Throughout his career, Randy Orton hasn’t played well with others. That hasn’t stopped the Viper from finding his way into a few stables and tag teams during his day. He has a new tag team partner now: Riddle, the bird and blunt loving polar-opposite of Orton.
As Xavier Woods once said: “Damn Randy, how many groups have you been in?” Well, Orton has been part of seven different groups or tag teams. Here is the definitive ranking of Orton’s groups, from worst to best.
7. FTRKO with Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson
Remember the short-lived FTRKO? For about a month in 2019, The Revival started teaming with Orton after Summerslam, bonding over their mutual hatred of New Day. Orton failed to beat Kofi Kingston for the WWE title, but the group had some more success at the next show. The Revival defeated New Day for the SmackDown Tag Titles at Clash of Champions, but Orton lost to Kingston once again. After Clash of Champions, the Draft occurred and The Revival & Orton were sent to different brands. This group had tons of potential, but was cut short well too soon.
6. RKBro with Matt Riddle
This tag team has been surprisingly fun since it started. While I’m still not the biggest fan of Riddle, this is a good role for Orton at this point in his career. He gets to help get over a new talent, plus their inevitable feud will be pretty fun (Orton’s groups always implode, as you’ll see from this list). With some more time, this tag team could climb higher up this list.
5. Wyatt Family with Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt
When Orton aligned with the Wyatts, we all thought the same thing: “Oh, he’s going to turn on Wyatt”. Guess what, we were right. On the way there it was actually pretty fun to have him alongside Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper. They won the SmackDown Tag Team Championships and held them ever so briefly. Eventually, Orton would turn on Wyatt after winning the Royal Rumble match and set up their Wrestlemania 33 clash. I still stand by that Harper should have been added as the third man in that match – he sniffed out Orton from the jump and a high profile match like that could have made him in WWE. Still, this group was fun while it lasted but isn’t one of the groups Orton is best known for.
4. Legacy with Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase Jr.
Orton’s first time as leader of the pack was as the head of Legacy. He teamed with wrestling trust-fund kids Cody Rhodes (son of Dusty) and Ted DiBiase Jr. (that one’s obvious) in 2008. Manu (son of Afa) and Sim Snuka (son of Jimmy) would be in the group for short periods of time, but it was mainly the trio of Orton, Rhodes & DiBiase.
How would Orton fair as a leader? Well, he was very much himself. He belittled and attacked his two pupils, but somehow that inspired them. They helped Orton win the Royal Rumble for the first time, and helped him capture the WWE Championship three times. Rhodes & DiBiase were also World Tag Team Champions during their time in Legacy. The group would break up in early 2010 with a blow-off match at Wrestlemania 26. Rhodes & DiBiase did get some shine from this group, but it was mainly about them being lackeys for Orton. It does get points for longevity and title success.
3. The Authority with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins, Kane, Big Show, and J&J Security
Yes, I know they got tiresome. After a while, Orton wasn’t even the centerpiece of the group. Orton was the centerpiece though, and was one of the most detestable World Champions we’ve had in years. In order for Daniel Bryan to get his ascension to the top, he needed someone to vanquish. That person was Randy Orton.
Orton was the WWE Champion (and later WWE World Heavyweight Champion) who was hand picked by Stephanie & Triple H. He was smarmy, vicious, and played the role perfectly. Orton then shifted to reforming another one of his groups within The Authority. More on that group in a bit. He would of course fall out with the group over their new golden boy Seth Rollins. That would lead to the best RKO in history, and that counts for something
2. Rated RKO with Edge
The best actual tag team Randy Orton has been a part of was alongside Edge as Rated RKO. In their short run together, Orton and Edge joined forces to take out D-X. The two would be successful in doing so, mocking Triple H and Shawn Michaels and attacking them relentlessly. Along the way, they defeated Ric Flair & Roddy Piper for the World Tag Team Championships and held them for 77 days. The team would go their separate ways around Wrestlemania 23.
Since then, we’ve had some reunions of the duo before Edge’s retirement in 2011. When Edge returned in the 2020 Royal Rumble, some were expecting a longer Rated RKO reunion – instead, Edge dumped Orton out before the Viper could strike. Their feud was good, even if the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” didn’t live up to the hype. It finally put a bow on Rated RKO, giving them a grand send off for the best tag team Orton’s ever been part of.
1. Evolution with Triple H, Ric Flair & Batista
Of course this group is number one. Evolution put Randy Orton on the map, and would continue to play a role in his feuds and groups for years to come. Orton was a hot-shot third generation superstar with some raw talent. Evolution took him to new heights, making him the youngest World Heavyweight Champion in history. He would be the first to be ousted from Evolution, but was made a main eventer in his year and a half with the group.
Evolution even got a second run in 2014, reuniting to face The Shield. While less successful as a trio than before, it highlighted just how good the group was. Orton and Batista both became multiple time world champions and eventual hall of famers. Their success can be tied back to their time in Evolution as the biggest group in the wrestling world.
That’s my list of Orton’s top groups & tag teams. Agree? Disagree? Let us know on Twitter at @FPC_Wrestling.