A 13-time former WWE/World Champion, Randy Orton differs from many other ring veterans because he's spent his entire career within the WWE system. So for nearly 20 years, he's only tangled with those under contract to WWE and its developmental systems.
For this list, we're focusing on storyline rivalries The Viper had with wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike, not speculating on what may have happened backstage..
In counting down the Top 50 Randy Orton Rivalries, Wrestling Merchandise and Memories looked at the following criteria:
How prominent was the rivarly?
What type of stage(s) did it play out on?
How memorable were the matches and/or segments?
How much did the rivalry do to advance either person's career?
If you'd like to be a part of this conversation, Tweet us at @canadianbulldog using the hashtag #Top50, or leave a comment below.
Ready? Here we go!
When Randy Orton first debuted in WWE in 2002, his very first opponent was Hardcore Holly. They would have several matches on SmackDown, and clash again other times over the years as Orton's career blossomed, proving to be a very capable and consistent threat to The Viper.
The Dudley Boyz
When Randy Orton was a member of Evolution, he often found himself facing WWE Hall of Famer The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley). During one such tag team match in 2003 at a live event, Orton, Batista and Bubba were all injured afterwards.
Bad blood between Randy Orton and AJ Styles began following The Viper defeating The Phenomenal One at 2019's Elimination Chamber PPV. The two had a confrontation on SmackDown, which resulted in a challenge for a match at WrestleMania XXXV, which Styles won.
In 2010, Jack Swagger cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase for a surprising run as World Champion. He immediately drew the ire of Randy Orton, who demanded a title match at that year's Extreme Rules PPV. Swagger used a steel chair on Orton to pin his opponent.
In 2006, Randy Orton was in his Legend Killer phase and when WWE Hall of Famer Carlos Colon was shown in the audience on Raw, it seemed a natural that Orton would go after his son Carlito. He did, with The Apex Predator picking up a win over Carlito at that year's Unforgiven.
Sadly, this rivalrly was never able to reach its natural conclusion. In late-2005, WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero was feuding with his "friend" Batista when Randy Orton inserted himself into the situation. The night the three of them were set to do battle, Guerrero passed away.
Eugene was a constant thorn in the side of Evolution. Once Triple H turned on his "friend" Eugene, Randy Orton and other Evolution members were dispatched to destroy him, including several matches between the two men on Raw.
In 2003, WWE Hall of Famer Booker T was feuding with Triple H, so it made perfect sense that The Game would send his Evolution stablemate Randy Orton after Booker in a series of matches.
Alberto Del Rio
In 2012, Randy Orton engaged Alberto Del Rio in a heated rivalry that included matches at that year's Hell In A Cell PPV, a food fight on SmackDown, a falls count anywhere match and a Survivor Series match where the two were on opposite sides.
Randy Orton and Kane have clashed many times over the past decade. Perhaps their biggest match was a one-off at WrestleMania XXVIII, where Kane pulled off the upset. They feuded at Extreme Rules in 2012, where Orton abducted Kane's father Paul Bearer.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin retired shortly before Randy Orton became a star, so the two never competed in a match. But they definitely had a rivalrly when Austin was a GM on Raw and Orton was a member of Evolution.
Rob Van Dam
Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam battled several times over the years. In 2007, their rivalry led to a Stretcher Match at One Night Stand. While RVD won, Orton got his revenge weeks later on Raw, badly injuring Mr. Monday Night.
As part of a feud between Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes, WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes challenged The Legend Killer to a match. At that year's Great American Bash - a show Dusty himself invented - Orton took him on in a brutal Bullrope Match that ended with Orton pinning The American Dream.
In 2008, Randy Orton attacked CM Punk backstage, costing him the World Championship. Three years later, Punk attacked Orton to cost him the WWE Championship. This led to their bout at WrestleMania XXIX in a grudge match that even involved Orton's wife.
Jeff Hardy's rivalry with Randy Orton began in late-2008, when Hardy earned a WWE Championship match at the Royal Rumble. Hardy delivered a Swanton off a 30-foot structure onto a prone Apex Predator. The two reigninted their feud on SmackDown in 2019.
In 2009, Randy Orton declared war against Triple H and the McMahon family, and Shane McMahon came out of retirement to avenge Orton. This led to a No Holds Barred Match at the No Way Out PPV where Orton won.
Randy Orton and WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle had several memorable encounters in 2006. They were two-thirds of the World Title match at WrestleMania 22 and had a clash at King of the Ring, where Angle broke Orton's ankle. This was followed by matches at One Night Stand and Vengeance.
Randy Orton had many run-ins with Chris Jericho, dating back to 2004 when Orton was a member of Evolution. And in 2007, when Jericho returned to WWE, his very first target was The Viper, who was by then the WWE Champion.
While Christian and Randy Orton had several clashes early in their respective careers, 2011 was the apex of their rivalry. Orton defeated a newly-minted World Champion Christian, leading to "One More Match" at Over The Limit... and Capitol Punishment... and Money In The Bank... and finally at SummerSlam.
When Randy Orton began solidifying his reputation as The Legend Killer, he targeted WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, leading to a big match at 2003's Unforgiven. They ended up on opposite sides over the years, including a D-Generation X vs. Rated RKO feud and a main event at Survivor Series 2007.
In 2014, The Authority teased tension between key members Randy Orton and Seth Rollins. The group turned on Orton, leading to an absence from the ring. Orton returned in time for a match against Rollins at WrestleMania XXXI, and rematches when Rollins became WWE Champion.
In 2008, Randy Orton decided to form The Legacy, a faction that included Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. For over a year, Orton and DiBiase faithfully protected their leader but the group split in 2010, leading to a triple threat match at WrestleMania XXVI.
In 2006, Randy Orton delivered a crushing blow to Rey Mysterio when he suggested that Mysterio's best friend Eddie Guerrero was "in hell". Orton then snagged Mysterio's WrestleMania XXII title shot at No Way Out, although the two (along with Kurt Angle) still clashed in an epic match at WrestleMania.
Immediately after Daniel Bryan captured the WWE Championship at SummerSlam 2013, he was ambushed by Randy Orton (and referee Triple H), establishing The Authority. Bryan and Orton had a lengthy series of rematches over the next year, culminating in a Triple Threat Match in the main event of WrestleMania XXX.
Triple H was Randy Orton's mentor when Evolution began, although The Game turned on him after Orton captured the World Championship in 2004. Following that feud, Triple H and Orton picked things up again with rivalries at both WrestleMania XXIV and WrestleMania XXV, both matches featured as a main event.
Randy Orton and Mr. Kennedy found themselves on opposite sides of the ring many times in the late 2000s. After a botched suplex by Kennedy in one such match, Orton apparently lobbied behind the scenes to get Kennedy fired - an example of a kayfabe rivalry turning real.
The Big Show
The Big Show has faced Randy Orton many times over the years during their respective WWE runs. In 2013, Orton defeated him at Extreme Rules that year, and also at Survivor Series in the main event, where The Viper was WWE Champion.
Frequent opponents over the years, the peak of the rivalry between Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler took place in 2012. At that year's Night Of The Champions, Ziggler thought he had what it took to beat The Apex Predator, but was proven wrong.
In 2003, WWE Hall of Famer Goldberg was feuding with Triple H, who sent Randy Orton and other members of Evolution into battle with Da Man. The Viper ended up on the losing side during a series of tag team and six man tag matches that fall.
In 2017, Jinder Mahal challenged Randy Orton to a match for the WWE Championship at that year's Backlash. Due to the help of The Singh Brothers, Mahal won the title and successfully defended it against Orton a few months later at Battleground.
WWE Hall of Famer Sgt. Slaughter was one of the legends that Randy Orton targeted during his Legend Killer run in 2003. The two faced off during a Raw Roulette Match and had one more match, several years later as part of 2007's Old School RAW.
The Miz first drew the ire of Randy Orton in November 2010, when he waited until Orton had defeated Wade Barrett in a hard-fought match before cashing in his Money In The Bank contract on him and winning the WWE Championship.
Brock Lesnar's return to WWE from the UFC happened at SummerSlam 2016, where he faced Randy Orton in the main event. Lesnar pulverized Orton's head, causing the referee to stop the match.
Bad blood between Wade Barrett and Randy Orton began when Barrett was running Nexus and had challenged WWE Champion Orton at the Bragging Rights PPV. Barrett had secured the services of a reluctant John Cena, leading to a controversial rematch at Survivor Series.
Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton teamed several times, but they have been on opposide sides as well. At WrestleMania XXIX, Orton teamed with Sheamus and The Big Show in a loss to The Shield. And in 2014, Ambrose was a challenger to Orton's WWE Championship.
Although Randy Orton and WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry had been in the company together for years, their first major confrontation took place at Night Of Champions in 2011, where Henry pinned Orton to capture his career first World Championship.
As The Legend Killer, it was only a matter of time before Randy Orton targeted WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan. After hitting on his daughter and attacking Hogan on Saturday Night's Main Event, the two battled on the SummerSlam 2006 PPV.
Although WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair began as a mentor to Randy Orton, that relationship ended when Orton was booted out of Evolution in 2004. This led to a brutal Steel Cage Match at Taboo Tuesday, which surprisingly ended with the two shaking hands.
In 2004, Randy Orton emerged as the top contender to Chris Benoit's World Championship. He challenged Benoit to a match in the main event of SummerSlam, which saw Orton became the youngest World Champion ever.
Roman Reigns had just become a singles wrestler following the demise of The Shield, and Randy Orton prevented Reigns from getting a shot at the WWE Championship. The two battled at SummerSlam in 2014, with Reigns winning.
In 2009, Randy Orton didn't expect the affable Kofi Kingston to be a threat. The two had a series of matches on Raw, leading to a final contest at TLC. They picked the feud up again a decade later on SmackDown.
There has always been a rocky relationship between Randy Orton and Stephanie McMahon, even when the two were cornerstones of The Authority. In 2009, Orton threatened The Billion Dollar Princess because of his Intermittent Explosive Disorder, DDT'ing her right in front of her husband.
Sheamus and Randy Orton appear to have an intense dislike for each other. In 2010, Orton claimed the WWE Championship from Sheamus, leading to matches at SummerSlam and Hell In A Cell. Five years later, they feuded again, including another match at SummerSlam.
Randy Orton began battling Bray Wyatt in the fall of 2015, with the two of them involved in a handful of singles and tag team matches. Two years later, after Orton briefly became part of The Wyatt Family, they were in a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XXXIII.
In 2009, Randy Orton was set to clash with Triple H at WrestleMania, when father-in-law Vince McMahon confronted The Viper. The Chairman received a punt kick to the head for his troubles, one of the most savage beatings McMahon has ever taken.
Randy Orton and Batista began as stablemates in Evolution, so it was inevitable they would become rivals. After a series of matches iwhen Orton was dropped from the group, they rekindled the rivalry on SmackDown in 2009. They were also part of the WrestleMania XXX Triple Threat main event.
In 2003, WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley returned to WWE to accept an award and was beaten down by Randy Orton. This led to a match at WrestleMania XX, with Evolution going against Foley and The Rock. Eventually, Foley and Orton had a brutal no holds barred match at Backlash 2004, one of either man's greatest bouts.
Years before they were Rated RKO, Randy Orton and WWE Hall of Famer Edge were feuding over the Intercontinental Championship. After their team broke up, they had a grudge match at 2010's Over The Limit. And in 2020, the two faced off at WrestleMania XXXVI in a brutal Last Man Standing Match.
In their lead-up to WrestleMania XXI, Randy Orton turned heel to make his rivalry with The Undertaker even more intense. After WrestleMania, they had several rematches, culminating in a Hell In A Cell Match at 2005's Armageddon.
Randy Orton and John Cena are two of the biggest rivals in wrestling history. They first faced off as rookies in Ohio Valley Wrestling. By 2005, both men were poster boys for WWE's Ruthless Aggression Era and began facing each other with increasing regularity. In 2009, they faced each other in key matches at five consecutive pay-per-views - Night of Champions, SummerSlam, Breaking Point, Hell In A Cell and Bragging Rights.