What Happened to Randy Orton? Details on WWE Absence

What happened to Randy Orton? It seems like the WWE superstar won’t be returning to in-ring action for quite some time. Here’s everything we know.

Allison DeGrushe - Author
Randy Orton does his signature pose at WWE SummerSlam 2015.
Source: Getty Images

In case you haven’t been following, the WWE has been going through many changes lately, and it’s becoming a bit difficult for fans to keep up. Not only has wrestling promotion ushered in a sale (which resulted in a merger with the UFC), but creative plans have changed for several superstars.

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As a result of the creative changes, fans fear the worst. And, since he has been away from the company for quite some time, many are wondering: What happened to Randy Orton? Stick around to learn more about his absence.

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Randy Orton enters the ring at WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center on Aug. 23, 2015.
Source: Getty Images

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What happened to Randy Orton?

After WrestleMania 37, Randy began working with Matt Riddle as a tag team dubbed RK-Bro. The pair dominated the tag team division for nearly a year before losing to The Usos in a title unification match on the May 20, 2022, episode of SmackDown. A few days later, reports announced that Randy suffered a legitimate back injury.

The 14-time WWE champion hasn’t been in the ring since then, and it seems like it might be a long time before Randy is back wrestling. The Viper underwent back fusion surgery in late 2022, and, according to Randy’s father, WWE Hall of Famer Bob Orton, his doctors strongly advise against him returning to the WWE.

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«He’s training, so we’ll see what happens; I don’t know,» Bob said via Ringside News. «If he feels like he’s ready to go back, I think he might, but then again, he’s pretty well taken care of. I don’t think he needs to. And I think the doctors have told him not to. But Randy will do what Randy wants to do.»

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Is Randy Orton returning to WWE?

 Randy Orton attends the WrestleMania 30 press conference
Source: Getty Images

Fightful Select reported that Randy Orton isn’t a part of WWE’s plans in the near future. It isn’t necessarily WWE’s choice, either. Randy, as of writing, isn’t medically cleared to re-enter the ring.

It’s hard to say if he will ever be cleared. He had lower back fusion surgery, so doctors are telling him not to go back. This isn’t the sort of thing that’s compatible with intense wrestling, after all.

A source also told the outlet not to expect Randy at SummerSlam.

Even though Randy hasn’t hit the ropes yet, he’s reportedly determined to get back at it. He is still working out and training for his hopeful return.

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Although many are undoubtedly upset about Randy possibly having to retire, others were quick to point out that he’ll leave behind an incredible career and legacy in the WWE. His championships and accomplishments include:

  • 14-time WWE champion (WWE and WHC)
  • 1-time WWE Intercontinental champion
  • 1-time WWE United States Championship
  • 4-time WWE Tag Team champion (with Edge, Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper, and Matt Riddle)
  • 2-time Royal Rumble winner (2009 and 2017)
  • 1-time Money in the Bank winner (2013)
  • 17th Triple Crown champion
  • 10th Grand Slam champion

Randy has nothing to prove to anyone; he’s a living legend. We would love nothing more than to see him return to in-ring action, but if it’s not possible, we hope he would be happy with the legacy he’s leaving behind.


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