Randy Orton is a veteran Superstar in WWE, having worked in the company for almost two decades. He is also currently a well-respected locker room leader, but it seems there was a chance he might not have even joined WWE.
Before he was signed to WWE, Randy Orton enlisted with the Marines. During his time there, Orton received a bad conduct discharge after being absent without official leave on two separate occasions. He also spent thirty-eight days in military prison.
Vince McMahon saw this as a problem as revealed by Jim Ross on his Grilling JR podcast. Ross noted that Vince McMahon did not want to sign Orton to a contract because Orton’s past was an issue for McMahon.
Ultimately, Ross had to convince McMahon to give Randy Orton a chance by reminding him of his own past.
“He 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. 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 spent two years in WWE’s developmental brand Ohio Valley Wrestling and made his debut on Friday Night Smackdown in 2002. Orton went on to become a 14-time World Champion in WWE.