For better or worse, everyone has an opinion on Randy Orton. The 13 time WWE/World Heavyweight Champion has essentially made a career out of arrogance, paving that path with friends and foes along the way.
Randy Orton has a storied ego in and out of the ring. In light of his current feud with Kofi Kingston, many fans have been reminded of just how vocal Orton can be about his opinions on others. While things between “The Viper” and Kofi seem to have settled down over the past decade, Orton has built many more noteworthy relationships — good and bad — since his WWE debut in 2002.
10 Close With: Evolution
Rather than split these three into separate entries, we will include all three of the other members of Evolution into one. Through regular appearances and interviews in settings including Table For 3 on the WWE Network, all of the previous members of Evolution have displayed a continued camaraderie from their days in the ring together.
Finding a start together with Batista, a mentor in Triple H, and a manager-turned-rival in Ric Flair, Orton can count these three superstars among his list of closest associates in WWE. By all outward appearances, that trend shows no signs of slowing down.
9 Doesn’t Get Along: Bob Holly
An upper-midcard contender throughout the early 2000s, “Hardcore” Bob Holly was a competitor known for being a bit firm between the ropes. Upon his debut with WWE, Orton’s first major rivalry was with Hardcore Holly.
Randy Orton has repeatedly mentioned Bob Holly in interviews as a superstar he has had issues with. Ironically, Bob Holly once credited Orton as one of the few up-and-comers who wouldn’t complain about such treatment.
Given the veteran’s penchant for being tough on new talent and the former praise he adorned the 3rd generation superstar Orton with, it’s clear that he would be none too fond of Orton’s later criticisms.
8 Close With: John Cena
Calling back again to the early days of Orton’s career, John Cena is a must on this list. Given the successes both have seen in WWE, few may realize that Cena and Orton forged their friendship before their WWE debut as performers in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).
While roots remain strong, the two wouldn’t see their first true rivalry in WWE until 2007, when Orton unsuccessfully challenged Cena for the WWE Championship before accepting Cena’s vacated title following an injury.
Given the monumental success both superstars have attained in WWE, it is no surprise that their most recent bout in 2013 was for the WWE Championship. Despite relative silence for the past few years, there is no indication that their personal relationship has shifted.
7 Doesn’t Get Along: Mr. Kennedy
This one can’t be let go. While current storylines in 2019 have emphasized that Orton once killed Kofi Kingston’s push as a major talent a decade ago, Kofi did not receive the worst punishment ever doled out by “The Viper” from backstage politics.
Mr. Kennedy has been extremely vocal since his 2009 departure from WWE that Orton was to blame. He has also made the claim that Orton called upon his previously cited friend John Cena for support in this matter. While Ken Anderson might not be on the WWE roster today, there is no doubt that his animosity with Randy Orton is alive and well.
6 Close With: John Morrison
John Morrison is an unlikely contender on this list. While it is well-documented that John Morrison and Randy Orton are good friends, the former “MNM” star gets very little consideration outside of Impact these days.
While Morrison is no longer active in WWE competition, his relationship with Randy Orton dates back many years. Outside of Orton, the former “Johnny Nitro” is friends with many in Orton’s circle, such as The Miz. Given their contrasting styles, it would have been interesting to see Orton and Morrison in a feud together or in tag team competition alongside each other; however, given their individual career trajectories, that seems unlikely today.
5 Doesn’t Get Along: Brock Lesnar
Speaking of personal bonds, the relationship between Orton and Lesnar is well-documented. Following a match at Summerslam 2016, Randy Orton was left with a concussion and an injury which required stitches. Ever the outspoken one, Orton has publicly commented several times about his interaction with Lesnar, commenting on his tendency to perform a bit too stiff in the ring, and criticizing his ability to safely perform with opponents.
While the WWE is physically taxing on its talent, legitimate injuries can go a long way to injure the relationship between two competitors. Orton and Lesnar haven’t met in the ring since 2016, and his comments about “The Beast Incarnate” seem to suggest that there might be a reason why.
4 Close With: Chris Jericho
While Jericho has publicly acknowledged his friendship with Orton, it is the former entry on this list which highlights how deep the bond between both competitors goes. According to the story, Jericho was so appalled by the 2016 match between Lesnar and Orton that he took the issue directly to Vince McMahon.
According to the backstage stories, McMahon did not address Jericho’s concerns, and Y2J confronted Lesnar directly about the incident. While this was certainly a genuine display of concern, Jericho very nearly faced a physical confrontation with the former UFC Heavyweight Champion — something very few of us would be able to stare down in favor of the best of friendships.
3 Doesn’t Get Along: Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens has recently seen a surge in popularity on Smackdown, thanks to his combatant attitude toward Shane McMahon’s recent airtime. While Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Sami Zayn, and others have briefly been involved in this storyline, Randy Orton is unlikely to make an appearance.
While Orton and Owens have had some successful moments in the ring together, their personal animosity has expanded beyond trivial storyline issues. On Twitter, Orton has made multiple comments about Owens’ weight, even going so far as to discuss Owens being sent home from an active road tour. While Owens isn’t innocent in the exchanges, he could potentially benefit from burying the hatchet with the veteran Orton.
2 Close With: Cody Rhodes
An unlikely name on this list to be sure, Orton can count the current Executive Vice President of All Elite Wrestling among his friends. Rhodes saw his first real claim to fame with WWE as a member of Orton’s faction “The Legacy”, which brought together superstars with a lineage in professional wrestling.
While their onscreen relationship ended long ago, as did Rhodes’ involvement with WWE, the bond shared by these two has remained unaffected. In 2016, Orton tweeted his disappointment with Rhodes’ departure from WWE. The two still actively support one another on social media. While they don’t currently have a working relationship, it is likely that “The Legend Killer” could find a home with AEW if ever he found himself ousted from WWE.
1 Doesn’t Get Along: Roman Reigns
One year ago, backstage heat with Roman Reigns would have been ill-advised for even the most tenured veteran. While his stature in the WWE hierarchy seems to have diminished as of late, “The Big Dog” remains one of the top talents on the WWE roster.
Initially seen as a palatable rivalry, Reigns and Orton were pulled apart following some apparent sabotage by Orton in 2014. According to backstage rumor, Orton intentionally stalled matches with Reigns, slowing the pace to an un-entertaining level while competing with the former big man from The Shield. While this has never been publicly addressed, the two have seen extremely limited action together, lending credence to the theory that Orton would not help with the push that Reigns was experiencing at his peak.