Saturday, August 16, 2008

King Of The Ring, by Brian Mciver - Daily Record - 16th August 2008

WWE Superstar Shows Our Man Brian Some Of The Moves That Made Him A Wrestling Legend He's A 6ft 5in Former Us Marine Who Is Built Like A Tank And Throws Grown Men Around Like They Are Rag Dolls - That's Why They Call Randy Orton ..

FACING off against a man called Randy who wears spandex trunks for his daily work sounds frightening enough.

But when the self same giant stares you down with the meanest, darkest eyes this side of Jaws, it's either time to call an insurance firm or an underwear shop.

I had just made the mistake of challenging WWE wrestling superstar Randy Orton to show me his scariest moves, and he immediately showed just why he has been voted one of the best bad guys on television.

The Tennessee-born one time US Marine is a former champion of the American ring phenomenon and one of the best known villains of this theatrical sport.

He makes a living combining his huge frame with a steely stare and lots of general bad boy behaviour.

Randy took time off from his training programme to give the Daily Record an insight into his baddie persona, when he visited the UK to promote this weekend's TV SummerSlam wrestling event, as well as their European tour which comes to Scotland this autumn.

Randy, 28, is one of the best loved (and hated) stars of the sport, and has thousands of adoring fans all over the world.

He has been out of wrestling action for the last two months following a broken collarbone, the result of a bout with rival Triple H.

But the wrestler revealed that the physical side of the sport is only half the battle, with showmanship and image just as important as the combat.

That is where the 6ft 5in giant shows the skills that have made him rich and famous.

When you speak to him out of character, Orton, who was born into wrestling royalty as the son of Cowboy Bob Orton, and with both a grandfather and uncle in the sport, is well spoken and friendly.

But as soon as he gets near a ring or training he becomes the guy who is currently up against Simon Cowell for best baddie in the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards.

HE said he would show me the secret to his showmanship style. I thought that would be pulling faces or an affected stare but he gets very scary, very fast.

"It's all about being intimidating when you're in the ring, and you can trash talk their appearance, their record or whatever, and stare them out or go right up to them," he said.

"It wasn't my decision at first to be a heel, because at first when the guys got to knowme, I had kind of an arrogant, narcissistic attitude, and I don't deal with authority figures too well, and that translated into ring, so I became a heel.

"I can get 10,000 people to boo me if I drop a guy with a clothes line and drop my knee on the back of his head with a smirk and then it's like, 'aww, boo' and you get with it.

"My goal is to get the best, or worst, reaction from them as I can."

Randy decided to get a reaction from me by challenging me to a test of strength. The test lasted all of five seconds as he was virtually juggling huge weights while I was requiring physiotherapy after trying to lift some tiny barbells and keep up.

We then gathered ourselves for a ring-style face off, and any doubts I may have had about just how intimidating he could be were excreted away, as he eye balled me with a serial killer stare.

I tried to bravado him back, but even though I wasn't about to take him on in a ring bout and I knew for certain there was no violence on the cards whatsoever, but his constant growl made me flinch at first, before I was virtually leaning back at a right angle to get away from him.

Randy got his big break into wrestling after his military career ended badly.

He was dishonourably discharged from the Marines after disobeying orders and started making inroads into the world of wrestling in 1999 courtesy of his dad.

He quickly found a niche at the home of WWE, and after making his name as a baddie, he used his family background (his childhood home was a wrestlers' hang out, with legends like Andre the Giant and wannabe Scot Rowdy Roddy Piper there all the time) and skills to carve out a successful career.

Since hitting the WWE big time in 2002, he has won four major titles and earned a huge fan base.

"I didn't know what I was gonna do with my life, at first I tried the military, that didn't go too well, so I asked my dad if he could call Vince McMahon and get me a job.

"It was really just out of desperation but it turned out I loved it and I was a natural at it, I got on TV a year and a half after I started training, took off from there.

"At first I felt the pressure (of the family name) but very quickly it dissipated because I did well and the stats show I surpassed my father in terms of ring stats and titles, so I was never really in the shadow of it.

"I pretty much learned things on-the-job and through practice and training, I was under the wing of people like Ric Flair and Triple H.

I learned a lot, and moulded my character into what it is now, figuring out what works, what doesn't, and I got a handle on how to make the crowd despise me." WORKING the crowds is one of Randy's favourite parts of the job, and he said he can't wait for the WWE UK tour in November, when he and his fellow grapplers will bring their pizzazz to Glasgow and Aberdeen.

"Whenever we go overseas, there's a lot more excitement, and the crowds aren't used to seeing us live, so they go crazy, which makes it all more exciting. The adrenaline gets pumping because of that energy.

"It's nice to visit all parts of the world and witness different cultures, we've been all over, and being recognised is pretty cool.

"But I would say travelling and being away from loved ones is the hardest part of the job.

"I've got a newborn at home, it's the first time I've been away from her and I miss her, but it's what I do for living."

After his injury, Randy is missing out on wrestling in tomorrow night's payper-view SummerSlam event, although he will be there to cause some trouble, so he is now really looking forward to the UK tour, and coming back to Scotland.

"I've been to Aberdeen and Glasgow before and it was great, I cant wait to come back.

"I don't know about wearing a kilt. I don't need to, I don't necessarily want the fans to like me.

"If anything, I might call it a skirt, and say 'do men wear dresses here' and p*** them off a bit.

"I'll do what I can to be hated."

The WWE Raw events take place in Glasgow on November 14, and Aberdeen on November 15, while SummerSlam is on Sunday, August 17 at 1am, live and exclusive on Sky Box Office.

'Randy makes a living from combining his huge frame with a steely stare and lots of general bad boy behaviour'

'I've got a newborn at home. It's the first time I've been away from her and I miss her badly, but it's what I do for a living'

(Credit: Daily Record)

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