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.
While speaking on the Grilling JR Podcast, Jim Ross revealed that Vince McMahon didn’t want to sign Randy Orton at first as he had issues with Orton leaving the Marines.
Ultimately, Ross had to convince McMahon to give Randy Orton a chance by reminding him of his own past.
*Every recruiting story is different. I had a hard sell to get Randy Orton hired because of his negative exit from the Marines, and Vince, being a strong patriot, didn’t like how that worked out with Randy in the military. I said, ‘Didn’t you get a second chance, [Vince]? Well, what’s the difference with this kid? He’s third generation. If he hits, look what we have. If he doesn’t hit, I can get rid of him in 90 days notice. What do we have to lose?’
He’s going to end his career as one of the greatest talents. Hall of Famer, no doubt, but also going to be regarded by his peers as one of the greatest in-ring workers. It worked out well.”
Orton spent two years in WWE’s developmental brand Ohio Valley Wrestling and made his debut on Friday Night Smackdown in 2002 and eventually went on to become a 14-time World Champion in WWE.
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the quotes.
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