Being a member of Evolution took Randy Orton to new heights, but embracing ‘The Legend Killer’ persona established him as one the biggest heels to come out of the Attitude Era. Because of the persona, Randy Orton started feuds with WWE legends like The Undertaker, Mick Foley, Shawn Michaels and many others. Even his peers like John Cena and Brock Lesnar were not able to achieve that.
After spending a year with Evolution, Randy Orton started building his own character. On an episode of WWE RAW in November 2003, Randy Orton entered the ring and shook Fabulous Moolah’s hand. He introduced himself as The Legend Killer and delivered an RKO to then 80-year-old. He received many boos and negative responses which helped build his new heel character.
After getting a huge response, WWE decided to evolve The Legend Killer character. Randy Orton started numerous feuds with well-respected names in wrestling and gained a huge fan base by disrespecting the legends. With the help of mentor Ric Flair, Randy Orton defeated Shawn Michaels at Unforgiven in the first ‘Legend vs. Legend Killer’ match. He then defeated Rob Van Dam to become the new Intercontinental Champion which developed his Legend Killer persona.
In 2004, Randy Orton continued to establish himself as a Legend Killer. He started a feud with then semi-retired Mick Foley and the two featured in many matches. Mick Foley and Randy Orton then clashed in another ‘Legend vs. Legend Killer’ match for the Intercontinental Championship at Backlash. Randy Orton won the match by punishing Mick Foley with barbed wire bats.
After establishing himself as one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions and The Legend Killer, Randy Orton continued to develop his persona. He started a spat with Harley Race and went pn to face Shelton Benjamin. After successfully defending his title for more than a year, Randy Orton lost to Edge at Vengeance. However, his Legend Killer persona didn’t take a hit with the loss.
After becoming the youngest WWE Heavyweight champion at SummerSlam 2004, Randy Orton kept on developing his character. And though he lost the title to Triple H afterwards, he gained a new rival in ‘The Undertaker’. Randy Orton’s rivalry with The Undertaker made him a standalone superstar. According to Triple H, after Randy Orton vs The Undertaker at WrestleMania 21, Randy Orton didn’t need Evolution’s support. Though he lost the ‘Legend vs Legend Killer’ match at WrestleMania 21, Randy Orton was able to display an incredible performance. He even won The Undertaker’s respect after the match.
After WrestleMania 21, Randy Orton kept on attracting fans and featured in memorable rivalries. He even fought John Cena plenty of times and defeated him on numerous occasions. He went on to become a 13-time WWE champion. These days, Randy Orton doesn’t use The Legend Killer persona because according to many, he has become a legend in WWE.