RKO OUTTA NOWHERE: CAN THE INTERNET SENSATION REGAIN THE TITLE? | RKO OUTTA NOWHERE: CAN THE INTERNET SENSATION REGAIN THE TITLE?

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RKO OUTTA NOWHERE: CAN THE INTERNET SENSATION REGAIN THE TITLE?

By Marc Auker

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) mega-star Randy Orton lost the WWE Championship to fellow wrestler Jinder Mahal at the Backlash pay-per-view (PPV) event back on May 21. Orton, commonly known as “The Viper,” squares off against Mahal at the upcoming Money in the Bank PPV to try to regain the belt.

If Money in the Bank is a spectator’s first WWE PPV viewing experience, that spectator would probably know Orton already from the depths of the internet. “The Viper” is the star of the popular internet meme “RKO Outta Nowhere.” The premise is simple: images of Randy Orton performing his signature finishing move, the RKO, are cropped into video clips of people/animals/objects falling to the ground while high-stress commentary from WWE commentators Jerry “The King” Lawler, Jim Ross and Michael Cole play in the background. The videos are so bizarre that they have become ever-sought-after by social media.

Orton was one of the most well-known WWE performers before the whole “RKO Outta Nowhere” movement, though. The son of former professional wrestler “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Orton made his professional wrestling debut in 2000 in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. Since then, he’s won 16 championships in the WWE, including nine WWE Championships and four WWE World Heavyweight Championships.

One of the most popular heels (“bad” characters) in WWE history, “The Viper” is one of those wrestlers that fans love to hate. Orton has made a career of teaming up with people who don’t play by the WWE’s rules, such as Edge and Bautista, which has earned him a “bad guy” persona within the context of the WWE story. Regardless of his actions within the WWE story, Orton has become one of the most-polarizing and most-decorated performers in WWE’s storied history.

A major part of Orton’s shtick is centered around the idea that he hears voices in his head. These voices cause him to do absolutely ruthless things to his opponents in the ring. One of the biggest parts of this shtick is Orton’s ability to use intense (sometimes hilarious) facial expressions to strike fear into his opponents. These facial expressions are often cropped into the “RKO Outta Nowhere” memes on social media to add to the hilarity.

When Mahal defeated Orton back on May 21, Mahal became the first wrestler of Indian decent to claim the WWE Championship. The main event of Money in the Bank will be Mahal’s first title defense since claiming the title. Orton has a history of ending championship runs with an RKO out of nowhere, and Mahal could very well be on the receiving end come the final bell; but Mahal is looking to make a statement in this match that he is here to stay as the new champion. One thing is for sure: WWE fans are in for a great match.

Money in the Bank begins at 8 p.m. EST on June 18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

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