The RKO is one of the greatest finishing moves of all time in wrestling. Innovated by Randy Orton, the WWE legend can hit the move from anywhere and at anytime and it has won him numerous championships over his career -including an astonishing 14 world champions. But who invented the RKO? Did Randy Orton copy the RKO from somebody else?
With Randy Orton potentially retiring due to injury, who will carry on the incredible legacy of the RKO?
Who Invented The RKO?
Randy Orton revealed he thought up the idea for the RKO and dreamt up the name on the day he told Vince McMahon he wanted to use the cutter and simply used his initials for the name (his full name is Randall Keith Orton).
Speaking to WWE Magazine for the December 2006 edition of the publication, Randy Orton said.
“Three or four years ago, when I first came up with it, Vince told me he wanted a name for it by the end of the day. RKO are my initials. What can I say– I was pressed for time! I had a good vertical leap, so I figured I’d incorporate that into my move. The first night I planned on using it, I broke my foot. So during my time off from the ring, I watched Diamond Dallas Page and Johnny Ace tapes to learn how to fine tune it. When I first used it during a match, I had never practiced it before.”
He admitted in the interview that Randy Orton did not invent the RKO. He noted that he was not the first man to use the cutter as a finisher, but added a jump to the cutter to add a slight difference to the move. It was first invented by former WWE Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis, who wrestled in Japan as Johnny Ace, He was also inspired by DDP, who used the Diamond Cutter in WCW.
Johnny Ace invented the cutter and christened it the Ace Crusher in 1987. Speaking to WWEClassics.com, the former wrestlers said;
“ The RKO, or as I call it, the Ace Crusher, was invented back in 1987,” the onetime Johnny Ace told WWEClassics.com. “I was a young kid training and Barry Windham said to me, ‘Why don’t you do a front face neckbreaker as a move? When I first hit it, the crowd cheered and then went into an awe, because they’d never seen a move like that before,”
There have been a number of fantastic RKO’s over the last 20 years and everyone has their own favourite. However, the ones usually cited as being the most brilliant as either the RKO onto the Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania 32, or the incredible Shooting-Star Press into RKO on Evan Bourne on an episode of Monday Night Raw.
Randy Orton is currently injured and may be forced to retire. Matt Riddle, his tag team partner, has co-opted the move and named it the RK-Bro, carrying on the Legend Killer‘s legacy by using the move.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.