This month, we’re marking 25 years since Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson debuted in WWE. Survivor Series 1996 feels like a long time ago for a lot of reasons; among them is the fact that we don’t see a lot of Johnson in the wrestling ring these days.
Another legend of the business isn’t that far behind Rocky, but - for me at least - it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since he arrived in WWE. Probably because Randy Orton’s never really left since his 2002 main roster debut. Next April, it will be 20 years since the third generation Superstar made his first television appearance, beating Bob Holly on SmackDown.
There have been a lot of matches since then. Enough that over the next few days The Viper should get his name etched in the WWE record books a couple more times. Tomorrow at Survivor Series will be his 177th PPV match. That will break his current tie with Kane for most in company history. Then, if he’s booked for a match on Monday’s Raw in Brooklyn, he’ll also surpass The Big Red Machine for most matches ever on that show.
After fans pointed these milestones out to Orton - and he checked their validity - he posted some tweets reflecting on them:
…that have done just that, kept my stats. Not just wins and losses, but damn near everything you could think of! It came to my attention that tomorrow at Survivor Series I’ll set a new record for most PPV matches by anyone in WWE history.— Randy Orton (@RandyOrton) November 20, 2021
…in light of these ‘stats’, and let everyone out there that’s ever supported me in any way know that I am thankful. I also know with all of my heart that I couldn’t have done it without you. Now on to my 15th Survivor Series…man time flies don’t it? #WWE #SurvivorSeries #RAW— Randy Orton (@RandyOrton) November 20, 2021
Randy is only 41, and while he takes occasional breaks, shows no sign of slowing down in general. By the time he does call it a career, who knows if his final numbers will ever be matched?
We’ll ponder that, and offer a hearty congratulations to someone who’s busted his ass to entertain us (and grown up before our eyes) over the course of the 21st century.