On April 3rd, 2005, marks the date when Randy Orton went from a legend killer to a legend. At WrestleMania 21, he stared death itself in the face. He challenged The Undertaker. Both Undertaker and Randy Orton had a successful 2004. Orton became the youngest superstar to win the World Heavyweight Championship at Summerslam 2004. He lost it to Triple H on September 12th, 2004, at Unforgiven. He was quickly gaining respect.
The Undertaker returned the year before at Wrestlemania 20. He defeated his brother Kane and reunited with Paul Bearer. He also went on to feud with the likes of Booker T and JBL. The Undertakers streak was currently at 12-0. It was becoming the most-watched statistic at WrestleMania. Randy Orton knew that in order to redeem himself after losing the World Heavyweight Championship, he was doing what no man has done before, defeat The Undertaker at WrestleMania. This is the story of The Undertaker vs Randy Orton.
The Undertaker vs Randy Orton
Signing a Contract with Death
At WrestleMania 21, the WWE decided there will be several inter-promotional matches between Raw and SmackDown. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels was signed as well as Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker. Orton vowed to make the most of this and cement his legacy. On the March 3rd, 2005, episode of SmackDown, Raw GM Eric Bischoff and SmackDown GM Theodore Long presided over a contract signing between the Legend Killer and the Deadman. Before signing the contract, Orton cut a promo on the Undertaker saying how much he respected him, but at Wrestlemania 21, he will defeat him and end the streak.
To make his point clear, he slapped The Phenom in the face. At that moment, Undertaker’s eyes rolled back into his head, and the arena filled with smoke. As Orton was retreating back to the locker room, a lightning bolt almost hit him. Undertaker accepted the challenge. The Beast had awakened.
Legends warn the Legend Killer.
On the March 14th, 2005 episode of Raw, Randy Orton was Chris Jericho’s guest on the Highlight Reel. Y2J then asked Randy about his match at Wrestlemania with The Undertaker. Orton replied that at WrestleMania, he will be full of surprises. Chris Jericho replied that he too liked surprises, and he has a surprise for Randy Orton tonight. Just then, Jake The Snake Roberts walked into the ring. Roberts was Undertaker’s opponent at WrestleMania VIII. Jake warned Orton not to “bite off more than he can chew.” Orton returned this warning with an RKO. Randy Orton had left another legend lying face down in the ring.
On the March 21st, 2005, episode of Raw, Randy Orton walked to the ring with his then-girlfriend Stacy Keibler. He cut a promo about how his confidence was at an all-time high. He then explained why he slapped death in the face. Orton claimed he slapped the Undertaker to prove that he wasn’t afraid. He then produced a Legend Killer T-shirt with the names of all the legends he RKO’d over the past month. Orton was, even so, arrogant as to include the Undertaker. He also said that he has a message for anyone that doubts that he can beat the Undertaker. Orton struck and RKO’d Stacy Keibler. Randy Orton felt he needed to get rid of all distractions to beat the Phenom.
The Undertaker vs Randy Orton
Sneaking up on Death
The mind games continued between the two superstars. A week before WrestleMania on the March 31, 2005 episode of SmackDown, Bob Orton Jr., Randy’s dad, begged Undertaker to go easy on Orton and put the beast to sleep. He said that as a father, he’s trying to protect his son from destroying his own career. Unfortunately for Ace, The Undertaker has no mercy. As he grabbed Bob Orton by the throat. Randy Orton snuck up behind him, and RKO’d the legend. It had been a setup. As the Ortons walked up the aisle laughing at what they did, Undertaker rose from the dead. Randy Orton had sealed his fate.
RKO vs. Rest In Peace
WrestleMania 21 had finally arrived on April 3, 2005. The mind games were officially over. It was time to fight. To everyone’s surprise, Randy Orton again slapped the Undertaker. Randy Orton’s game plan was to make the Undertaker so mad he will lose control. That strategy appeared to work as it appeared Orton had The Undertaker’s number. Randy hit him with a picture-perfect dropkick to get the deadman off his feet. Even though Undertaker was rocked, he fought back against the brash upstart. He clotheslined Orton several times in the corner of the ring. The Undertaker hit a big evil leg drop on the ring apron too. He even took Orton to school, old school, that is.
Finally, after Undertaker went for a big boot, he missed and got caught in the ropes. This slowed down the Undertaker, but not for long. Undertaker dropped Orton face-first on the top turnbuckle and attempted a dragon sleeper, but he countered it into a neck breaker. Orton then started an assault on the man from death valley. He hit the Undertaker with that running power slam off the ropes. He caught the Phenom in several different moves but still could not get the victory. Orton finally backed up Undertaker into the corner.
The Undertaker vs Randy Orton
You Can’t Kill What Is Already Dead.
Unfortunately, the Legend Killer became too cocky and posed over the deadman. Undertaker sprung to life and picked Orton up for the last ride. Orton managed to escape the finisher and collided with the referee. Undertaker went to attempt the Last ride again but ended up crumbling to the mat due to the punishment earlier. Bob Orton Jr. ran into the ring with the referee unconscious and leveled The Deadman with a cast.
During his wrestling days, Cowboy Bob Orton was infamous for having a cast on his arm. Supposedly this injury never healed and decades later still didn’t. Still, Randy Orton could not pin the Undertaker. Orton began to mock the Undertaker by using his own move the tombstone. Unfortunately for Orton, The Undertaker reversed the move and dropped him headfirst to the mat. Undertaker got the victory and was still undefeated at WrestleMania.
Even though Randy Orton did not defeat the legend, he took his career to the next level. Months after WrestleMania 21, the Ortons continued their feud with the deadman. Orton and The Undertaker fought in casket matches. Randy Orton even locked Undertaker in a casket and set it on fire. Their rivalry ended at a Hell in a Cell Armageddon 2005, where Undertaker got the victory. As we all know, Randy Orton went on to become a legend himself, winning the WWE Championship ten times, The World Heavyweight Championship four times, the Royal Rumble winner, the Money in the Bank winner, Intercontinental Champion, United States Champion, World Tag Team Champion, and Smackdown Tag Team Champion.
The Undertaker’s legendary streak grew to an unprecedented 21-1. He is arguably the most famous WWE superstar of all time. He is a four-time WWE Champion, three-time World Heavyweight Champion, WWF Hardcore Champion, six-time WWF tag team champion, WCW Tag Team Champion, and Royal Rumble Winner. There is no one like the Undertaker, and there probably never will be again. At Wrestlemania 21, both these Superstars gave their all in a match that is definitely worth a WrestleMania Rewind.