Randy Orton has a big match this Sunday night at WWE Backlash on WWE Network when he faces long time friend and rival Edge in a match that WWE is billing as the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.” As we have noted previously, the match was actually taped this past Sunday and we already posted some comments from Edge talking about the match.
Orton took part in a media conference call yesterday where he talked about the match with Edge at Backlash and a lot of other things about his career. To start, let’s share what Orton tweeted about NXT Takeover In Your House and a bit of a Twitter battle with a top NXT name Tommaso Ciampa. First, here’s Ciampa replying to Orton’s initial tweet about leg slapping during matches to make kicks and knee strikes sound louder.
This is how Orton replied to that.
Looks like I hurt the feelings of the self appointed lockeroom leader of a wrestling school. Let me know what time #legslap class starts so I can take my game to the next level. https://t.co/c2ECCKL44f
— Randy Orton (@RandyOrton) June 8, 2020
Orton was asked about his comments regarding Ciampa as well as what he thinks about NXT matches while adding that he would love to work with Ciampa. Thanks to WrestlingInc and 411Wrestling for the transcript of the comments below.
“Yeah, whatever Vince tells me to do, I am going to do it. If it’s working with Tommaso Ciampa then I’d be all for it, I think he’s very talented and there’s a few things I can help him with. Mainly, to help him get a little more out of his career. I know he’s been plagued with injuries, but I also know he loves and respects this business. The NXT guys worry me because I see them doing such highly physical things during their matches, those things are dangerous and they wear and tear on your career.”
Orton talked about how some NXT matches are very physical with guys taking big bumps on a regular basis and mentioned Ciampa’s injury history, which included a major neck surgery.
“When you see so much of that back to back, you don’t get to invest in these matches because they’re just one thing after another. Although it’s highly physically impressive, and I wouldn’t be able to do that style, they’re going to have very short careers. I worry about Ciampa in particular because with all these big injuries he’s had, he needs to learn how to tell stories and slow it down and not think that the fans want to see him kill himself. You’re only as good as the last match you ever had.”
In explaining his point further, Orton encouraged his fellow wrestler to work smarter.
“If you only get 3 or 4 years of a career with the WWE because you did a lot of careless and reckless moves, you have to look back and kick yourself in the ass and wish that you didn’t. Smarter, not harder. When it comes down to it, this is a business, we all need to make money. You can’t destroy your body and make no money doing it and then you end up working at McDonald’s because you never went to college and you destroyed your neck in the ring. There has to be a purpose and that purpose is getting paid.”
“That’s my biggest concern for those guys in NXT. I would love to go down there and share a little bit of knowledge with them.”
Orton signed his first deal with WWE in October 1999 (he mentioned it during the interview) when he was just 19 years old. Orton turned 40 years old in April and noted that he wants to keep wrestling ten more years.
“I’ve been doing this 20 years, and I’ll do it another 10. My plan would be to keep going until my 50th birthday. I would be able to do that and support my family for 30 years because of the way I tell stories in the ring. The facial expression, transitional things, those are the things people remember.”
Orton has been working on a part time schedule in the last few years in terms of limited live events as well as being a regular on Raw or Smackdown (depending on what show he was on at the time), so as long as he’s healthy then he can probably keep going for another decade.
During Orton’s first decade in WWE in the 2000s, there were a lot of stories of Orton’s behavioral issues that led to suspensions and multiple fines. Orton addressed that during the conference call as well.
“My attitude when I was in my mid-20s, I think I walked around with a chip on my shoulder. I think it came across as me being stuck up or a narcissist. I think that was kind of cover for me and my insecurities. And you wouldn’t think it but a lot of the guys and the girls in the WWE locker room are insecure. We’re human beings and we’re out there wearing next to nothing every week on live television. You have to really discipline your way of life to be in the good shape, not only physically but mentally and emotionally. In my case, I have a very strong wife, but that wasn’t always the case, I didn’t have somebody like I do now that I could talk to and would value their opinion at home as far as personal things go, so I was kind of lost in my mid-20s.”
Lastly, Orton was also asked about some of the greatest matches in wrestling history and he picked out some familiar ones that a lot of wrestlers and fans talk about often.
“A very popular one that I would agree with would be Austin – Rock, Rock – Hogan, Bret and Austin. There are so many good ones, so many good ones. I personally had an Iron Man Match with John Cena that I consider to be very good, probably 10-12 years ago. There’s so many good matches, and that’s kind of what makes it hard for this Sunday at Backlash with me and Edge. The match hasn’t taken place yet. Before WrestleMania 25, when Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker were about to have their first match at WrestleMania, nobody knew going in, ‘Hey this is going to be the greatest wrestling match ever or the greatest match ever.’ After the fact, everybody felt that way, and hell I feel that way too, that match was tremendous.”
“Probably Undertaker – Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 25 would stick out. I don’t think there is any such thing as the greatest wrestling match ever, but if you had to pick one, that would probably be at the top of my list.”
TJR Thoughts: Good stuff from Randy. I listened to the entire conference call last night and if you’ve followed his career at all you can tell he has matured a lot as he has gotten older. That’s part of life and growing up.
Regarding his comments to Ciampa, I thought it was a bit ridiculous because if you’re going to make fun of leg slapping (which there is too much of in today’s wrestling but that’s another discussion entirely) then you might as well make fun of stomping the mat when a wrestler throws a punch, which has been going for decades. I mean, there’s a lot you can pick apart in pro wrestling that makes it look too fake, but I don’t think fans care too much because we know what pro wrestling is and we love it for what it is.
I think his concern about the guys in NXT is genuine because Randy’s a 20 year veteran in that WWE locker room and even though he has had injuries, he has performed at a high level. Orton has had plenty of injuries in his career, especially to his shoulders, but he has had a very successful career in terms of making big money as a main event guy since he won his first World Title 16 years ago. Some people don’t like his style or they might think he’s boring, but it’s hard to deny how successful he has been.
You can listen to the Orton conference call with the media below. Thanks to our good friends at Inside the Ropes for posting it.