For the past 15 years, Randy Orton has been a staple of WWE programming, and undoubtedly one of the most successful wrestlers of his generation. His finisher, the RKO, is instantly recognizable, even to casual or lapsed fans, or in many cases, non-fans. And with all his achievements in that decade and a half in the WWE, including 13 combined WWE and World Heavyweight Championship reigns, he certainly has his share of backstage clout. And, as it turns out, he's allegedly ruined the careers of many a colleague in the WWE.
Who are those wrestlers who felt the wrath of the Viper and saw the end of their WWE pushes (or in some cases, the end of their WWE careers) after getting on Orton's bad side? Let's take a look at five of them.
5. Kofi Kingston
He's since gotten his momentum back and then some, thanks to his membership in The New Day, but there was a time when Kofi Kingston was buried deep in WWE's mid-card, with little direction to what had once been a promising career. Many believe this was a result of Kingston botching the finish to his Monday Night Raw match against Orton in late 2009 and preventing the Viper from missing a punt attempt.
After landing an RKO on the then-kayfabe Jamaican, Orton was clearly heard screaming the word "STUPID!" at Kingston, in an obvious case of losing his cool on live TV. Thank goodness Kofi was able to climb back up to relevance, even if it took him a few years to do so.
The idea behind The Legacy was simple – it was a heel stable of second-generation wrestlers, with Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, and Ted DiBiase Jr. sticking around for most of the faction's existence. However, fellow next-generation stars Sim Snuka and Manu also spent some time with the faction, only for their stay to be short-lived for one storyline reason or another.
Thing is, the reason for Manu's quick departure from The Legacy, as well as his release from the WWE shortly thereafter, is widely believed to boil down to Legacy leader Orton himself. In a 2009 shoot interview, Orton claimed that Manu, the son of Wild Samoan Afa, had a bad backstage attitude, and felt like he "[didn't have to] pay his dues." That won't last you long in the WWE, especially if someone like Orton is letting the higher-ups know about it.
3. Rochelle Loewen
Although one would struggle to remember anything she's ever done during her short-lived stint as a WWE Diva, Rochelle Loewen is nonetheless a familiar name to anyone who loves a good backstage story. Apparently, the Canadian model-turned-wrestler didn't recognize who Randy Orton was, which prompted the Apex Predator to take liberties with her gym bag.
While urban legend has suggested that Orton left his personal signature by taking a dump in Loewen's gym bag, she has since gone on record to say that he had merely used tanning lotion and baby oil to vandalize the bag. In any case, Loewen wasn't long for the WWE, and probably would have stayed longer, had she not made the "mistake" of not recognizing one of WWE's fastest-rising stars of the time.
2. Mr. Kennedy
This is probably the most infamous case of Randy Orton supposedly ruining another wrestler's career, as it actually resulted in the man losing his job. After months on the sidelines with an injury, Mr. Kennedy made his return to Monday Night Raw in May 2009, taking part in a 10-man tag match. Probably on account of ring rust, Kennedy botched a backdrop on Orton, which resulted in him landing on his shoulders and neck.
While Orton escaped without injury, the botch was enough to reportedly set him off, as he and John Cena both warned Vince McMahon about what an unsafe worker Kennedy was. McMahon apparently took the warning seriously enough, as Kennedy was fired from the WWE mere days after that botched backdrop on live TV.
1. Bray Wyatt
Earlier this year, Bray Wyatt won the WWE Championship at Elimination Chamber, and for some time, it seemed as if he was finally getting what he rightfully deserved after years of questionable booking. Then came WrestleMania 33, where the Eater of Worlds lost his title cleanly to his onetime Wyatt Family recruit – a certain Randal Keith Orton. The match was high on shock value and low on quality, yet it was a five-star classic compared to the "House of Horrors" rematch on Payback, which made absolutely no sense, on top of the uncharacteristically bad wrestling from both men.
Since the House of Horrors debacle, Wyatt has moved to Monday Night Raw, where hardly anyone takes him as a serious threat, even for a mid-card title. Orton may not have directly ruined Wyatt's career, but you can't deny it hasn't been the same in the months since WrestleMania and Payback.