Jim Ross has revealed how he convinced Vince McMahon to give Randy Orton a second chance when signing him, with WWE’s CEO reportedly concerned about The Viper’s past.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, the legendary commentator known as JR recalled the “controversial” hire of Orton, stating how McMahon’s reservations about Randy Orton came from Orton being discharged from the Marines, while Ross reminded Vince of his own past and the calibre of Orton’s family.
“He [Randy Orton] was, believe it or not, he was somewhat of a controversial hire for us. 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.”
Orton had attended enlisted with the Marines at a young age, but received a bad conduct discharge in 1999 after reportedly going AWOL on two occasions and disobeying an order from a commanding officer.
Randy Orton, of course, would go on to win 14 World Championships in WWE, which is two short of the record jointly held by Ric Flair and John Cena.