While I hope Orton doesn’t return to win the 2012 Royal Rumble Match, he did a great job with it in 2009. I have been very impressed with Orton’s career. He took what he had, genetics and the in through his grandfather and father, and took it to a whole new level. I will admit that I didn’t like Orton early on, but he cleaned up his act and has really grown on me. He’s turned into quite the Superstar and will be for quite a long time.
The 21st annual Royal Rumble took place on January 25 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The dark match saw Jimmy Wang Yang defeating Paul Burchill. The PPV started with Jack Swagger defeating Matt Hardy to retain his ECW Championship. Melina defeated Beth Phoenix, with Santino, to win the Women’s Championship. John Cena defeated JBL, with HBK, to retain his World Heavyweight Championship. Edge, with Chavito, defeated Jeff Hardy in a No DQ Match for the WWE Championship.
The Royal Rumble Match started with Rey and John Morrison as entrants one and two. JoMo was eliminated third by Trip who entered at #7. Rey lasted 49:24, only to be eliminated by Big Show. Orton entered at #8, Taker at #16, Kane at #23, Hacksaw at #29, and Big Show at #30. This was Kane’s 11th consecutive Royal Rumble Match, breaking his own record from the year before. Taker, Kane and Big Show eliminated quite a few people between them. The final six left in the match were Big Show, Taker, Trip and Legacy – Orton, DiBiase, and Rhodes. Orton eliminated Big Show, then Big Show eliminated Taker. Trip might have been at a disadvantage, but he managed to eliminate DiBiase and Rhodes. Orton quickly clotheslined Trip from behind and sent him over the top to win the match.
On the following RAW Orton showed up with lawyers and his therapist. It came out that Orton had IED (intermittent explosive disorder) and that if Steph fired him he’d take the whole locker room with him. This left everyone walking around on eggshells and a lot of fans worried that people might start using that as an excuse rather than taking responsibility for their actions. On the March 2nd episode of RAW, Orton challenged trip for the WWE Championship. They faced off at WMXXV, but Orton didn’t win. At Backlash Orton took part in a Six Man Tag Match that pitted Legacy against Trip, Batista and Shane-O-Mac for the WWE Championship. Legacy did a decent job of keeping control of the match and isolating members of the other team, until Batista came into the match. Things were looking bad for Legacy, but they gained control. Trip tagged in and faced off with Orton who hit an RKO, but Trip kicked out. Orton then punted Trip’s head off and pinned Trip for the win of the WWE Championship. Trip was taken from the ring on a stretcher.
At Extreme Rules Orton defended his Title in in a Steel Cage Match. Orton kept trying to escape the cage, but Batista kept on him. Finally during one of Orton’s escape attempts Batista was able to grab Orton and nail him with a Batista bomb to win the match and the WWE Championship. The following night on RAW Orton and Legacy attacked Batista and ‘broke’ Batista’s arm. Batista was forced to vacate his Title due to the kayfabe injury, but it ended up he did have a torn biceps and Legacy received the on-screen credit for it. On the June 15th episode of RAW Orton won the WWE Championship in a Fatal 4 Way Match against Trip, Cena and Big Show.
This was the start of what felt like the never ending Orton/Cena feud. In September at Breaking Point Cena and Orton faced off in an I Quit Match where if anyone got involved to help Orton, then he’d immediately lose the Title. Cena was able to defeat Orton and win the Championship. In early October they faced off at the Hell In A Cell PPV in a Hell In A Cell Match. They fought back and forth in the cell, both having control at different points. Orton hit his DDT, Cena kicked out. Cena hithis AA, Orton kicked out. Orton hit Cena with a chair, Cena kicked out. Cena locked on the STF, Orton made it to the ropes. There was a ref bump, then Cena locked on the STF again and Orton tapped, but the ref was knocked out and didn’t see it. Cena checked on the ref, but the ate an RKO, but was able to kick out. Orton then punted Cena’s head off and pinned Cena for the three and Orton’s 5th WWE Championship. At the end of October they faced off in an Anything Goes Iron Man Match with the stip that if Cena lost he had to leave RAW. Cena defeated Orton to regain the WWE Championship.
For some reason it seemed as though this feud went on forever. It’s been long enough that they might be able to go back and have another solid feud as they’ve both grown so much over the past couple years. I have to say that Orton’s run after winning the Royal Rumble Match wasn’t his best of years. I’m impressed with how much he’s grown and changed, and I’m sure he has so much more for us in the future.