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Randy Orton Criticises NXT Talent For Not Protecting Their Opponents

Randy Orton

Randy Orton has hit out at some of some of WWE’s newer stars saying they “don’t know what the f*ck they’re doing.”

Randy Orton has been a consistent part of WWE’s main roster for two decades, and remains heavily featured despite his veteran status.

In recent months, Randy Orton has opened up about how the wrestling industry has changed during his career, while also being critical of aspects of his own work. The master of the RKO has openly admitted that he hasn’t always applied himself to his craft as he should have, leaving him in what he’s described as “half ass” mode.

During a recent appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Orton discussed what sparked his career back into life. The former World Champion explained that getting the chance to work with Edge again enabled him to up his game.

“The people I’m working with,” he replied. “It started to turn around for me years ago, just because I was maturing, I became a father and stuff, but my opponents.

Working with Edge two years ago, right when the pandemic, it was right before COVID, we started working. Having Edge come back and having that person who kind of mentored me and I looked up to, that bigger brother figure that I haven’t had for a decade.

Now, all of a sudden, I have this guy, ‘Can you help me with this?’ Instead of everyone coming to me or me feeling like I didn’t have anyone to talk to, now I have Edge, who is probably one of the best minds in the business that I have been fortunate enough to be in the ring with.

He helped turn it around for me because he had that old school mentality and he knew how to work and he wasn’t taught that ‘when the red light is on, cream the shit out of the guy.'”

Orton continued to praise Edge for his way of working, and how protecting each other in the ring is vital. Something he says isn’t being taught in NXT, leading to him actively trying to protect himself from getting hurt in the ring.

Expanding further, Orton said that he’s trying to “preach longevity” in an effort to get younger stars to take better care of themselves and each other.

“There is an art to what we do and a lot guys have lost that art. Instead of selling a punch because you need to sell a punch, now I’m protecting myself because I don’t want to get my fucking jaw broken. That’s unfortunate. The art to professional wrestling…when Vince (McMahon) was on (McAfee’s Show), he talked about the number one priority, above all, being protecting your opponent.

That’s not taught necessarily in NXT. I know that because I’ve been in the ring with guys that came from NXT and they don’t know what the fuck they’re doing. It’s unfortunate. It’s just how kind of things are changing.

Edge, I knew I could trust this guy and give this guy my body in the ring and I don’t have to, in the back of my head, worry about him only being concerned with looking cool in the ring and hitting the fuck out of me and taking my head off. He knows I know how to work and when he hits me, I’m going to sell and react and make it bigger. He doesn’t have to hurt me.

The right way to do things in the ring, longevity-wise. There is a reason I’ve done it for 20 years and I’ll do it for another 10 and I want everyone to put food on the table, clothes one their back, and take care of their families for 10, 20, 30 years but they’re not going to be able to because they’re going to be all fucked up. I’m trying to preach that longevity.

If I’m able to think about what’s happening in the moment and not worry about, ‘here’s this fucking guy, I don’t know where he’s coming from,’ because you have to protect yourself,

Randy Orton is currently preparing to defend their Raw Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania 38 alongside his partner Riddle. The unlikely duo have been highly successful in their time together and will meet the Alpha Academy and The Street Profits on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All.’

H/t to Fightful for the transcription.