Photo by Sean Refer.
From day one, Randy Orton was destined to be a big star in professional wrestling. His pedigree, along with his look and natural athletic abilities, led him straight to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) at the ripe young age of 22. It didn't take long for him to catch on as a member of the Triple H led stable Evolution, who took over the WWE for a period of time as the biggest heels in the business.
This led to a major push , of course, as Orton was the member dubbed "the future" of the industry. He rose to the main event the right way, too, developing a character -- The Legend Killer -- and getting himself over with the help of both The Rock and Mick Foley, namely the latter. "The Hardcore Legend," ate a pin at WrestleMania in a tag match and then made Orton outright in a hardcore match at Backlash.
He also won the Intercontinental championship at Armageddon in 2003 and held it for the next seven months, establishing himself even further as a premiere player. When he dropped the belt, he did so for a push to the main event and a world heavyweight championship match against Chris Benoit at Summerslam, which took place on this date in history (Aug. 15, 2004).
After a fine match, Orton hit an RKO that got the pin to make him the youngest world heavyweight champion in WWE history and end Benoit's short and unmemorable reign with the title.
The next night on Raw, Evolution turned on Orton. Triple H, you see, was none too happy with the future coming too soon and didn't much like Orton winning the world heavyweight championship he had lost to Benoit at WrestleMania earlier in the year.
Just one month later, Orton dropped the title to Triple H at Unforgiven.
After the jump, watch Orton defeat Benoit at Summerslam.