From John “Johnny Ace” Laurinaitis’ Ace Crusher, to Diamond Dallas Page’s Diamond Cutter, the cutter finishing move had been adapted to a quicker and smoother move, courtesy of Randy Orton’s RKO — because his full name is Randal Keith Orton; RKO; get it? The move is quick, beautiful, and very destructive, yet his most memorable RKO deliveries involved putting his opponents through tables, flipping them over, and — my favorite — catching them mid-air. Without further ado, here are some of my notable favorite RKO’s delivered by the WWE’s Apex Predator himself.
1) Stephanie McMahon
Just when Orton was going through is “insane/paranoia” period during his rivalry with Triple H, Orton delivered an RKO to Shane McMahon, and later another one to HHH’s wife, Stephanie. The move was pretty vicious-looking, plus it was delivered on a woman, but what added to the shock was the look on Orton’s face afterward, as if he couldn’t believe what he just done
2) Rob Van Dam
In wrestling — like in life — things often don’t go as well as planned; that’s an understatement about this RKO to RVD. This one just skips elegance and grace and just comes off as 100% destructive and violent as RVD’s head just gets impaled into the canvas, rather than landing flat on his face. Picture a human nail getting hammered into wood. Or, just watch the above clip.
3) Dolph Ziggler
First things first: Dolph Ziggler IS. THE. MAN! Here’s a guy who is a solid physical performers, moves like a magical gazelle in the ring, charismatic to a T (a capital “T”), and can sell so good that he could sell racism to a racist (yup, that good, or bad, or…something). Anyway, Ziggler had just avoided one RKO attempt, only to end up getting dropped and bounced off the canvas, setting him up to get RKO’d. It’s like physics in the ring!
If you live by the top rope, you’ll die by the top rope; Carlito, are you listening? Here’s the thing: if you launch yourself from the top rope for a devastating aerial maneuver, for a split-second you are at the mercy of gravity and have almost no way of defending yourself. Orton made sure Carlito understood this risk and demonstrated it by smoothly RKO’ing the unsuspecting Carlito mid-air.
BONUS: Unfortunately, Evan Borne never saw that demonstration:
DOUBLE BONUS: As a congratulatory prize from me to you, the PractitioNERD readers, enjoy this near 30 minute-long montage of Randy Orton delivering RKO after RKO after RKO after RKO after…well, you get the picture.