TJR Review of WWE Untold: The Phenom & Legend Killer (Undertaker vs. Orton Rivalry in 2005)

A new episode of WWE Untold premiered on WWE Network this past Sunday as part of WWE’s 30-day celebration of 30 years of The Undertaker. It’s a documentary series featuring comments from the key individuals talking about whatever the subject is. For this episode, the focus is on The Undertaker’s feud with Randy Orton in 2005. I have reviewed all of the PPVs in 2005, so throughout the review, I’ll put my links in to the matches so you can read the match reviews if you’re interested.

The synopsis on WWE Network looks like this:

The Phenom & The Legend Killer
Randy Orton stakes his “Legend Killer” status against Undertaker’s legacy in a rivalry that leads to a legendary Hell in a Cell Match. The Viper and the Phenom open up about the career-defining battles, including their WrestleMania 21 classic that elevated Orton as a marquee Superstar and cemented The Undertaker’s reputation as a true innovator.”

When this feud happened in 2005, Randy was 25 years old while Undertaker was 40 years old. Now Randy is 40 years old and Undertaker is 55 years old, so it’ll be interesting to get their perspectives on it.


Randy Orton said in his almost year-long program he learned what a receipt was the hard way. Randy spoke about a moment when he hit Undertaker with a chair shot to the head while Taker was on his knees. Randy said he was off by an inch or two because when he hit Taker with the lip of the chair, he hit him between the eyes instead of higher up on the head where he intended to. Randy said he ripped the skin off Taker’s forehead down the bridge of his nose, so Taker was covered in blood. Undertaker spoke about how the old school wrestling mentality is that he will get him back. Randy said he apologized to Taker, who told Randy that the receipt was coming. Randy: “That sucks.”

Analysis: What he didn’t say is that the reason Undertaker was covered in blood is that he did a blade job after the chair shot before that. Orton did hit him hard with the second chair shot, though, which did lead to more blood.

They showed highlights of Randy Orton at OVW in 2000 when he was 20 years old. Randy spoke about how he had been there for about six or eight months while noting when they had a big show at Freedom Hall in Louisville when he faced Rico Constantino (just Rico when he made it to WWE). Also on the card was Batista as Leviathan and he was wrestling The Undertaker. Taker spoke about how people soon realized he was there to guide these guys and help them. Randy said that he remembered Taker’s match with Leviathan/Batista and gave him so much offense. Taker said that his job was to put asses in seats, but help that next generation grow up and develop while noting that some older guys would try to hold people down because they were worried about their spots. Taker: “With me, it was always business first.”

Bruce Prichard said that Undertaker was always the measuring stick. If somebody wanted to step up as a draw or top performer then you had to hold your own against The Undertaker. If you could do that and Undertaker gave you that endorsement then you were good for the rest of your career. Prichard referred to Undertaker as “The Godfather” as well.

A clip was shown of Randy Orton’s WWE Smackdown debut on April 25, 2002 when he was 22 years old. Orton beat Hardcore Holly in his first match. Randy spoke about how he had a great 2003 (the start of Evolution group), then in 2004 had a memorable feud with Mick Foley and became the youngest World Champion in WWE history at 24 years old, which is a record he still holds. Randy said that the Legend Killer idea came up and he loved that idea. There were highlights shown of Randy hitting the RKO on legends like Fabulous Moolah, Roddy Piper and Sergeant Slaughter. Randy said that somebody in creative came up to him, it might have been Bruce Prichard and said that Undertaker wanted to work with him. Randy was happy about that.

Randy spoke about how The Undertaker’s streak wasn’t a thing yet even though Taker was 12-0 at WrestleMania. A clip aired of Randy telling Taker he would be 12-1 at WrestleMania and he slapped Taker, which drew a big reaction. Taker said that it had to be a good slap as Taker told the story about how that slap was going to set this whole thing off. Randy said he needed to piss off the fans in some way, shape or form. They also had Sam Roberts as a talking head speaking about how the reason why he’s loved Randy for a long time is that when he comes on television to let you know that he’s the scum of the Earth, there’s not a moment where you don’t believe him. They showed Randy dropping Stacy Keibler, Randy’s on-screen girlfriend, with an RKO. Prichard spoke about how Randy knew how to be an asshole. Randy said he was comfortable being a price, a bad guy and a heel in the wrestling business. Randy said it’s what he felt comfortable doing obviously.

Analysis: They didn’t cover it in-depth here, but it was late 2004 when Randy turned face after Evolution turned on him. That lasted into early 2005, which is when he hit the RKO on Stacy and confronted Undertaker to set up the WrestleMania 21 match.

WrestleMania 21: The Undertaker beats Randy Orton

Taker said that everybody was nervous at WrestleMania. Taker said that for even a young guy who’s so poised like Orton, he delivered on the grandest stage of all. Orton said that they had a little surprise at WrestleMania 21. It was Orton’s dad Bob Orton hitting Undertaker with the cast on the left hand after a referee bump. Orton spoke about his dad’s legendary cast at WrestleMania 1, people remembered that, so they thought they would have Bob come out there to hit Taker with the cast. Randy said what was special about that was that he got to work with his dad.

Bob Orton Jr. was on the documentary talking about how he got to work with his dad (also a wrestler) for a little bit when he first started. Bob said that he was blessed to work with Randy. Taker talked about how Bob Orton one of the greatest heels of all time that was a classic, tough guy, chickenshit heel. Randy said that he saw his dad smile as much as he has ever seen him because his dad was doing what he loved better than most anybody. Anyway, that led to a huge nearfall with a huge reaction.

Taker spoke about how that was the moment everybody was waiting for in his matches when he would sit back up and he was coming for his opponent. The fans knew it. Randy spoke about the RKO spot, Taker went for a Chokeslam and Randy turned it into a RKO. Randy said that’s why his finisher matters, it’s why fans chant “RKO” whether he’s a good guy or a bad guy and one of the forefathers of helping Randy get that move over was The Undertaker. That led to another great nearfall. Taker said that Randy understood the storytelling, he understood the small things that mean so much and it ties everything in so well together. Randy went for a Tomsbtone piledriver, Undertaker countered it into one of his own and Undertaker got the win. (Read my WrestleMania 21 review here. I rated Undertaker vs. Orton at ***1/2 out of five.)

Analysis: That Orton counter of the Chokeslam is one of my favorite RKO’s ever because it looked so unique. The match was very good, but it’s not like they “stole the show” or anything like that when there was the Angle vs. Michaels match on that show. There was also a WWE Untold episode about Kurt Angle and Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 21 that I reviewed right here.

SummerSlam 2005: Randy Orton beats The Undertaker thanks to some help

Randy said that it was on to SummerSlam 2005, so they figured they had to use his dad again. Randy spoke about how a few years prior they had a makeup artist come in and made up Eric Bischoff and he looked great. Nobody knew it was Bischoff. Fast forward a few years and they had Randy’s dad sitting in the crowd. Bob talked about how it was brand new stuff for him, it was like being in the movies and it was great. During the SummerSlam 2005 match, Undertaker hit a Chokeslam and a “fan” went into the ring. Randy commented that he could have done a better makeup job, his 3-year-old daughter could have done better and Taker laughed about how awful the makeup job was. After the distraction with the “fan” exiting the ring, Orton hit the RKO and got the pinfall win. They pulled the makeup off to reveal it was Cowboy Bob with Orton saying it wasn’t a big deal like the Bischoff thing because everybody knew it was Cowboy Bob. Randy: “So if that makeup artist is watching right now, thanks for fu**king nothing.” (Read my SummerSlam 2005 review here. I rated Orton vs. Undertaker at **1/4 out of five. Not great, but decent enough to keep the feud going.)

No Mercy 2005 Casket Match: Randy and Bob Orton defeated The Undertaker

The producer goes to Undertaker: “Casket Match, you’ve done it more than anybody.” Taker: “Ya think?” That was funny.

Taker spoke about the story of the match where you had to incapacitate them enough to put them into a casket. Orton noted it was his first Casket Match and he was in there with Undertaker, who was the master of the match. Taker spoke about the 2 on 1 story as we got a clip of the Orton’s taking advantage including a double superplex spot. That was a move that Bob made famous and Randy has used his whole career.

Taker spoke about how it was not a typical Bob Orton Jr. look since Bob was wrestling in jeans and a long shirt with buttons on it. Taker laughed about it. Bob laughed about wearing a shirt to covering up the belly. Taker said that Bob could have wore tighter jeans while adding that he didn’t want to get beat up by a guy that looked like he was about to mow the lawn. Anyway, the numbers game led to the Ortons getting the advantage with Randy hitting a steel chair shot to knock Taker into the casket and the Ortons closed the casket to win the match.

Randy talked about how they had to light the “son of a b**ch” on fire meaning the casket. That led to Randy using an ax to cut open the top part of the casket and Bob brought out some gasoline. Randy poured the gasoline all over the casket as Orton realized his boots up to his knees were soaked in kerosene. Orton said that there were guys nearby with fire extinguishers thinking that they might use them on Randy since he had kerosene/gasoline on his boots. Bruce Prichard said he was standing at the barricade to run in and grab Randy to try to stop him to slip him another lighter. Then Randy managed to get the lighter to work, the casket was on fire and Randy commented that he stepped back just in the nick of time. Orton said it missed the tips of his toes by an inch or two. Taker said that those are the kind of moments that people remember forever. Taker said that the fans knew that there would be hell to pay when Taker came back. (Read my review of No Mercy 2005 here. I rated that match at **1/2 out of five. Just an average match, but a big angle after it.)

Randy spoke about how after the Casket Match, The Undertaker went away for a few weeks while Orton went on to Survivor Series. Randy got the win for his team with a RKO on Shawn Michaels. The Smackdown locker room celebrated the win and that’s when The Undertaker made his return. (Read my Survivor Series 2005 review here.)

They showed the clip of The Undertaker emerging from a casket, which was lit on fire. Taker said he could hear the crowd, he was ready to go and he hit the door and it was just for a second, but he could feel a big ball of fire. Taker went down to the ring, the fans were going nuts and Taker beat up the Smackdown roster in the ring.

A clip was shown of September 16, 2005 on Smackdown when the Orton family brought out a casket. Undertaker was about to slam Randy into a casket, but there was an Undertaker mannequin in the casket. Sam Roberts talked about how they were going over the top with it and it worked. Randy was in the ring speaking about mind games while the real Undertaker was in a casket (when the Ortons thought it was a fake Taker) and Randy got his ass kicked.

They showed the November 29, 2005 episode of Smackdown with Randy hitting an RKO on Taker. Randy attacked Taker with a tire iron, so Taker was on the back of a low rider car. Randy told the story about how they taped Smackdown back then, he started the car and he flooded the engine. Randy said a stunt coordinator told him to “lay off the gas” repeatedly. Randy got it to start, so then he did one of the craziest stunts he was ever involved in. Randy reversed the car, he had to keep it straight and make sure it was going fast enough and then he reversed the car into the part of the set to knock it down. Randy said they had a couple of inches on each side of the set that had to put that low rider through. Taker said that you stop thinking about bad things happening and you think about making a moment. Randy: “What would Vince say…it was good shit.”

Analysis: I remember that spot. It was yet another moment in this feud where they did an explosive style angle to weaken Undertaker again while getting Randy more heat in the feud.

Armageddon 2005 Hell in a Cell Match: The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton

Taker talked about how this was a long angle and there was some really good stuff on the way to this match. Taker reminded Randy that he was facing a pissed off Undertaker, so Randy had to tell the audience that with this facial expressions. In other words, they had to be really serious going into the Hell in a Cell match. This was their fourth PPV match in 2005 and the only time they were in the main event.

Randy talked about how there’s a lot of legends in WWE, but there’s something special about The Undertaker’s legend. Randy said he thinks of respect when he thinks about Taker. Taker commented that you’re always competing against your opponent and internally he’s thinking he’ll make the guy look good, but he knows Randy wanted to show where he was going to be in the business. Taker said that what makes matches so great is that internal competition. Taker said that he’ll be safe, but he’ll be snug and said since it was Hell in a Cell, the “violence had to be violent.”

Randy mentioned Taker grabbing a chair while Randy was on the floor and Taker told him that receipt is coming now. Randy was like “okay, f**k, what am I supposed to about that, right?” They showed the vicious Taker chair shot to the head and Randy said that Taker took care of him while anybody else would hit him as hard as they could. Randy said that the lesson was your number one priority needs to be that you take care of your opponent. Randy was bleeding after that (after a blade job, which they don’t mention it).

Randy talked about there was an adrenaline rush when you were busted open in a match like that. Randy said he might sound like a “f**king lunatic” but the boys in the business would understand. Taker said that if you use an object, then you have to use it. Taker said if you’re going to hit somebody then you gotta hit them because that’s the business that they chose. There were more highlights shown of the match with both wrestlers bleeding.

Taker talked about how Randy had such unbelievable instincts and understands who he is. Taker said that Randy doesn’t waste movement. Randy said that you had to come up with original stuff to do at Hell in a Cell. Randy said that being stuck in the cage with Taker was enough of a story for people to be tuned in for 30 minutes. Taker said that you perform for the fans, but you also want to perform for the guy you’re working with. They showed the spot where referee Nick Patrick bumped and he was bleeding, so was Cowboy Bob Orton and Taker talked about how Cowboy Bob loosened up as the story went on. Bob saved his son from a pin attempt by punching referee Charles Robinson. Bob said he was in “hog heaven” being part of the match.

Analysis: There were four guys that did blade jobs in the match: Randy, Undertaker, Bob Orton Jr. and referee Nick Patrick. You don’t see that anymore.

Randy said that there was one move that didn’t get reversed a lot. Randy mentioned when Taker picked you up for the Tombstone, chances are you are taking that piledriver. Randy hit his own version of the Tombstone and I remember it didn’t look smooth, but Taker got his arms down to take the bump. Randy said that normally the only person hitting that piledriver is Undertaker (or Kane) while noting it’s a rule, but Taker trusts Orton. Taker said it was strange when somebody gave him his finish and he knew that he was inches away from something catastrophic happening. Taker said it’s an odd feeling because all these years, he hasn’t taken very many of them. Taker kicked out of that cover and Randy noted that Taker whipped his ass after that. Taker said that fans reacted like you shouldn’t Tombstone The Undertaker like that.

Taker blocked a RKO attempt and then Taker gave Bob a Tombstone piledriver. That led to Taker hitting the Tombstone on Randy for the pinfall win in a match that went about 30 minutes. (Read my review of Armageddon 2005 right here. I rated it **** out of five, so that was their best match together.)

Analysis: From my Armageddon review: “There was a big story surrounding Bob Orton Jr., who had Hepatitis C and didn’t make WWE, and especially The Undertaker, aware of it. The reason that is significant is because if you bleed when you have Hepatitis C and your blood mixes with somebody else, that person could get Hepatitis C too. That means that Bob could have passed on his Hepatitis C to somebody else. Undertaker was apparently furious about it with good reason. Anyway, it was a big deal at the time, but thankfully there was no issue during the match. Bob wasn’t used again after this and was released from his WWE contract in February 2006.” This wasn’t mentioned at all, but I know some people reading this might think about it, so that’s why I bring it up.

After the match, Taker tossed the urn on top of the cell. Taker climbed up to the cell and he posed for the fans. Taker noted that wasn’t planned, but he thought it was icing on the cake and the exclamation point to end the story.

Randy said that sometimes he talks with his dad about being blessed as father and son to work with that kind of talent. Randy said that the older he gets, the more he looks back and realize he was very lucky.

Bruce Prichard said that Randy Orton is the guy. Bruce said that Randy is the best from the veteran’s standpoint right now that can make anybody, make himself and make it look easy and effortless.

Randy said he’s got a little side story here that doesn’t show him in a good light, but he was a 24 and a “little bit of a prick back then.” Randy said that they had the Hall of Fame and WrestleMania. The day of the Hall of Fame that morning, they had a rehearsal with his father, John Laurinaitis (their agent), Ricky Steamboat (their agent), referee Mike Chioda and The Undertaker. Another man was supposed to be there and it was him, but he got into a little bit of trouble the night before, so he didn’t get much sleep. Randy said this was his second WrestleMania, he was 24, he was given the world, his dad was there, Taker was there and he got there as they were finishing up. Randy said he worked with Undertaker for a year, but it all started off with him missing rehearsal for the biggest match of the year. Randy said that a lot of people had opinions about him earlier in his career, but nobody considered himself more of an asshole than Randy did. Randy thanked Taker for not bitching him out after Randy missed that rehearsal. Randy said that’s probably one of his biggest regrets in the business – letting those men down that night. Randy said that now as a husband, father and 40-year-old man, he sees how wrong that was. Randy added when he’s in the locker room now talking to the current talent, he thinks back and he knows that without Undertaker, none of this would have ever happened.

Analysis: It was really cool to hear Randy tell that story and admit to his mistakes when he was younger. Yes, Randy had a reputation for being an asshole and he let people down in the company, but there are also a lot of people that did stupid shit in their lives. Randy learned from it. He became a better person.

The Undertaker said that he was handed a gift when Vince McMahon gave him that character. Taker said that he recognizes the importance of the character and it was humbling. Taker talked about how before he got to WWE, he was told nobody would pay to see him wrestle. Taker said that he wrestled men, he wrestled their sons. He was speaking about his longevity.

The Undertaker: “How blessed can you be to do something that you enjoy so much for so long and still be here and be able to talk about it? I’ve led a very blessed life over the last 30 years and I take nothing for granted.” The end.

This episode of WWE Untold had a runtime of 43:49 on WWE Network.

Final Thoughts

This was really good just like every WWE documentary that airs. I like the WWE Untold series because it allows the talent to speak about moments from the past whether it was 15 years ago in this case or even longer in other cases.

I don’t think this Undertaker/Orton rivalry was legendary in terms of providing fans with all-time great matches that we’re going to remember forever. However, it was very important in the career of Randy Orton because it elevated him since he showed he was capable of keeping up with The Undertaker in several big matches. Randy was always better as a heel, so when you matched him up with a long term babyface like The Undertaker it was a natural rivalry. Yes, the older guy Undertaker won in the end, but at least Randy got to beat him twice and I think it’s fair to say that Randy became a bigger star after this rivalry because he showed the fans that he could hang in there with a legend like Undertaker.

It’s a rivalry that truly benefitted both guys. The Undertaker got to show that he could compete with the younger guy while Orton earned a lot of respect for being a great bad guy. I think both guys have had better rivalries with other wrestlers. However, this was a successful feud that was a key part of the Smackdown brand in 2005. I’m glad they were able to share some behind the scenes stories and give their perspectives as well.

I have reviewed previous episodes of WWE Untold as well:

* The Champ is HeRe (Cena vs. Edge 2006 feud)

* I Am The Game (Triple H vs. Mick Foley 2000)

* Angle vs. HBK (WrestleMania 21 in 2005)

* Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon at King of the Ring 2001

* Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan)

* That’s Gotta Be Kane (Kane’s Debut at Badd Blood 1997)

* Rey, Eddie and The Rumble

There have been other episodes, but I have not reviewed them all.


That’s where I’ll wrap it up. Thanks for reading!

John Canton


Twitter: @johnreport