Throughout the history of professional wrestling there are a select few finishers that have the impact of the RKO. When you add in the quick strike capability and the situations in which Randy Orton is able to pull off the move, it just might be the best finisher we've ever seen. It's certainly the greatest one we have going today and with Randy Orton set to return to the ring shortly, now seems like as good a time as any to take a look back at the greatest RKO's Orton has delivered throughout his career.
Randy has proven throughout his lengthy run in the WWE that no matter the situation, he's only one RKO away from securing victory. With his quickness and smoothness in the ring, he's capable of pulling the move from out of nowhere (as we're all aware) often ending his matches with some of the most jaw dropping moments in years. It doesn't even matter who his opponent is, big or small, fast or slow, former champions or perennial jobbers, at one time or another everyone has an RKO with their name on it.
He's one of the most graceful in ring performers that we've had the pleasure to watch and Orton is not afraid to show it off when it comes to delivering the patented RKO. He can use it off the top rope, when his opponent's are flying at him, from the top of a ladder, or even as a response to a shooting star press attempt. The innumerable amount of ways that the move can strike has kept it as one of the greatest finishers that fans can't wait to see. You know it's popular when instead of chanting the wrestler's name, crowds will chant "RKO" at the top of their lungs, praying that they'll be able to see a new and innovate way for the move to be delivered. So sit back and enjoy these fifteen greatest examples of the most beautiful move in sports entertainment.
15 Tyson Kidd - Raw 4/13/15
During the build up for Randy Orton's rematch from WrestleMania against Seth Rollins, but with the WWE Title on the line this time thanks to Seth's cash in, Orton was put into a match against one half of the Tag Team Champions, Cesaro, with the opportunity to choose a stipulation for his upcoming title shot. Outside interference by Cesaro's partner, Tyson Kidd, ended the match early but Kane came out to make it a two on one contest with Kidd and Cesaro going up against The Viper. Against all odds, Orton was able to pick up the victory after delivering a nasty powerslam to Cesaro followed by catching Tyson Kidd, as he tried a springboard clothesline that turned into a nasty RKO for the one two three.
14 Cesaro - Money In The Bank 2014
This Money in the Bank ladder match was a little different than most since Daniel Bryan was forced to vacate the World Title, leaving the belts hanging above the ring instead of the typical contract. The contest consisted of John Cena, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns, Cesaro, U.S. Champion Sheamus, Kane and Alberto Del Rio, which is quite the line up for a match like this. There were spots a plenty sprinkled throughout the contest but the best one came at the hands of Randy Orton. With Cesaro making his way up the ladder, The Viper slithered into the ring to make sure the match would continue and what better way to do that then by grabbing Cesaro by the leg, whipping him off the ladder, and straight down into the RKO that was waiting for him.
13 Roman Reigns - SummerSlam 2014
Roman Reigns was out to prove that he belonged in the ring with the big boys, so who else to go up against and try to prove your meddle than The Viper, Randy Orton? Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, they put on a very good contest, and not just because Orton "carried" Reigns, that had the fans unsure of who was going to come out on top. The best example of that came towards the end of the contest with Roman Reigns picking up the momentum and looking to deliver his signature Superman Punch to try and put Orton down for the count. Randy clearly did his homework before this match however, as he was able to grab Reigns from out of mid air and turn the Superman Punch into a thunderous RKO.
12 Alberto Del Rio - Hell In A Cell 2012
Alberto Del Rio wanted to show everyone that he was the new Apex Predator, that there was no reason for anyone to fear Randy Orton anymore. Unsurprisingly, Orton didn't take too kindly to what Del Rio had to say, so the two had a match at Hell in a Cell to settle their beef. After the match spilled to the outside almost immediately, Orton found himself in full control using all the elements around him, such as the announce table, to his advantage, bouncing Alberto off of anything he could find. While Del Rio was able to regain control thanks to a little help from Ricardo Rodriguez, it wouldn't be too long until he felt The Viper strike. With Randy looking out of it in the corner, Del Rio went for his rope assisted enziguri kick to the back of Orton's head, but The Viper was able to get out of the way and deliver a huge RKO as ADR came back to Earth.
11 Christian - SummerSlam 2011
Arguably the feud of the year back in 2011 saw Christian and Randy Orton battling it out over the World Heavyweight Championship on SmackDown with the two trading wins and the title back and forth in the lead up to their no holds barred match at SummerSlam. Neither competitor was holding anything back in this contest, dishing out ridiculous punishment to each other in order to walk out of the second biggest show of the year with the big gold belt around their waist. It was Christian who made the fatal mistake in this bout, as he leaped off the second rope towards a stunned Orton only to be caught in mid air and driven straight down onto the steel steps with an RKO, leading to Randy Orton leaving with the belt.
10 CM Punk - WrestleMania 23
There's no such thing as a guarantee in the world of professional wrestling, but the closest thing to it is crazy spots in a WrestleMania Money in the Bank contest and the one put on at WrestleMania 23 did not disappoint. Randy Orton was on an absolute tear in the middle of the match, nailing everyone that moved with an RKO but it was the one he dished out to CM Punk that stands heads and shoulders above the rest. With two ladders set up in the ring and Punk making his way up towards the briefcase, it was up to Orton to put a stop to it, and boy did he ever. Randy met Punk up near the tops of the ladders, slowing him down enough to grab him and deliver a monstrous RKO from the ladders down to the canvas.
9 Carlito - Unforgiven 2006
Randy Orton was in full on jerk heel mode back in 2006 and the victim of most of his aggression was Mr. Caribbean Cool, Carlito. Randy would insult Carlito and Trish Stratus (Unforgiven was held in Trish's hometown of Toronto) week after week, leading to a match being made between the two for the event. Carlito was out to defend not only his honor, but that of fan favorite Trish who was retiring the night following the PPV, but unfortunately the white knight would be the latest victim of the RKO machine. With Orton down, Carlito went for a double springboard clothesline from the corner but Randy recovered in time to catch Carlito with an RKO, proving that not every villain gets what's coming to them.
8 John Cena - Raw 9/13/10
When two men face each other as often as John Cena and Randy Orton have, it's only a matter of time until they come up with something different and innovate that leaves the fans in awe. For Cena and Orton that moment came during a tables match between the two on a Raw Roulette episode back in 2010. As always, the two were very evenly matched throughout the contest, until then-champion Sheamus decided to stick his nose in the contest. Cena leveled Shaemus with an AA and got back in the ring to try and do the same to Orton, but Randy wasn't having any of it, as he grabbed Cena on the way down reversing the move into an RKO that sent John Cena through the table and gave Randy the victory.
7 Rob Van Dam - Money In The Bank 2013
To try and spice up the Money in the Bank ladder match back in 2013m the decision was made to have an "all star" line up featuring nothing but former World Champions, including the returning Rob Van Dam. Towards the end of the wild contest, that seemed like a very wise decision, as RVD found himself alone in the ring ascending the ladder mere feet away from the career changing briefcase. As he's done so many times before, however, Randy Orton would slither his way back into the ring to catch his prey when they least expected it. Orton grabbed Van Dam by the foot, violently yanking him backwards off the ladder with Randy lying in wait planting him with a huge RKO that sealed the victory for Orton.
6 Chris Benoit - SummerSlam 2004
There isn't a wrestler on the roster that looks as smooth doing what they do as Randy Orton, which was on full display for this RKO. Chris Benoit was the defending World Heavyweight Champion after defeating Triple H and Shawn Michaels for the title at WrestleMania XX, but now it was Hunter's Evolution stablemate, Randy Orton, to get a shot at the Rabid Wolverine. The two traded blow after blow but were never able to put the other man away until Benoit went for one final Crippler Crossface that would surely finish off the young challenger, but Orton was able to spin out of it and catch Chris spinning back towards Randy with a gorgeous RKO. It was probably the most important finisher Orton has delivered in his career, but it was also one of the most beautiful.
5 Wade Barrett - TLC 2011
Wade Barrett and Randy Orton have quite the sordid past, with the two meeting for the WWE Title on multiple occasions and engaging in a few backstage brawls, including when Wade Barrett sent Randy Orton tumbling down a set of concrete stairs. Orton had revenge on his mind when the two met in a Tables Match at the TLC event back in 2011 and was willing to do whatever it took to make sure he got it. As the match was picking up steam with each guy threatening to put his opponent through the table more than once, Barrett finally gained the upper hand and had Orton laid out on a table in the ring. Wade climbed up to the second rope to try and deal the decisive blow but, as he was mid-air, Randy managed to roll off the table and turn it into an RKO that sent the bareknuckle brawler through the table.
4 Jeff Hardy - Royal Rumble 2008
As beautiful as the RKO that Orton had delivered to Chris Benoit was, this one might just top it in terms of grace and style. At the Royal Rumble in 2008, Randy Orton was putting his WWE Title on the line against The Charismatic Enigma at Madison Square Garden following a heated rivalry that saw Randy focus his aggression on Jeff's brother, Matt. Jeff clearly came out with a fire in his gut ready to shut down the Apex Predator and end his reign atop the company, but things didn't quite work out like that. At the end of the contest, Hardy was going for the Twist of Fate but Orton was able to spin out of it at the perfect time keeping Jeff spinning back towards Randy setting him up for the most graceful RKO you're ever going to see.
3 The Undertaker - WrestleMania 21
The Undertaker is a legend in every sense of the word, so who better to go up against him at WrestleMania 21 than The Legend Killer, Randy Orton? When you get two generational talents like that going up against each other at the biggest stage WWE has to offer, you know that they're going to come up with something great. Randy Orton wanted nothing more than to end The Streak of The Undertaker and take his legacy for his own. For a split second, it looked like Orton was going to be able to snag the biggest victory of his career when The Undertaker went for a chokeslam only for Randy to twist his body in mid air turning the move into an RKO that came a split second away from getting Orton the win.
2 Seth Rollins - WrestleMania 31
Ever since Seth Rollins joined rank with The Authority, issues were bubbling between him and their former golden boy, Randy Orton. The future and the present were able to get along well enough until tensions rose too high leading to Rollins and his goons attacking Orton and putting him out of action. When Randy returned, he seemed to align himself back with his former cohorts, moving past the attack trying to do what's best for business. Unfortunately for Seth though, Orton was just biding his time until he could get a chance to attack Rollins, pouncing on The Architect leading to a match being set between the two for WrestleMania. During the match, Orton hit Rollins with a regular RKO and Rollins managed to hit a Curb Stomp on Randy but both men were able to kick out. It was when Rollins went for his second Curb Stomp that things went south for him, as Orton was just baiting the hook waiting for Seth to make his move. As soon as Rollins placed his foot on Orton's back, Randy popped straight up sending Seth sky high and straight down into a breathtaking RKO.
1 Evan Bourne - Raw 7/12/10
In the build up to Money in the Bank, two competitors in the titular match went one on one with Randy Orton facing off against Edge. After Edge picked up the victory, all hell broke loose when some of the other competitors rushed the ring looking to get the jump on Edge and Orton. First Chris Jericho came out to hit Edge with his Codebreaker, only to eat an RKO from Orton when Evan Bourne decided to head out and lay out The Viper. With Randy Orton down in the middle of the ring, Bourne went for his own breathtaking move, the Air Bourne, to put an exclamation point on the assault. When Bourne took off from the top rope, Orton shot up so quick that if you blinked you missed it and nailed Evan with the single most impressive RKO in history.