Randy Orton Reflects On Going AWOL From The Military And Being Handed His Spot In OVW

Randy Orton looks back on his time in the military and getting his foot in the door at WWE.

Randy Orton still holds the distinction to this day of being the youngest WWE World Heavyweight Championship in history. Randy accomplished this goal in 2004 and was on TV for two years prior to that. By his own admission, Randy has had a path to the top that most would kill for.

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Before the days of riding with Ric Flair and Triple H in Evolution, Randy Orton got his start in Ohio Valley Wrestling and that journey in wrestling only started after his time in the military ended with him going AWOL.

Speaking to Steve Austin on The Broken Skull Sessions, Randy Orton discussed his time in the military and what led to him going AWOL and eventually joining WWE through OVW.

“Boot camp was great, I got a meritorious promotion, came out on private first class, went to school of infantry, was an 0311, was in a boat company Alpha 1-4 in Camp Horno in Camp Pendleton. Did great there, got to the fleet, and then it was restart; bootcamp. It was the opposite of how a locker room should be, where everyone has each other's back. I said, this aint for me. I went AWOL for 83 days, came back, turned myself in and thought they'd give me my release papers. They said, 'Nah, you signed a contract with Uncle Sam, son. Grab your rifle and go to the field.' I sat on my hands and said I wasn't going anywhere. They brought me to the platoon commander and I disobeyed a direct order to return to the field. I got a bad conduct discharge and it took 45 days in the brig before I went home.”

After his time in the service, Randy Orton began to think about following in his father and grandfather's footsteps and becoming a professional wrestler. At first, his dad said but he was blackballed by WWE and success would never be an option for Randy. Fortunately for Randy, it turned out to be the opposite and those in power at WWE loved Bob Orton.

Randy Orton would end up getting a fast track to OVW and eventually WWE and he now admits that he was “handed” his opportunity.

“I'm living at home and me and my old man built a room in the basement for me to live and I worked at the gas station. About a month goes by, 'Hey dad, do you think, maybe, I can do what you did?' He's like, 'I'm blackballed. New York will never have you.' He didn't think I had a chance in hell. My mom never pushed it on me and didn't like what my dad did. My father never pushed it on me either. I approached him, but I had to hit rock bottom, so to speak. He made that call. Turns out, all the old timers in the office loved my old man. They were like, 'You got a son? How big is he?' I was 6'3" - 6'4" at the time, 240 pounds, I was ready to go. They send me up to Stamford, Dr. Tom [Prichard] puts me in the ring, teaches me how to lock up. He asked me to give him a shoulder tackle, which I had never done. He takes the bump and I thought I killed him. He starts rolling in pain and screaming. I'm on the phone with my dad and while [Dr. Tom] was selling the shoulder tackle, his brother Bruce called my dad and said, 'Congratulations, we're going to sign him to a developmental deal' and in six months I reported to OVW. I was handed the opportunity and I'm the first one to admit it.”

Randy Orton's fast track to success did lead to some admitted immature moments. Some of these moments were attributed to Randy Orton being suspended for 60 days by WWE in 2006. Learn more about that at this link.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin recently opened up about his interview with Randy Orton. You can read Austin's comments at this link.

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