Corey Graves welcomed WWE superstar Orton back onto the After The Bell podcast where the two talked about Orton’s transition from being a veteran and trying to give advice to younger talent. Orton referenced a RJ City tweet when naming the one piece of advice that he always gives.
“I haven’t been around a lot. I saw one kid,” Orton recalls. “I think his name’s RJ City, entertaining kid. I’ve never seen him wrestle, but he had something funny to say a couple weeks ago. He said, ‘why is it every old timer says the same thing to me when I ask them for advice on the business. They all say just slow down,’ and I laughed because that’s me. ‘Hey Randy. Can you watch my match?’ Sure.
“I watched the match, and then, ‘what did you see?’ And I’m like, ‘you just gotta slow down.’ Like I’m the old timer that has nothing to say other than just to slow down kid. I’ve been watching TV. I’ve been watching a lot of NXT, which I didn’t do before, and they have so many guys that are talented, but what I noticed the other day and I don’t want to bury anybody. Well I do, but I’m not.
“I saw a match between two guys that did so much cool s–t, and as I was watching it, I’m thinking, in my head, ‘aw, if they would have just let that breathe. Let the people at home get with it, but it’s hard. There’s no fans as we were talking about, but when the match is over my wife looked at me and she’s got a good eye for this s–t too. She goes, ‘they did so much cool s–t, and I can’t remember one thing specifically that they did.’ And I was like, that’s it, and it’s building to those moments and doing the cool s–t when the time is right instead of just cool s–t, cool s–t, finish.”
Graves pointed out that many of his guests that are WWE legends have said something similar like John Cena talking about the ability to “play jazz”. Orton talked about the importance of the little things in wrestling.
“You can’t think in the moment if you’re remembering 100 percent of the match, but what happened from point A to B to C, we didn’t talk about it,” Orton said. “Some people love that match (WrestleMania match with Edge). Some people hated it. Some people said it was too long. I thought it was a good story, especially considering the stuff we did prior to the ring on the stick. It felt so real to me, but you got to ad-lib out there a little bit, and I think the last time we talked it was those small things.
“The little things are what people remember, and I watched a lot of WWE Network the last couple months and caught up on a lot, watched some of my old matches that I haven’t seen in a while. It seemed like a match from 10-15 years ago and remembering like ‘oh, I remember’ like when that happened because I remembered that we slowed it down, and you just saw like a look on my face. And it’s like oh s–t that was awesome, but it wasn’t some double moonsault off a cage. It was like just a facial expression, but that’s the s–t. When you’re done and you come back through gorilla, Vince calls you over, and he gives you a thumbs up. That was great.”
Orton talked about how he would struggle to be a producer or a coach because he wouldn’t know how to teach someone something that came natural to him. He points out the generational difference of wrestlers in the past not using a superkick because Shawn Michaels’ finisher was a superkick, but now, many wrestlers use the superkick.
“I didn’t kill anybody. I didn’t kill myself, but it’s the storytelling, and it’s so hard,” Orton stated. “I feel like I’d be the worst coach in the world. People ask me, ‘when you’re done. Do you want to be an agent?’ It’s like, oh my God, no f–king way. ‘You want to open a wrestling school?’ I don’t even know how I would begin teaching somebody about this. It did come naturally to me, and then I do have a respect for it, of course, and I love doing it.
“Sometimes it’s a pain in my ass, but when it comes down to it, this is what I am, and I feel like if I could just figure out how to help these younger guys get a little better, each of them. I remember a time where no one did a superkick because that was Shawn Michaels’ superkick. I feel like there’s a superkick in every match now.”
On the same topic, Orton shared a story about RAW star Austin Theory. He said that Theory asked Orton’s permission to do a move that is similar to the RKO, Orton’s finisher. Orton talked about his reaction to Theory coming up to him and ask him for permission to do a move.
“Austin Theory, never never met him before,” Orton said. “The Corona thing just started, I was down in the PC and everyone’s staying apart. A few people have masks on, no one’s shaking hands, and Austin Theory comes up to me to shake my hand. And I kind of just look at him, and I give him a little s–t like what are you doing? I give him one of the little elbow taps, and then he laughs.
“And I could tell he was new, he was young and he was trying to not say the wrong thing, but he goes, ‘hey, I want to start doing this move,’ and it ends up in a similar position kind of like a cutter. I think he picks the guy up like a fireman’s carry spins around and does a cutter, and I was so taken back that this kid took the time and had the respect and the wherewithal to ask me if it was OK with me for him to do that. Before I could even think about what the right answer shouldn’t be I said, ‘yes. Oh my God. Are you kidding me?’ He came to me, and he asked me. I don’t know if that’s ever happened.”
Orton talked more about generational differences. He didn’t reference NXT star Tommaso Ciampa but offered a similar critique of guys doing multiple moves and working a different style than before.
“I see a lot of a lot of guys doing variations of other guys moves,” Orton noted. “That was just such a huge no-no like I feel like the way that it used to be for me, when I was at that stage, is so different now. It’s like I almost don’t know how to navigate anymore when I’m trying to help out younger talent because my advice would be don’t do anyone else’s s–t, have your own s–t. Don’t let anyone kick out of your finish. Get your top moves over. S–t like that, but now I feel like everyone needs 50 moves, and they don’t stop and it’s a race to the finish line every time.”
Orton was a highly trending topic after showing support for the Black Lives Matter movement after previously trending for saying All Lives Matter. Orton talked about his change from being what Graves described as “hard to work with” to where he is now.
“I think just getting older making mistake after mistake, being very lucky and fortunate enough to have the right guys in my corner to where I kept my job, and I was given a second, third and even fourth chance,” Orton acknowledged. “For other guys, I’m sure it wasn’t very fair. After all that happened, if the least I can do is clean up my act and give back, that’s the least I can do after all the f–king up I did throughout my career.
“Whenever I went to the ring, I would want to steal the show. I would want to have a good match, but backstage, I think sometimes I had that like false bravado like my s–t didn’t stink, and I probably wasn’t as nice to crew guys as I could have been, but when it came to the boys, I always respected the boys. I think it was it was the guy behind the counter at the Rent-A-Car place at the airport who I was d–k to.
“And I feel like that’s kind of a personal thing with me. Like I’ve always kind of had a little bit of an authority problem. I think mainly having kids, growing older and you get wiser with age. I think that’s one of the main reasons why I straightened up. It feels good to give back to the business that’s given me so much.”
Orton defeated Edge at Sunday’s WWE Backlash pay-per-view in what was billed as “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.” Full WWE Backlash results are here.
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit WWE After The Bell with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.