After seeing the movie “The Marine”, many fans asked whether or not John Cena was in the marines. While his involvement was limited to just being in the movie, another WWE star actually has experience as part of the prestigious branch of the military. Randy Orton spent time in The Marines before he joined the WWE and has real-world experience of one of the toughest parts of the United States military.
However, his time in the military ended in disaster. He was dishonourably discharged from the Marine Corps and expelled from the institution, before being handed a lifeline by the WWE and becoming one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. However, a black cloud of a dishonourable discharge hung over him and even him a movie role. But why was Randy Orton dishonourably discharged from the Marines?
Randy Orton In The Marines
After graduating high school in 1998, Randy Orton did not know what to do. He was not the best academically and did not see himself getting a real job. His father and grandfather were both professional wrestlers, with his dad Bob Orton taking part in the main event of Wrestlemania 1.
However, a career in wrestling was not his first choice. He was steered away from the business of professional wrestling by his parents, who warned him that life as a wrestler meant extended time away from his family. He warned him that life on the road was hard, something Orton will have known having grown up with a father in the wrestling business.
So, following his parents wishes Randy Orton did not immediately join the WWE. Instead he signed up the US Military, joining the United States Marine Corps at the age of 18. He didn’t want to go to college so instead decided to be a Marine, one of the toughest jobs in the army.
He spent 13 weeks in boot camp, which the Legend Killer described as “hell”. Stories that have been told about training for the Marines have made it sound exactly that. However, it had to be tough, as only the best of the best of the best graduate and become fully-fledged Marines, to separate the men from the boys.
During his time in the Marine’s, Randy Orton was dishonourably discharged for going AWOL for 82 days. While details of his disappearance were scarce, he spoke about this time in his life during episode 5 of the WWE Evil series.
The 14 time WWE Champion spoke about now wanting to go to college so instead joining the US Army. Here, he called the boot camp “hell” and that he saw “things that I didn’t want to deal with”. Those things have not been revealed and Orton refuses to discuss the things he saw that made him go AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave).
He left for 82 days before seeing sense and turning himself in. He spent 45 days in military prison before being dishonourably discharged. This turned out to be the best thing for him, as he would later sign for WWE and become one of the all-time greats in the company.
“I definitely didn’t want to go to college. And, in my case, I chose The Marine Corp. I went through, I believe it was 12 or 13 weeks of h*ll. USM Sea Boot camp. Boot camp s*cked. The atmosphere that I was put in had a lot of negative aspects of it that I’ll never go into in public but I was seeing things that I didn’t want to deal with, things I didn’t sign up for. So, I left. I went AWOL for about 82 days. Turned myself in and I ended up serving, I think I was sentenced to 45 days to the Camp Pendleton base brig military prison.”
He Lost A Movie Role Due To His Army Past
WWE cast Randy Orton as the least in “The Marine 3”, the third instalment of the movie first lead by John Cena. He was to play a former Marine in the movie, although due to his controversy in service, soldiers who were in camp with Orton objected to the decision and were “disgusted” by the decision.
Corporal Mike Vinn, who was with Orton in boot camp, was furious when he found out Orton was going to be starring in the movie as a Marine. Speaking to TMZ, he said;
I am disgusted that his face and the word Marine are being used next to each other — real or fake — because of the fact that he quit us, the country, and the Marine Corps. [Randy] in the role of a Marine is a disgrace to those that have worn and are wearing that uniform.”
The controversy was too much for the WWE, who pulled Randy Orton from the movie. He was replaced by The Miz, who carried the franchise for the next few movies and weaved his starring role into his character as “Hollywood Miz”.
Luckily, Randy Orton being dishonourably discharged from The Marines did not affect his wrestling career and he will go down as one of the greatest of all time, and could even beat John Cena and Ric Flair’s WWE Championship record, which now stands at 16.
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.