'We hoped they would be Austin and Rock,' says Jim Ross on two former World Champions 

  • This feud was supposed to be Vince McMahon's version of Rock vs Stone Cold!
  • Both these stars had a storied rivalry over the years.
Amar Anand
Modified 03 May 2020, 21:19 IST

The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin
The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin

On a recent episode of the Grillin' JR podcast, Jim Ross talked about how Vince McMahon wanted to recreate Rock vs. Stone Cold from the Attitude Era with John Cena and Randy Orton.

Randy Orton and John Cena broke out in the WWE around the same time and were earmarked for great success from the very beginning. It was, in fact, Jim Ross who was a huge fan of both men from the very beginning and had a huge role to play in them signing with WWE.

On the podcast, Jim Ross said that he was very proud of both John Cena and Randy Orton with how they handled themselves in the ring and backstage. (H/T Wrestling Inc. for transcription)

"Two guys that we had hopes for and they were proving us right," Ross said. "For me, during my tenure there as head talent relations, it was kind of cool seeing two guys I coveted and signed. Bruce [Prichard] was there helping and it was also a team effort. It made me proud. We hoped they would be Austin and Rock for sure no doubt about that but it's just hard to replace those two dudes. Neither guy was locker room issues, neither guy had problem keeping their commitments, they were both very professional they were company men. There was no negatives or downsides to those dudes in that regard. They were the guys and I was proud as hell of them."

John Cena and Randy Orton's storied rivalry

Randy Orton and John Cena
Randy Orton and John Cena

Both John Cena and Randy Orton made their WWE debuts two months apart back in 2002. Their careers took off parallelly and it was only a matter of time before WWE decided to pit these two behemoths against each other.

It was five years after their debuts that they started a feud together. Surprisingly, they first feuded over the tag team titles in early 2007 when Champions Cena and Michaels took on Rated RKO. Later in the summer, Randy Orton became the #1 contender to John Cena's WWE Championship, though he was unsuccessful in his first attempt at SummerSlam and then at Unforgiven.

One of the highlights of this feud was Randy taking out John Cena's father with the punt kick. The feud was temporarily put on hold after John Cena was out injured.

They then continued their feud when Cena returned at Royal Rumble 2008 and headlined WrestleMania that year where Orton retained the title in a match that also involved Triple H.


In the years that followed, the two exchanged title victories in some of the most gruesome matches, including an 'I Quit' Match, Hell in a Cell, and an Iron Man Match. The highest point in their rivalry (arguably) was when WWE unified both the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships when both Randy Orton and John Cena were Champions in 2013.

Published 03 May 2020, 21:19 IST
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