Look, Randy Orton doesn’t care what anyone in the world thinks about him. He just doesn’t. He hasn’t for a long time. That’s just not the way he’s wired. But he can still be pretty darn diplomatic when he needs to be. (Or maybe when he just wants to be.) A few weeks ago, he let loose on Twitter in support of Rip Rogers’ comments about indie wrestling, and it’s a situation that indie wrestlers are still having fun with.
When WWE was in his hometown of St. Louis this week, Orton stopped by Hot 104.1 for a sit-down, in-studio interview and was in “gregarious mode.” He was asked about the “dive” controversy, and he explained that he’s not anti-dive, he’s anti-“dive for no reason.” (Video courtesy of Reddit.)
“I’m putting over AJ [Styles] strong, right? AJ, he has dives. A lot of guys that I work with do dives. I’ve been dived on a lot. I don’t have a problem with dives out of the ring, but when a lot of these guys, who don’t have anything to fall back on, and they’re not making any money doing it, they’re going around town wrestling on these independent shows — which is awesome, by the way. A lot of our guys, like AJ, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins wouldn’t be here without the indie scene. But they’re smart. A lot of these guys are going to go out there and they’re going to break their neck at 23 years old, doing stuff they shouldn’t be doing.
“It’s a display of athleticism, no doubt, but … I’m not going to watch gymnastics. I want to go watch a story, a fight between a good guy and a bad guy. How many flips they do each, I’m not keeping a tally … But do you know who had my back on it? Guys like AJ. Guys that do dives and know what they’re doing … Kurt Angle texted me after that. He didn’t do dives. If he did, he would put it where it should have went … he wouldn’t have done it just to do it …
“If that’s where our business is going, to where it’s just a preconceived, choreographed match with a bunch of acrobatics — back flips, front flips, gainers off the top rope, shooting star presses, moonsaults to the floor — then I don’t want to be a part of it. But I’ll tell you what: I don’t think that’s where it’s going.”
It’s really what we expected all along, which is pretty much the company line on the division between the indies and WWE. “Have a reason for doing the things you’re doing” is pretty much what they drill into you when you get to the Performance Center or NXT. But it’s nice to have Orton’s extended thoughts on the record.