WWE Network Review: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions – Randy Orton

This episode of The Broken Skull Sessions with Stone Cold Steve Austin features “The Viper” Randy Orton. It premiered this past Sunday on Peacock/WWE Network and is available on-demand now.

The interview begins with Orton saying he thought Austin did not like him which is why they did not chat as much. However, Austin denied this, saying he was leaving the business as Orton started which is why they did not cross paths as much. Orton would tell Austin he ate the Stone Cold Stunner better than anyone else (cc: The Rock). Austin would give a Broken Skull IPA to Orton before asking how his life is going. Orton answered that he is happy with his life right and is fortunate to be in the position he is after all the up and down he has experienced. The most important thing for him in life is to make sure his wife and kids are the happiest. Austin spoke about being a fan of his father, Bob Orton, and being high on Orton’s work lately. Orton says his promos were mediocre since he would concentrate more on the in-ring stuff, even recalling a time when Austin criticized his promos back in 2003. Orton says that Austin was right and reveals it was only a year ago that he realized how important promos were. He explains that his promos are better now because he understands the importance of delivery and feeling it. Talking about Orton’s family history in wrestling, Randy says he was not a wrestling fan until his junior year in high school. To him, wrestling was just his father’s job and did not have the confidence to follow in his footsteps. Not wanting to go to college and no interest in professional sports, Randy went into the Marines. He talked about his experience in the Marines, which started well but went downhill after being on the fleet. Leaving the Marines, Orton worked at a nearby gas station until he decided to ask his father to join the business.

Randy would fly up to Stanford for a workout with Dr. Tom Prichard. After a successful tryout, Orton would receive a developmental deal to OWV. He recalls Dave Batista opening the door for him when he went to OVW. Months later, Orton would be one of the first to be called up with Lesnar. He talked about a time while driving with Lesnar who said he could not believe they got paid to wrestle. Orton says he got the basics but it was not until being set up with Triple H and Flair. For HHH/Flair, he says they taught him the little things that the fans might not see. He learned so much riding with those two. Looking back at a match against Taker on Smackdown, he appreciates Taker taking bumps for him. Orton says working with Taker was how lucky and blessed he was. After the match, Vince was mad at Taker for bumping Orton which he says it’s a full-circle thing to build the business. On his time in Evolution, Orton says he was coming back from an injury. One day during practice, he was selling a Figure Four Leglock when notice HHH watching him. Afterward, HHH had the idea to create the stable which would include Orton. At the time, Randy admits he did not understand the scope of what was happening. He called Flair his “road dad” and says he learned a lot from HHH. On the subject of heat in the locker room, Orton knew he got heat for joining Evolution. He remembers a time where the boys called him to have breakfast with them but instead chose to have it with Hunter. On the origins of RKO, Orton says he was doing the Overdrive finisher but it was affecting his shoulder. It was not until Johnny Ace aka John Lauritinis told him to do the Ace Cutter. The first person to take the RKO was The Hurricane and the name of his finisher came from his initials which Vince approved of. On his Legend Killer gimmick, Orton did not remember who came up with the idea but believes it was probably Mick Foley. To him, The Legend Killer gimmick gave him an identity other than being a third-generation or Bob Orton’s son. Looking back at his Hardcore match against Mick Foley at Backlash 2004, Austin believes that match changed how people viewed the young superstar and created a buzz for him. Orton agreed with that.

After winning the World Heavyweight Championship at 24, Austin asked if he was ready to hold the championship. The Viper admits not being ready to hold the title at the time, with Austin adding that defending the title is different from going after it. To go from heel to babyface, Orton felt like he had to do a complete 180 which he says screwed himself. They then talk about facing The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 21 which Orton says was the beginning of his self-destruction that lasted until 2007. He says working with Taker at that time was one he would want to do over especially about the time he missed rehearsals before their match. He remembers the disappointment from his father and the legends and also not having anything written for his father’s Hall of fame introduction. A year later, he would be part of a triple threat match at Wrestlemania 22, only to be suspended two days later. He says during the 60-day suspension, he did get help but still was not right. It was not until 2007 while working with Edge and Cena where he got out of the funk. On Rated RKO, Orton says working with Edge was great because The Rated R Superstar would help pick up where he was lacking and thought of him as a big brother. They then spoke about his motorcycle accident in 2008 where he was already out with a broken clavicle. He was riding on his motorcycle when he got cut off, hit the gravel, and rebroke his clavicle. On the subject of injuries, Orton says he is now more in tune with his body and wants to wrestle for another decade. For him, it’s about longevity, and does not want to branch off to other endeavors like others.

On his 2011 rivalry with Christian, Orton credits Captain Charisma as one of the best creative minds in the business. At the time of their rivalry, he learned how to merge his heel and babyface personalities. Talking about John Cena, Austin says Orton and the 16-time World Champion might have wrestled too many times. Orton says he learned a lot from Cena, especially with helping him realize to listen to the crowd reaction. He says they were able to have fun and learn to be in control of the crowd. Speaking of Cena, he tweeted about the interview as well.

Fast forward to 2020 when Edge returns, we see a clip of the promo between Orton and Beth Phoenix. Orton says before he went out, he talked about speaking to Vince to allow him to tell his own story with Edge. He remembers seeing people in the crowd applaud him for the promo and knew he had to put more heart into it. After the promo, he received a handshake from Vince who told him that was his Oscar moment. Orton would then thank Austin for being truthful about his promos. As for his Wrestlemania match with Edge and working with no crowd, Orton says it did not feel like Wrestlemania. However, for him and Edge, they had a roadmap for their match and the story was already told. On their match at Backlash, Orton did not know where the idea of the “The Greatest Match Ever” tagline came from but says it is was one of his favorites. Speaking about Drew McIntyre, Orton says he had no interest in being in the ring with him. However, over time McIntyre grew on him and has gotten to know him better. He knows he loves this business and says McIntyre is good in his book.

On winning his 14th World Championship, it meant everything to him. He also threw out the idea of a storyline where he and Cena are tied and will have a tiebreaker match with Flair as the special guest referee. Orton says he has a newfound respect for the business, especially with his father paving his way and now it’s time to give back. After winning the title, McIntrye told Orton he did more for him in the business than any other which made him feel good. He says he is having fun working with the young guys as Taker and Flair did at their stage.

When asked what’s left, Orton said he is happy with the business side, and could not see himself not involved with WWE. His satisfaction is giving back to the business as Taker did for him. Looking back at his career, when asked if he would do anything differently in his career, Orton answered he would not because it is how he got here. As for advice to the current generation, Orton says for them to trust their instincts. The Broken Skull Session ends with Orton and Austin taking one more shot of Jack Daniels.

It had a runtime of 1 hour, 44 minutes.

Aneil’s Take: I thought this was a great candid, honest interview with Randy Orton. I felt like he was open and honest about his answers and seem genuinely happy where he is at in life right now. As for a few takeaways from this interview, the first for me is the subject of his promos. To me, I never felt like his promos were mediocre but then again, he was not on the level of guys like Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, or CM Punk. It was surprising to hear him admit that it was only recently that he understood how important promos were this late into his career. Also, you could tell how grateful Orton is to be in the position he is right now especially with all the issues he had earlier in his career. At 40 years old, it was interesting to hear him say he wants to continue wrestling for another ten years.

I do think they did miss an opportunity to talk a few moments like his Legacy stable, getting busted open by Brock Lesnar, and his run in 2013 against Daniel Bryan. The major takeaway for me is knowing that Orton seems to be in a good place in his life and enjoying the business. Early in his career, Orton got in a lot of trouble because of his behavior, but you can tell he’s matured a lot. He is focused on giving back to business by helping the next generation of talent just like Undertaker did for him and wanting to be here for years to come.

Please follow me on Twitter @realdealaneil for wrestling news and conversations!