During Thursday’s episode of “SmackDown,” it was revealed that Randy Orton (who has been out of action due to a shoulder injury since October) would have his first match back against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Orton appeared on Booker T’s “Heated Conversations” podcast to discuss that match, and also to discuss his new status as an elder statesman on the roster.
Right near the top of the interview (which begins at the 70:00 mark of that podcast), Booker T asked Orton’s thoughts on the “New Era” that has arrived since he’s been on the shelf. Orton singled out two individuals in particular to heap praise upon: AJ Styles and Kevin Owens.
“It is a compliment [to be viewed as an elder statesman]. It’s hard to be a professional athlete in any sport for a long time. In the WWE, it’s no different. So being around a long time, I’m proud of the 15 years I’ve put in.
“ … As far as guys like [AJ] Styles and [Kevin] Owens, we’ve been doing this – we’re all around the same age. They started like back in the 2000s, early 2000s, just like I did. So they’ve been doing it a long time, and you can tell, through their work. Especially Styles and Owens, for instance. They’ve been working 15 years, they’ve been all over the world, and now we’re lucky enough to have them here with us.
“I think they’re both great talents and I look forward to working with Styles. I’ve been able to mix it up with Owens a little bit and I think there’s chemistry there. But I’d really like to see what it would look like, plucking AJ Styles out of the air for an RKO. [laughs]”
Some extremely magnanimous high praise, indeed. I’m sure we can all get behind extended programs between Orton and either one of those gentlemen. Just think: fresh matchups for Randy Orton! It’s certainly been a while.
Orton also, of course, discussed his upcoming match against Lesnar. The podcast was taped prior to Saturday night’s UFC 200 pay-per-view. When asked about Lesnar’s match against Mark Hunt, Orton said, “How that [fight] goes could really determine a lot of different avenues as far as how SummerSlam could end up going.”
And of course, Lesnar ended up winning that fight. So … maybe Orton is headed for the same “avenues” that ended up giving birth to the Suplex City phenomenon. Brock Lesnar absolutely wrecking a main eventer: a proud SummerSlam tradition.