Randy Orton opens up about pain pre-spinal fusion surgery, credits Matt Riddle for taking brunt of physicality

Photo Courtesy: WWE

Orton feels he has a lot left in the tank. 

At WWE’s Survivor Series: WarGames Premium Live Event, Randy Orton made his return and was in action for the first time since May 2022. Orton had been sidelined after undergoing spinal fusion surgery. 

In his first interview since his comeback, Orton sat down with Logan Paul to record episode #401 of the IMPAULSIVE podcast. Orton expressed that he’s not going anywhere and has no plans to transition to Hollywood. He dove into his recent time off and facing the possibility of never being able to wrestle again. 

Pre-surgery, Orton said he struggled with standing for more than a couple of minutes without pain shooting down his legs and he had a disc that was slipping. He went on to give props to now-free agent Matt Riddle. The duo held the Raw Tag Team Championships on two separate occasions. Orton said for the year prior to his surgery, Riddle took the brunt of the physicality in their matches and he could not have continued at the pace he was moving at without Riddle. 

I’m gonna be here for the rest — this is me. I’m not moving on to Hollywood. I love what I do. I just had 18 months off recovering from a spinal fusion. So, I was kind of faced with the fact that I might not be able to do this again. So it’s almost like I got a second lease on my career here and I’m not gonna take a day for granted, and not a second in that ring for granted and so now, even now, more so than the matches you (Logan Paul) would have seen when you first started or a couple years ago when you first started, I’m feeling even more in my element now. 

I changed a lot of stuff off this last 18 months. I really needed the time. I had a lot of ailments. Of course, I couldn’t stand for more than a couple minutes without having pain shoot down my legs. When I would sit, I had a disc that was slipping every time I would bend, so you know, on a plane, sitting here, my feet would go numb and I’d have pain shooting down my legs. Oh, it really sucked. It really was hard. That last year before I had to leave because of the back, I was in a tag team with former WWE superstar Matt Riddle and I got to give him props because that year we tagged together, I was not able to be in that ring unless I was in there with someone like him, because he was able to take the brunt of the physicality. He tagged me at the end, I’d come in… I’d do my sh*t and if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have made it that far but I had some great doctors, they fixed me up right. They didn’t cut through any muscle which would enable me to get back in the ring, because once you start cutting muscle, that’s never gonna heal back, you’re done. So I’m just blessed all the way around and blessed to have learned the little tidbit of knowledge I gained. I learned that from guys like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker and I’m so lucky to have gotten into the business when I did. 

As far as the future goes, Orton feels he has a lot left in the tank. He is 43 years of age and has tallied up 20-plus years with WWE. 

And that’s kind of my big thing is how long can I do it? I’m already the longest tenured WWE superstar in history and it sounds weird because I’m 43. I just got started early. Not that I’m a spring chicken or anything now, but I still feel like I got a lot of gas in the tank. Longevity is everything to me.

Orton is a member of the SmackDown roster after choosing to join the brand so he can get revenge on The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Solo Sikoa & Jimmy Uso). 

His first singles match back was against Dominik Mysterio on the 11/27 Monday Night Raw. Orton expressed how proud he is of Dominik and feels the feud with Rey is what took him to that next level. 

Rey (Mysterio) took care of me back in the day. So I wrestled Dom last (Monday) night on Raw. I don’t know if you guys saw it or not. But, it was such a pleasure to be out there with him and just to get to be out there knowing like, oh my God, I know your dad’s at home watching. I wanna make your dad proud, you know? It was a great feeling. I am so proud of Dom as well and I know exactly what you’re talking about. When he first started coming up and Rey brought him around, it’s like, oh… This kid needs another f*cking 10 years and he needs to go fight in a war or something and come back grizzled. There was something about him… the tattoos helped. He’s got it now. That (feud with Rey) set it off and I remember that night and I texted Rey and Dom that night and I wanna say he either clotheslined his father or kicked his dad in the nuts, but Rey is such a lovable guy… and we all grew up 20 years ago, fans saw Dominik on television. He was involved in storylines, so everyone saw this cute, little kid and now here he is and he’s disrespecting his father who we adore? Yeah, boo.

The 12/8 Friday Night SmackDown is going to be a Tribute to the Troops edition of the program. On the 12/1 show, Orton was outnumbered by Sikoa and Jimmy Uso but making the save was L.A. Knight. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit IMPAULSIVE with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 7737 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.