Undertaker had WrestleMania with his whopping 23-2 win streak, Brock Lesnar is the king of SummerSlam, only losing once on the PPV. Some could say that Stone Cold had Royal Rumble(though it's arguable), but what certainly isn't arguable is that Survivor Series is Randy Orton's show.
Randy Orton has gotten a bad rap this year since WrestleMania for being stale. It is undoubtedly true that his creative direction and character have been relatively stale over the past few months, but there are a few reasons for that as well.
His feud with Jinder didn't exactly set the world on fire, and on Edge & Christian's podcast, The Viper admitted that he was bored of playing a babyface character. That likely explains why he hasn't been putting in the level of effort as one of SmackDown Live's top babyfaces.
However, one thing WWE fans know is that a motivated Randy Orton is the best Randy Orton. And Survivor Series is the best time to be a Randy Orton fan. Here are 5 instances to prove just that:
#5 Team Bischoff vs Team Austin (Survivor Series 2003)
2003 was one year into Randy Orton's career, and The Legend Killer was still finding his stride. Mind you, this was one month before he would embark on a 7-month Intercontinental Championship run.
Randy Orton was a part of Evolution and he was chosen as one of the five to represent Team Bischoff against Team Austin. The stipulation of the match was that if Team Austin lost, RAW co-General Manager "Stone Cold" Steve Austin would be forced to leave WWE for good.
At the end, it was team Bischoff who prevailed, and the young upstart in Randy Orton experienced his first taste of Survivor Series success, being the sole survivor of his team after pinning Shawn Michaels.
It was an unclean victory since Batista came in and hit the Batista bomb on a distracted Shawn Michaels, but it helped keep the heat alive and was the beginning of Randy Orton's Survivor Series dominance.
#4 Team Orton vs Team Triple H (Survivor Series 2004)
It was a year after Randy's first Survivor Series and things were drastically different this time around. Orton had just split from Evolution after they turned on him and had also won his first World Championship a few months prior to that, becoming the youngest World Champion in WWE history — a record he still holds.
Randy Orton teamed up with Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Maven to take on the team of Triple H, Batista, Edge & Gene Snitsky. However, it turned into a handicap match for the most part as Snitsky had taken out Maven prior to the match. Maven didn't appear in the match until much later.
Orton didn't get much of a reaction at first and it was the initial sign that his babyface turn wasn't working as WWE had hoped.
For the stipulation of the match, RAW was at stake. If the babyfaces of Team Orton won, one of the team members would get to control RAW the next night. Chris Benoit was the one who would end up taking control the following night.
Through the match, Randy seemed to be very unnatural as a babyface and showed his cocky heel tendencies.
One of the memorable moments of the match was when Benoit took Suplex City to team Triple H, 11-years before Suplex City was even a thing.
Orton had the odds stacked against him towards the end with a 2-on-1 situation against Edge and Triple H.
After Edge accidentally speared Triple H, Orton hit an RKO on the Rated-R Superstar and pinned Edge, making it one-on-one. For the first time in the match, the entire arena chanted "RKO". The finish of the match saw Orton hit an RKO Outta Nowhere on the then-World Champion Triple H, becoming the sole survivor for the second year in a row.
#3 Team RAW vs Team SmackDown (Survivor Series 2005)
Team SmackDown had a far more impressive team, but this match itself is more famous for the ending, where The Undertaker appeared.
Team SmackDown comprised of Randy Orton, Batista, JBL, Rey Mysterio and Bobby Lashley, while Team RAW comprised of Kane, Big Show, Carlito, Chris Masters and Shawn Michaels.
By this point, WWE started mentioning Orton building his Survivor Series résumé up, being the sole survivor of the prior two Survivor Series editions.
Orton even showed his "experience levels" so to speak, being the only one in the ring even after three members of team RAW tagged in and out. Shawn eliminated Rey Mysterio and JBL within seconds with a Sweet Chin Music on two consecutive attempts. Michaels was bumping for his opponents left and right.
The crowd started chanting "We want Taker!" towards the end of the match. Thanks to a distraction from JBL, Randy Orton was able to hit the RKO on HBK and win. The crowd was clearly crazy for Randy Orton this time around, unlike the previous year.
For the third year in a row, Randy Orton was the sole survivor. However, his celebration was cut short as The Undertaker made an epic return.
#4 Team Orton vs Team Kofi (Survivor Series 2009)
This match is undoubtedly the weakest one on the list, with the two teams being less impressive as a whole, but it's still one to remember, especially due to the ending.
Kofi Kingston was feuding with Randy Orton and was getting a big push as a babyface, even getting great crowd reactions. Kofi's team comprised of Mark Henry, MVP, himself, Christian and R-Truth against Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, CM Punk and William Regal.
Randy was over with the crowd big time despite being a vicious heel. Thanks to help from Legacy, Mark Henry was eliminated with an RKO right off the bat. This match was more to get Kofi Kingston over, and the crowd was right behind him.
The memorable ending of the match saw Kofi go 2-on-1 against Randy Orton and CM Punk, who were already former World Champions at the time. He first pinned CM Punk and then hit Trouble In Paradise on Randy Orton, pinning the two top superstars in mere seconds. The crowd pop to Kofi's victory was tremendous and the commentators were putting him over big time.
It's truly a shame that WWE didn't capitalize on it. A botch by Kofi Kingston against Randy Orton seemingly saw the end of his singles push into a possible main eventer. However, he still did end up having a decorated career and has been doing wonderfully with The New Day.
However, Xavier Woods, Big E and many WWE fans are still prying for Kofi to eventually win a World Championship. One can hope, right?
#1 Team RAW vs Team SmackDown Live (Survivor Series 2016)
This might just be the greatest traditional Survivor Series match of all time. Now I understand that it's a big statement to make, but if you've seen the match live, you'll know that this match was 53 minutes of absolute chaos.
One of the reasons why the match turned out so well is possibly because of the sheer talent on both teams. It just goes to prove how stacked today's WWE roster really is.
Team SmackDown Live comprised of AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Shane McMahon(with James Ellsworth as the mascot), while Team RAW comprised of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman.
With the two stacked teams, the Survivor Series match delivered in a huge way. Randy Orton was just a month into his storyline alliance with Bray Wyatt and at that point, things were fresh and the storyline was something very new. In fact, it was arguably the best storyline going on in WWE at the time.
From The Shield momentarily reuniting to take out AJ Styles, to Braun Strowman throwing James Ellsworth off the stage to Randy Orton hitting one of the best RKOs of his career to him eating the bullet that was a spear from Roman Reigns and then Bray Wyatt pinning Reigns clean, the match was an absolute instant classic from start to finish.
There are several moments from the match which stand out, but out of all the performers, Randy Orton truly proved to the WWE Universe in this match that he is indeed "Mr Survivor Series".
The ending of the match saw Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt as the remaining survivors for the victorious team SmackDown Live. It was emphasized on what a force Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton were together. And it's true when Bray and Randy were together, it was a delight for the WWE Universe to watch. It's a shame the storyline ended so anti-climactically, but one mustn't forget that the Orton-Wyatt storyline was thoroughly entertaining for the most part.
Randy Orton is set to be a part of team SmackDown Live for the 2017 Survivor Series team as well and one can only imagine what kind of a legendary performance The Viper is set to show us this year.
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