Randy Orton has cemented himself as one of the mainstays on the WWE roster, but there was a time when Vince McMahon apparently didn’t want to hire him. On the latest edition of Grilling JR, by way of Sportskeeda, Hall of Famer Jim Ross revealed that he had to twist McMahon’s arm.
While Ross is best-known as an announcer, he was also responsible for hiring talent during his time in WWE. He was one of the officials who saw something in Orton, but he had to convince the boss that the young protege was worth the gamble.
Ross recalled how Orton was considered too “controversial” and risky at the beginning of his career. Furthermore, McMahon may have seen a lot of himself in “The Viper,” as Ross claimed Orton’s troubled past was similar to McMahon’s background prior to entering the sports entertainment business.
“Vince was the problem child that went to military school and Randy was the problem child that went to the Marines and got discharged. Big time [Randy Orton’s past was a problem for Vince McMahon]. But, you know, it’s one of those deals where you say, look, I said, ‘Vince, you got a second chance, so why not this kid?’ He’s only a third-generation performer and both his father and his grandfather were outstanding in-ring guys.”
As Ross pointed out, Orton’s tenure in the Marines was dogged with troubles. Per Ringside News, the superstar received a bad conduct discharge after being absent without official leave on two separate occasions. He also spent over one month in military prison.
Orton ultimately joined WWE in 2000 and was immediately sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling to be trained. He was part of the impressive class of superstars that included John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Dave Bautista and Shelton Benjamin. It also didn’t take long for Orton to catch McMahon’s eye, as he was promoted to the main roster in 2002.
He has since gone on to win the company’s World Championships on 13 separate occasions. His last run with the gold was last year. The veteran superstar is also expected to have a huge match at this year’s WrestleMania pay-per-view. He’s still a major play to this day, and McMahon probably doesn’t regret taking a chance on him.
Orton has been feuding with Bray Wyatt in recent weeks. He defeated “The Fiend” in an Inferno Match at TLC 2020, but the pair are expected to lock horns again this month. As The Inquisitr previously documented, the rivals could be set to take part in the second-ever Firefly Funhouse segment in the company’s history.