Randy Orton may portray a ruthless figure in WWE on-screen, but behind the scenes, he was reportedly very hesitant to spit in the face of wrestling legend Harley Race.
During his run as The Legend Killer, Orton worked with several Hall of Famers and veterans he respected. He even had to spit in the face of quite a few stars, including Mick Foley and Harley Race.
Discussing the situation on his Something to Wrestle podcast, Bruce Prichard recalled when Randy Orton had to spit in the face of Race. He mentioned that the whole situation was "gross," but the legend was completely fine with it. In fact, it was Randy Orton who didn't want to spit in the Hall of Famer's face.
"Harley was not in shape to do that and throughout this whole thing that the spit came up, we’re not hate spitting. It’s just gross and I don’t know. Harley was completely cool with it because it was Randy and Harley did have so much respect for Randy in the fact that Randy had so much respect for Harley. I don’t even think Randy was big on this because it was like, 'ahh man, I don’t want to spit in Harley Race’s face,' but at the same time Harley is like ‘no kid, this is going to get you over,’" Prichard said. (h/t Wrestling Inc)
Harley Race had a lot of respect for Randy Orton
A wrestling legend himself, Race had a lot of respect for Randy Orton and his father 'Cowboy' Bob Orton, according to Prichard.
When Race was brought back to the company for the Hall of Fame induction, he was also put opposite Orton to get him over. The legend was completely fine with Orton spitting in his face.
“Harley had an awful lot of respect for Randy and Harley had a lot of respect for Randy’s old man and vice versa. Harley knew how much respect Randy had for him and I think I was the one who pitched this to Harley and it was a 'hey Harley, we’re really looking to get Randy over and we’re looking for him to do something to a legend without doing something physical to Harley,'" Prichard said.
Prichard added that had Race been in better physical condition, he felt that the legend would have loved to take an RKO. But that didn't happen, and their interaction was limited to the segment on the April 26, 2004 episode of RAW.
Did you know Brock Lesnar got into a real fight with a legend? Vince was furious. Details here.