Explaining Why Randy Orton Is Called The Legend Killer

Hamish Woodward

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Randy Orton Legend Killer

Randy Orton is currently near the end of his career and could be set to retire in the near future.

His injuries have worsened and his career could be close to hanging up his boots for the final time. This has given us time to reflect on the legendary career of Randy Orton and look back on some of his greatest moments.

When thinking about his career, which has seen 14 world championships and numerous classic moments, we cannot look over his legendary “Legend Killer” Gimmick.

The persona saw him targeting legends left and right, destroying them on a whim and solidifying himself as one of the top heels in the entire company in his early 20s.

In this article, we’ll look at why Randy Orton is called the Legend Killer and which legends he has killed during his time in WWE.

After his return to the WWE at Survivor Series 2023, Randy Orton looks to have a few more years in the WWE.

This could lead to a return of his “Legend Killer” gimmick, but in reverse. He will become the legend who needs to be killed, coming full circle in his incredible career.

Why Is Randy Orton Called The Legend Killer

Randy Orton is called the Legend Killer because his gimmick from 2003-2007 involved him beating various legends, both in the ring and in backstage segments.

In various segments, the third-generation superstar targeted various former wrestlers, including the likes of Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes and Harley Race, among many, many others.

The first time he was named as The Legend Killer was during the September 15, 2003 episode of Monday Night Raw.

Then still an up-and-coming young star, with a poor reputation backstage but with tons of potential, he was still trying to find his feet in the WWE.

He was looking for a gimmick to stick his teeth into and he found that with the help of a WWE Hall of Famer.

The then-23 year old superstar introduced himself to The Fabulous Moolah during the episode of Raw.

Blatantly disrespecting the former WWE Women’s Champion, he introduced himself for the first time ever as the Legend Killer before hitting her with his signature finishing move – a jumping cutter called the RKO.

This devastating move took the 80-year-old Moolah completely by surprise as he head came crashing to the mat with all of Orton’s bodyweight dragging it down.

The action was so heinous that the audience were stunned into silence before unloading a chorus of boos toward Randy Orton.

On that day, The Legend Killer was born and would begin one of the greatest heel runs in the history of WWE.

He went on to battle with Shawn Michaels in his first big Legend vs Legend Killer match before moving on to a host of other WWE Hall of Famers and wrestling icons.

His most famous “killing” attempt was his feud with The Undertaker going into Wrestlemania 21 and beyond. The feud lasted for several months and in a number of match types, including casket and Hell in a Cell.

He was even chosen to end The Undertaker’s streak at Wrestlemania, an honor he turned down for various reasons.

Another underrated match in his run was a Texas Bull rope match against Dusty Rhodes at the Great American Bash 2007, one of Dusty’s last matches in his career.

Which Legends Did Randy Orton Kill

The list of legends that Randy Orton wrestled or attacked during his “Legend Killer” run between 2003 and 2007 include;

  • Fabulous Moolah
  • Shawn Michaels
  • Harley Race
  • Mick Foley
  • Triple H
  • Hulk Hogan
  • Dusty Rhodes
  • Sgt. Slaughter
  • Jerry Lawler
  • Vince McMahon
  • Ric Flair
  • The Undertaker

He has faced a number of legends and can boast that he has beaten all he faced, except for his match against Hulk Hogan at Summerslam 2006.

This match saw the legend beat the legend killer in a result that nobody saw coming and would turn out to be Hogan’s last ever match in the WWE.

Despite the loss to Hogan, Randy Orton’s Legend Killer gimmick is still one of the most iconic in WWE history.

After losing to “The Hulkster”, Randy Orton beat Dusty Rhodes in a Texas Bull rope match at the Great American Bash 2007, which also happened to be Dusty Rhodes’ last match in the WWE.

While he abandoned the gimmick before taking the WWE Championship from an injured John Cena in 2007, he rekindled his relationship with a variety of legends in 2020.

He attacked stars like Big Show, Christian and Ric Flair in one of the best runs in his career, showing that even an aged Orton is one of the best wrestlers in the world.

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