Archived Q & A session with Ohio Valley Wrestling’s Randy Orton

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During our email interview in 2001, Ohio Valley Wrestling’s Randy Orton discussed an array of topics including his father’s influence, the late Russ Haas and more.

Besides your father who was a major influence in your life in pursuing wrestling as a career?  Why? 

This is definitely a hard question because of my being around the business as far back as I can remember…I was motivated by so many people throughout my life to follow in my father’s footsteps. So, even though this probably isn’t the answer you’re looking for, I would have to say every worker past and present that I enjoyed watching, and that made me want what they had.

Do you see the Randy Orton character changing much over time? If so, how, if not why not? 

LOL……what character?? Really though, I just go out there and wrestle right now, I don’t have a gimmick really……I am the youngest on the roster, so sometimes I feel that has something to do with my persona……” the young kid trying to show everyone that he can hang with the big boys” can he?? We’ll see!!

Randy, you have worked so hard to accomplish all that you have. What is it about wrestling that has always appealed to you to continue to compete? 

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I would say at this point in my career making my father proud really makes me happy. In his day he was really thought of as one of the best in the biz….his selling, his innovative tactics, the way he put the boys over like nobody else. Knowing that he was THAT good, and is IMPRESSED with me, really makes me feel awesome!!. Besides making my father proud, definitely the adrenaline rush you get walking down that ramp, and stepping foot in that ring, it’s like nothing else.  The traveling is wonderful, plus, the simple fact that I really respect this business.

With the recent death of Russ Haas, a developmental wrestler for the WWF, how has this affected you and your feelings about wrestling and priorities in respect to life? 

Well, first of all, it is still hard to swallow what happened to Russ. I have met both Haas brothers numerous times and thought very highly of them. The loss of Russ has affected me and every other worker that I know. It would be hard for anyone to say that it didn’t. He was one of the boys, and when one of the boys passes, it really causes you to reflect on what you have, and to not take it for granted. What we do in this business is very dangerous, and that is why it is so important to respect the business.

Independent wrestling promoters can often be described as “used car” dealers. How would you best describe some of your previous relationships with promoters?

I have only worked under one other promoter. Before I located to Louisville, I trained in St. Louis under Tony Costa. I only talked to him maybe 5 times, but we got along fine. I have heard horror stories about some Indy promoters taking kids money, then beating the hell out of them so they quit, in turn getting paid for nothing.  But I believe in Karma  🙂

Since there is one dominant promotion, do you think the deep pool of athletes in the company will not be utilized to their fullest capacity?

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Well, if the Company makes a split like they are rumored to do, then that “underutilized” pool of talent will have more then enough exposure. A separate TV show would allow time for twice the storylines. If only certain wrestlers worked certain TV shows, then there wouldn’t be as much overexposure as some claim to believe there is now.

This question allows you to be more of a fan and not an actual athlete for a second. If you could face anyone past or present in a match or watch any match of any two wrestlers who would it be and what type of match would it be?

I would love to pick HHH’s brain. I would be all for taking a beating from him.  That man is what wrestling is all about. The dedication, the heart, the skill, and of course the guts. I feel I could learn a great deal from him. Regal is one of my favorites as well. He does everything different it seems. Nothing he does is like anything else you see. He has so much knowledge of the biz it is unbelievable. It would be an honor to take a whooping from him as well.

What do you think of the state of professional wrestling as a whole (i.e., content, language…etc)?  

I think that different organizations of wrestling all have different ways of expressing what they think the content should be. I’ve been to Indy shows were every match is hardcore; every other word is f**k and there may be 1 hold during the entire show. I’ve been to Indy shows were the wrestling was divinity what was concentrated on. I think it all depends on the fan as far as where or what the state of wrestling is currently at. I think that the WWF does a great job of getting their talent over, and I think diversity is a good thing as well. Some raunchy language now and then adds to the flavor of the show. They combine excellent wrestling, with plenty of twists in the storyline, and they make sure the fan knows what is going on. It’s hard to judge the “state” of wrestling as a whole I think, because of all the different styles of promotion out there.

Where do see professional wrestling headed? 

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I see it going back to more chain wrestling, holds, and to telling more of a story in the ring…….maybe longer matches. I have heard that pro wrestling will end up going in a big circle, eventually becoming what it started out to be, and then again what it is now. You have to realize that there is not much more the body can do without the risk of death. I would say without the risk of serious injury, but lol, each and every worker risks serious injury every minute they are in the ring. Remember also, that I am 21, and even though I grew up around wrestling my entire life, I’m still very green.

In your honest opinion, do you think wrestlers today are lacking in their actual “in ring” ability?

Not at all. I’m hoping for the much anticipated “split” so that more talent have the opportunity to show what they can do (as well as muah  :). You have guys of all different shapes and sizes, doing some very impressive stuff. But they also know all of the basics, which is very important I believe. I have seen Big Show numerous times actually nip up, with one hand on the ropes. He weighs close to 490lbs!!! If that isn’t athleticism, tell me what is. The acrobatics some of these guys can do, it’s simply amazing. But like I said, they all know how to work. They all know what to do in the ring, and how to make the people in the stands understand why they are doing it.

When fans check into what can they look forward to seeing? and how can they keep in touch with you?

My website is done for me by a handful of very talented people. IM not to “up” on the internet, but in my opinion, they do an excellent job… The website lets people know what is going on in my wrestling career, and my interests, as well as the thoughts and opinions of the people on the board. They can contact me through the website. I get all my mail, and although very difficult, try to respond as much as possible.

Although this question is a bit premature for me to ask when your career has come to an end how you do want to be remembered? What is it about wrestling that will always remain a part of you long after you call it a career?

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This question I feel cannot be completely answered, but I can definitely tell you that I want to make my father and grandfather proud. I have been fortunate enough to be raised in a wrestling family, and lucky enough to have my father eager to see me accomplish my goals. He is there for me whenever I have a question about the business, and goes over my matches with me, pointing out mistakes, and letting me know what looks good. So, I would say when it is all said and done, one of the things I would like to be remembered as is, a good son that made his dad proud as a wrestler in this wonderful business.