Randy Orton has divulged that he wasn’t much of a wrestling fan growing up despite his father and grandfather both competing in the business.
Speaking to Stone Cold Steve Austin on The Broken Skull Sessions on the WWE Network, Orton revealed that it wasn’t until high school that he found a passion for the business.
“I don’t talk about it a lot. I’ve done a lot of interviews where they talk about you know, ‘did you always want to be a wrestler?’ and the easy answer is yeah, you know, I always wanted to. But the truth is, and this is really the first time I’ve ever spoke on it in front of a camera is that I wasn’t a wrestling fan.”
“When I was a junior/senior in high school I definitely got into wrestling and I loved it from a fan’s point of view. Early on, I wasn’t living and breathing the business like so many guys that I work with did. I’m so fortunate to be where I’m at because early on – it was just what my dad did for work.”
Randy’s father is Cowboy Bob Orton Jr. who competed in WWE for several runs in the eighties. The Cowboy was part of the first-ever WrestleMania main event as he accompanied Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff to the ring. Randy Orton explained how his father’s job didn’t really resonate with him until friends would discuss Randy himself getting into the business.
“He was gone a lot. There wasn’t the iPhones and social media and this and that. My mom never sat me down and said ‘hey we’re gonna watch dad tonight’. He’d be gone for a month or two, come back from Japan. I might go through his bag and see the cool sh*t that he brought home and he’d bring me home a present or something but other than that, that was what my dad for a living.”
“Later on I got into high school and I became this huge wrestling fan. We used to watch the pay-per-views and we’d watch wrestling and it was huge. I remember these guys are like ‘dude, are you gonna get into [wrestling] or what?'”
Randy Orton went on to discuss why following in the family business wasn’t an option he considered at the time.
Orton noted a lack of confidence as the driving factor:
“I didn’t have the confidence to follow in my father’s footsteps. I didn’t think there was any way on earth that I could ever do what he did. So as I got older, I didn’t know what I was gonna do with my life and I decided I didn’t wanna go to college. Sports? Yeah, I like playing them, not into them enough to get a scholarship or anything like that. I wrestled in high school and didn’t do half bad but I was no Bobby Lashley or Kurt Angle. […] I wasn’t conditioned to understand the business the way I maybe should have in order to follow in my father’s footsteps. So, it wasn’t a possibility to me at that time.”
During their fascinating conversation, Stone Cold Steve Austin recounted coming up with the notorious ‘What?’ catchphrase.
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