set.