Randy Orton On Brock Lesnar Leaving WWE In 2004: ‘It Pissed Me Off’

We’re a little under two weeks away from the much-anticipated SummerSlam match between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton, which is being billed as “15 years in the making” as well as being called the “biggest match in SummerSlam history.” Whether or not it’s the biggest match in the history of the event is up for debate, but there’s certainly no denying that it’s probably the most anticipated match on the entire card, with Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor being a close second.

Lesnar and Orton have had very similar careers: they both started in Ohio Valley Wrestling, which was WWE’s developmental territory at the time; they were both called up to the main roster in 2002; and they both ended up becoming the youngest world champion in WWE history, with Lesnar doing it first in August of 2002 at the age of 25, and Orton doing it just two years later in August of 2004 at the age of 24.

While the two men have had similar WWE careers, they have yet to wrestle on pay-per-view. Of course, the two men have wrestled multiple times in the past, most notably on an edition of SmackDown in 2002. But, at that time, the two men were at very different stages of their respective careers, as Lesnar was the WWE champion, and Orton was relatively unknown.

In early 2004, it looked like both Lesnar and Orton were going to be the faces of WWE for the next decade, then Lesnar abruptly left the company for the NFL in the spring of ’04, which is something that really bugged WWE’s “Apex Predator.”

On Monday’s Raw, WWE aired a video package where both Lesnar and Orton reflected on their careers, and talked about their upcoming match on August 21. While Orton was reflecting on his and Lesnar’s early days in WWE, “The Beast’s” departure in 2004 was brought up, and Orton made it very clear that he was really unhappy with Lesnar’s decision to abruptly leave WWE following WrestleMania 20.

“When Lesnar and I became the closest is when we both got called up. We both went on to win titles. So me and Lesnar were soaking up all that together, and then he decided to leave because he didn’t like people? That pissed me off. I’d say that became the moment where I realized, ‘well this Lesnar isn’t the guy I thought he was.”

As of right now, Brock Lesnar is the favorite to pick up the win at SummerSlam. There have been reports that Lesnar will go on to challenge the winner of the Universal Championship match between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins after SummerSlam, so it would only make sense for him to defeat “The Viper” on August 21.

Lesnar is currently scheduled to appear on next week’s Raw show, which will be the final show before SummerSlam. There likely won’t be another Lesnar/Orton confrontation leading up to the event, and their match at the event itself will probably be a one-and-done, as the two men are on separate brands.

It’s unclear where WWE will go with Randy Orton if he does in fact lose next Sunday night. Some have suggested that he’ll find his way into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture, but if he’s coming off of a loss, logic would tell you that he’ll have to feud with someone else prior to getting a title shot. But stranger things have happened.

Prior to his injury, Orton was feuding with Bray Wyatt, and in storyline, Wyatt was responsible for Orton’s injury, so WWE could return to that feud, with the winner of it getting a shot at the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at next month’s Backlash show.

[Image via WWE]