Time does move fast in the realm of WWE and in professional wrestling, where ten years might as well have been ten decades. Yet on the April 25th 2002 edition of Smackdown, back when WWE was still WWF (but not for long), where the brand extension was still fresh, and when Hulk Hogan was your World Wrestling Federation Champion with Chris Jericho and Triple H vying for a title shot, a young man made his debut on that night on Smackdown.
Ten Years of Randy Orton in WWE
The man's name was Randy Orton, the third generation star, son of "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr and the grandson of Bob Orton, the nephew of Barry "Barry O" Orton, made his debut in a backstage segment with Stacy Keibler, who was the executive assistance of Smackdown Owner Vince McMahon. McMahon seemed to think that Orton was engaging in activities not benefiting a rookie so he is thrown in with the eternal grumpy old man known as Hardcore Holly.
Orton scores an impressive win, the first of many, with a textbook Oklahoma Side Roll. Over the next ten years, Randy Orton has held many titles, a nine time World Champion, with six reigns as WWE Champion and three reigns as World Heavyweight Champion. He also had an extended reign as WWE Intercontinental Champion and held the World Tag Team Titles with Edge as Rated RKO.
Two of Orton's greatest rivals over the past ten years would have to be Triple H and John Cena. Triple H was once Randy Orton's mentor in Evolution but that relationship turned sour with a feud that lasted on and off for years. John Cena and Randy Orton were two young blue chippers who came up at the same time and competed in an endless string of Pay Per View Matches from 2007 to 2009, culminating in a sixty minute Iron Man Match at Bragging Rights 2009.
One of the most memorable matches in the career of Randy Orton was his battle with the legendary Mick Foley in a Hardcore Match at Backlash 2004, where he triumphed over the Hardcore Legend in his own barbaric match.
Today Randy Orton is on Smackdown and while he has had problems with injuries over the past year, it can only be a matter of time before Randy Orton adds a tenth World Championship, whether it would be the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship. The WWE Universe eagerly awaits where the Viper will strike next.