@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
#7 Randy Orton — 609 days as champion
Number of reigns: Eight | Longest individual reign: 203 days
Bet you didn’t realize that Randy Orton has spent more time with the WWE Title around his waist than Superstars like The Rock, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker. The Viper doesn’t always receive the admiration that these rarified champions get, which may be owed to the controversies that often surround the title’s journey to Orton’s hands.
Take, for example, The Viper’s first WWE Championship reign, which began when Mr. McMahon literally handed the thing to him. Awarded the vacant title by WWE’s Chairman at No Mercy 2007, Orton immediately lost the championship to Triple H before winning it back the very same night — making him a two-time champion in the course of a few hours.
Eight reigns in the books, Orton stands as the Superstar with the seventh most days as champion. Whether or not this has endeared him to the WWE Universe is another question.
Seth Rollins’ first defense of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will come at Extreme Rules against the very Superstar who pinned the self-proclaimed “Future of WWE” at WrestleMania, Randy Orton.
Orton, a 12-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, was named Rollins’ challenger on the April 6 Raw, after defeating Roman Reigns and Ryback in a No. 1 Contender’s Triple Threat Match. Now, he looks ahead to his opportunity against the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Extreme Rules.
The WWE Universe is still raving about Orton and Rollins’ last encounter at WrestleMania, where The Viper ignited The Show of Shows by inconceivably countering Rollins’ Curb Stomp into a high-elevation, highlight-reel-worthy RKO. Whereas Rollins and Orton’s deeply personal and longstanding grudge was the foundation for that bout, their rematch at Extreme Rules will be not only emotionally charged, but also for the grandest prize in sports-entertainment.
Since then, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion has appeared less-than-eager to again cross paths with The Viper, but he will have no choice on Sunday, April 26, when Extreme Rules airs live on WWE Network.
Can The Authority’s boundlessly athletic poster boy — a CrossFit-conditioned machine who is arguably the most dynamic in-ring competitor to wear the WWE World Heavyweight Title — silence the doubters and cement his first championship reign with a pivotal victory over the more seasoned Orton, a third-generation Superstar who was pegged as a Legend-in-the-making his rookie year? Or will The Viper, who craves the opportunity to tap into his extreme and most sinister instincts, remind Rollins why he is the master of the RKO “outta nowhere,” and return to championship glory at Rollins’ expense?
Watch this gigantic WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match live when Extreme Rules takes over WWE Network Sunday, April 26, starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
@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
Five popular WWE Superstars and Divas will be in attendance at Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia when Sting™, Roman Reigns™, Dolph Ziggler™, Randy Orton® and WWE Diva Paige™ appear during the 15th annual pop culture extravaganza, set for May 7-10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Reigns and Paige will appear on Thursday, May 7, greeting fans, signing autographs, posing for dual and solo photo ops and conducting a dual Q&A panel. Ziggler (who will conduct a solo Q&A panel) and Orton will attend on Friday, May 8; Sting is scheduled for Saturday, May 9, and will make a rare appearance in face paint.
“We have rolled out one of our largest WWE guest lists ever for Wizard World Comic Con Philadelphia,” said John Macaluso, Wizard World CEO. “This very special appearance by Sting in face paint is what makes the WWE guests so unique to Wizard World. What an amazing collection of talent under the same roof!” It will be the first Wizard World appearance for Sting, often dubbed “The Franchise of WCW,” and one of the most recognizable and unique faces in sports-entertainment history. Although his first appearance in a WWE ring will be at WrestleMania 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, he remains one of the most popular and respected competitors of all-time. “I am excited to see all my longtime fans for the very first time at Wizard World,” said Sting. “And to commemorate this, I’ll be appearing in face paint. This appearance will be truly something special.” Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Dolph Ziggler and Paige return to Wizard World after wildly successful appearances at previous shows.
With both men fueled by bitterness and a mutual disdain for one another, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins prepare to do battle on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
The animosity dates back to November, when Orton was not only kicked out of The Authority, but also ambushed by Rollins, who drove The Viper’s head onto the steel steps with a vicious Curb Stomp. That attack cost Orton four months of his career, while Rollins continued to flourish, with Mr. Money in the Bank even challenging for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Royal Rumble. Orton sat at home biding his time, planning his retribution against those who had done him wrong.
At WWE Fastlane, Rollins’ worst fear came to fruition, as Orton returned to WWE, landing RKO after RKO on members of The Authority as The Architect fled the building. In the ensuing weeks, however, Orton — despite the skepticism of some Authority members — won the trust of Rollins, even aiding Mr. Money in the Bank in a victory over Roman Reigns. For a while, it seemed as if all was forgiven, and Orton was ready to pick up where he left off as a member of The Authority. Yet as Rollins would find out, you can never trust a snake.
On the March 9 edition of Raw, Orton’s true motives became known as he unleashed ba brutal assault on Rollins, even driving him through the announce table with a thunderous RKO. The next week on Raw, Orton and Rollins’ WrestleMania showdown became official, though not until after Rollins attempted to play his own mind games against WWE’s Apex Predator.
Orton has racked up a string of legendary accomplishments since making his WWE debut nearly 13 years ago. At WrestleMania, Orton looks to decimate Rollins, showing no mercy for his past sins. Rollins has been called the “Future of WWE” since he joined The Authority last summer, and winning the Money in the Bank Ladder Match did nothing but fuel the belief that he is destined for greatness. Now, Rollins looks to finish what he started last fall, taking out the 12-time World Champion once and for all.
Will Orton’s thirst for payback be satisfied at WrestleMania? Will Rollins be able to de-venomize The Viper? And will the course of history change as the “Future of WWE” is determined?
Find out which Superstar will be victorious in their showdown at The Showcase of The Immortals when WrestleMania 31 takes place live on WWE Network Sunday, March 29!