On this week’s episode of SmackDown, Randy Orton returned following his attack on Jeff Hardy and proceeded to cut one of the best promos of his career.
Randy Orton is cutting an absolute fire promo right now.
— Pro Wrestling Sheet (@WrestlingSheet) July 25, 2018
Praise be to the wrestling gods: heel Randy is back – and he doesn’t need any of your damn respect.
In his promo, Orton panned everyone from John Cena to Brock Lesnar to Bullet Club (as you can see in the tweet above). The 16-year veteran was even so bold as to proclaim, “Every Superstar who comes down that aisle eats at the table that I set for them.” Finally, Orton vowed to end Hardy’s career before leaving the ring without finishing his sentence because people in the audience were preempting his words.
It was brilliant. Watch the full unedited promo below.
Full disclosure: I may or may not have said “Tell ’em, Randy” multiple times as I watched that promo Tuesday night, and I’ve been a fan of Orton’s ever since I started watching WWE again in 2009. But Orton’s words were so on-the-nose that even the people he slammed were unwilling to fire back.
When a fan asked Cody Rhodes – previously of Legacy and currently of Bullet Club – to “go the f*ck off on” Orton on Twitter, Rhodes called her “crazy.”
You crazy?! Randy could call me a rat piece of sh!& and I wouldn’t care ha.
Without him I wouldn’t have cleared a million dollars by 24 without a college education. Learned a lot about wrestling from him, and pretty much everything I know about travel from him. “Ice cream” https://t.co/9oQ6E6sNNW
— Cody Rhodes (@CodyRhodes) July 25, 2018
Again: Orton doesn’t need the respect of the fans, because he already has the respect of everyone in the business.
Don’t get me wrong; I agree that, in recent years, Orton hasn’t been nearly as compelling as he was a decade ago. But, unlike other wrestlers (*cough*CM Punk*cough*), Orton never complained about what he was given. He showed up to work and played the good guy, even though he didn’t like it at all. For that, I think Orton does deserve far more respect than most fans give him.
But he certainly doesn’t need it.