One of Orton's first official WWF appearances was March 16, 2002 at WrestleMania X8's Fan Axxess, where he was defeated by Tommy Dreamer. Orton's first televised WWF match was against Hardcore Holly on SmackDown! on April 25, 2002. Soon after, Orton became a fan favorite and was placed in a series of matches with Holly. In September 2002, Orton was drafted to the Raw brand, where he defeated Stevie Richards in his debut on the show. Within weeks of his debut on the Raw brand, Orton suffered a shoulder injury, leaving him sidelined for months. While recovering, Orton still appeared on Raw in his own Randy News Network segment, a weekly vignette featuring him talking about his condition. The show interrupted other segments of Raw programming, which caused Orton to slowly transition himself into a narcissistic and self-centered villain.
After his injury healed, Orton joined the Evolution stable, which consisted of Ric Flair, Triple H, and relative newcomer, Dave Batista. The group was pushed on Raw from 2003 to 2004, with the height of their dominance occurring after Armageddon in 2003 when all of the men's titles on Raw were held by the members of Evolution. In 2003, Orton spent much of his time helping Triple H overcome challenges for the World Heavyweight Championship. Orton joined Triple H in a six-man Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam, involved primarily to secure Triple H's title defense, and was eliminated by Goldberg, but the stable managed to fulfill its purpose and Triple H went on to eliminate Goldberg and thus retain his title.
Afterwards, Orton proclaimed himself "The Legend Killer", a young upstart who was so talented that he touted himself as the future of professional wrestling. He embarked on numerous storyline feuds with "legendary" wrestlers and gained infamy for his blatant disrespect of many older, well-respected names in wrestling history. With the help of his stablemate and mentor Ric Flair, he defeated Shawn Michaels at Unforgiven in the first of many high profile matches billed as "Legend versus Legend Killer." Orton then spat in the face of Harley Race on the April 26, 2004, episode of Raw.
During this time, Orton began using the move that would become his signature finisher, the RKO, a jumping cutter named after his initials. Orton soon defeated Rob Van Dam for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Armageddon on December 14, 2003. With this win, Orton started the longest Intercontinental title reign in seven years, holding the title for seven months.
Orton continued to establish himself as a "Legend Killer" throughout 2004, challenging the semi-retired wrestler Mick Foley. Famed for his hardcore matches and ability to handle excruciating pain, Foley offered Orton a hardcore "Legend versus Legend Killer" match if Orton would put his Intercontinental Championship on the line. At Backlash, in a bloody match involving thumbtacks and barbed wire, Orton defeated Foley. Two months later at Bad Blood, he successfully retained the Intercontinental Championship against Shelton Benjamin.
In July, at Vengeance, Edge defeated Orton to win the Intercontinental Championship, ending Orton's seven-month title reign. After losing the Intercontinental Championship, Orton became the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship after winning a 20 man battle royal on July 26. At SummerSlam, Orton defeated Chris Benoit for the championship. Orton became the youngest person ever to hold the title in WWE history at the age of 24. Benoit congratulated Orton after the match, shaking his hand for showing the ability to "be a man."
The following night, after Orton successfully defended the championship against Benoit in a rematch, Evolution threw Orton a mock celebration, only to reveal that they were not pleased with his new victory.
While Batista had Orton propped on his shoulders in elation, Triple H gave him a pleased thumbs up and then abruptly changed it to a thumbs-down, which was followed by Batista's dropping Orton to the mat. Ric Flair and Batista attacked Orton in the ring as Triple H revealed his jealousy for Orton's title. He ordered Orton to hand over the championship, but he refused, spitting in Triple H's face and hitting him with the title belt. Orton's break-up with Evolution began a new storyline for him as a crowd favorite when he continued to feud with his former stablemates. A month later, Orton lost his championship to Triple H at Unforgiven. Seeking revenge, Orton lashed out at Evolution members, catching them by surprise during a show by giving them a large cake as a make-up gift, which he came out of to beat and humiliate the group. At Taboo Tuesday, Orton defeated Ric Flair in a Steel Cage match. After this, Orton experienced another push, becoming General Manager of the Raw brand for a week following a match stipulation at Survivor Series where he picked up the win for his team by last pinning Triple H in a 4 on 4 Survivor Series match. He continued to feud with Triple H, using his authority to place his opponents at severe disadvantages during title defenses. Orton was granted another chance at the championship in January 2005, but lost a six-man championship Elimination Chamber match to Triple H at New Year's Revolution. On the January 10 episode of Raw, Orton defeated Batista to earn a match against Triple H at the Royal Rumble for the World Heavyweight title. At the Royal Rumble, Triple H defeated Orton to retain the World title.
Orton began an on-screen relationship with Stacy Keibler and briefly feuded with Christian in February 2005. On the February 28 episode of Raw, "Superstar" Billy Graham made an appearance, in which he advised Orton to "go where no wrestler had gone before". Orton then produced a copy of SmackDown! magazine, which featured The Undertaker on the cover. Heeding Graham's advice, Orton claimed that he would set himself apart from all other wrestlers by ending The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Throughout March 2005, Orton taunted The Undertaker, claiming he was unafraid of him. On the March 21 episode of Raw, Orton turned into a villain once more after he delivered an RKO to his unsuspecting on-screen girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, knocking her unconscious. During Orton's promos, he would immediately run for cover when signs of The Undertaker's appearance were near (lightning, darkness, or smoke). When legendary wrestler Jake Roberts advised Orton not to underestimate The Undertaker, Orton performed an RKO on Roberts as well. In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, Orton became more defiant and unafraid of The Undertaker, taunting and assaulting him in the ring following distractions from his father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton. At WrestleMania 21, however, the heavily hyped match was unsuccessful for Orton, as he lost despite his father's interference.
The following night on Raw, Orton faced Batista, who had become World Heavyweight Champion. Orton stated on-screen that his match with The Undertaker had aggravated a shoulder injury. While sidelined, Orton appeared on Raw and claimed that he was ineligible for the WWE Draft Lottery due to his injury. He was informed by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon that he was indeed a candidate for the draft, leaving a possibility of a return to SmackDown!. Orton returned to WWE programming for the SmackDown! brand on June 16, announcing that he was the second pick in the 2005 draft lottery. He rekindled his feud with The Undertaker, defeating him at SummerSlam following a distraction from his father. Two months later, Orton and his father Bob Orton defeated The Undertaker in a Handicap Casket match. The following month, Orton was a participant in the annual elimination match of Team SmackDown against Team Raw at Survivor Series. In the match, Orton was the last remaining wrestler in the match, as he pinned Shawn Michaels to get the victory for Team SmackDown. At the event, The Undertaker, who had been absent since Orton had apparently killed him on an episode of SmackDown!, returned by emerging from a flaming casket. The feud was finally settled with a Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon, where The Undertaker offered to retire if he lost. On December 16, The Undertaker entered the ring to deliver a promo while one of his druids appeared to be standing in the ring. The Undertaker sustained an RKO from Orton in a surprise attack. The druid revealed himself to be Orton's father, who gave Orton The Undertaker's urn, which, according to the storyline, allowed whomever held it to control The Undertaker. The Undertaker, however, beat both Ortons in a Hell in a Cell match, ending their nine-month-long feud.
Following Armageddon, Orton entered the 2006 Royal Rumble match as the thirtieth and final wrestler, but he was eliminated by Rey Mysterio. Mysterio won the match and a title shot, and Orton urged him to put the title shot at stake in a match at No Way Out. In the weeks preceding No Way Out, Orton made disparaging remarks about Eddie Guerrero, Mysterio's friend who had died a few months previously, in an attempt to gain villain heat. Many fans felt the comments were unwarranted and highly distasteful so soon after Guerrero's death in November 2005. Orton won at No Way Out, earning Mysterio's title shot for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 22. General Manager Theodore Long re-added Mysterio to the WrestleMania 22 title match, however, making it a Triple Threat match between Orton, Mysterio, and then-champion, Kurt Angle. On April 2, at WrestleMania 22, Orton was pinned by Mysterio, making Mysterio the World Heavyweight Champion and ending their on-screen rivalry.
On April 4, 2006, Orton was suspended for sixty days. To cover for the suspension, a faked injury was devised, where Kurt Angle broke Orton's ankle during a grudge match. Orton returned from his suspension in June to the Raw brand, where he entered a rivalry with Angle, culminating in matches at One Night Stand and Vengeance before engaging in a storyline feud with Hulk Hogan. Orton began cutting promos insulting the aging Hogan and flirted with Hogan's then-eighteen-year-old daughter Brooke. At SummerSlam, the two met in a "Legend vs. Legend Killer" match, which Hogan won.
After the newly reformed D-Generation X (DX) (Triple H and Shawn Michaels) cost Edge the WWE Championship numerous times, Edge approached Orton and asked him to join forces to defeat the team. Orton, whose championship reign had been ended by Triple H in 2004, agreed, forming the tag team Rated-RKO. The two became the first to defeat DX since their reunion and quickly dominated the Raw brand's tag team division to become tag team champions. As part of the angle, Rated-RKO attacked Ric Flair with steel chairs to enrage DX on November 27. At New Year's Revolution, Rated-RKO faced DX in a title defense, but the match was declared a no-contest when Triple H suffered a legitimate injury during the match. With Triple H out of action, Rated-RKO continued their on-screen rivalry with remaining DX member Shawn Michaels. Michaels teamed with John Cena to defeat Rated-RKO for the tag team championship on January 29. Orton and Edge suffered a series of losses to Cena and Michaels in the following months, building hatred towards one another. Edge and Orton also became rivals in their goals of achieving the WWE Championship. Neither Edge nor Orton won the Championship, and they lost their claims as number one contenders after a failed match with Cena at Backlash. Orton then continued his "Legend Killer" persona, attacking Shawn Michaels. Using frequent attacks to the head, including an elevated DDT and a running punt to the face, Orton defeated Michaels at Judgment Day. When the kayfabe wounded and concussed Michaels collapsed in the ring, the referee was forced to stop the match and award Orton the victory. Orton continued his attacks when he engaged himself in feuds with Rob Van Dam, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and Sgt. Slaughter.
On the July 23 episode of Raw, Orton was named as the number one contender at SummerSlam for John Cena's WWE Championship. Weeks before their scheduled bout at SummerSlam, Orton attacked Cena on three separate occasions by performing RKOs on him. At SummerSlam, Orton lost the title match to Cena, who pinned Orton after executing an FU. The following night on Raw, Orton demanded a rematch for the title, but his request was declined by Raw General Manager William Regal. Orton then took his demands to Mr. McMahon, who also refused to give Orton a rematch unless he proved himself. That night, Orton interfered in Cena's match by assaulting Cena and kicking Cena's father, who was at ringside, in the head. Orton was granted his title rematch against Cena at Unforgiven and won by disqualification when Cena refused to stop punching Orton in the corner; however, Cena retained the WWE title because a title cannot change hands by disqualification. After the match, Cena's father, who was again at ringside, kicked Orton in the head. At No Mercy, Orton was awarded the WWE Championship by Mr. McMahon after Cena was stripped of the title due to an injury the previous week, which also ended the Orton-Cena storyline prematurely. Orton then lost the title to Triple H in the opening match of the show, making Orton's reign the fourth shortest in WWE history. Later in the night, Orton defeated Triple H in a Last Man Standing match to regain the title, thus becoming a two-time WWE Champion in one night.
Following No Mercy, Orton continued his feud with Shawn Michaels, who made his return on the October 8 episode of Raw and performed Sweet Chin Music on Orton. The two met in a title match at Cyber Sunday after a match was made in which the fans would get to vote on either Michaels, Jeff Hardy or Mr. Kennedy as the opponent. As a result, Michaels was voted to face Orton. In the match, Orton was disqualified when he performed a low blow on Michaels, but Orton retained the title. In a scheduled rematch, Orton successfully defended the title at Survivor Series against Michaels when he performed the RKO on Michaels for the win. The stipulation of the match was that if Michaels used Sweet Chin Music, the match would be stopped and Michaels would never get a chance at the WWE title, but if Orton got himself disqualified, he would lose the title.
After weeks of intensity between the two, Orton defeated Jeff Hardy to retain the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. Following this, he re-engaged in his feud with John Cena, who had returned from injury and won the 2008 Royal Rumble match. Instead of cashing in his title opportunity at WrestleMania XXIV, Cena decided to face Orton for the title at No Way Out. Orton lost the match after getting himself intentionally disqualified, thus retaining the title. At WrestleMania, Orton retained the WWE Championship in a Triple Threat match involving Cena and Triple H. Orton won the match by pinning Cena after a Pedigree from Triple H. The following month, at Backlash, Orton lost the title to Triple H in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match, which also included Cena and John "Bradshaw" Layfield. After failing to win the title back at Judgment Day, Orton faced Triple H in a Last Man Standing match at One Night Stand for the title. Orton lost the match and legitimately broke his collarbone. During this time, Orton dropped his Legend Killer gimmick and replaced it with his new gimmick known as The Viper and debuted his new entrance music, Voices.
Just before he made his return, Orton re-injured himself in a motorcycle accident, and, to keep on-screen exposure, he made an unexpected return to Raw at the beginning of September, criticizing all of the champions on the brand. Heel tag team Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase took exception to this and tried to gain his respect. Unsuccessful until the pay-per-view event Unforgiven, the two of them, alongside new recruit Manu, assaulted World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk, costing him his title. He made his in-ring return on the November 3 episode of Raw losing to Punk by disqualification after Ted DiBiase interfered. In retaliation, Orton punted DiBiase in the head. On the December 1 episode of Raw, Orton proposed that he along with Cody Rhodes and Manu form an alliance. The following week, they made it official by defeating Batista and Triple H, Orton's former stablemates, in a three-on-two handicap match, dubbing themselves The Legacy. On January 25, 2009, Orton won the 2009 Royal Rumble match by last eliminating Triple H. On the March 2 episode of Raw, Orton challenged Triple H for the WWE title at WrestleMania XXV, where Orton lost the match. Orton, however, won the title at Backlash in a six-man tag team match with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase, facing off against Triple H, Batista, and Shane McMahon. At Extreme Rules, he dropped the title to Batista in a Steel Cage match. The following night on Raw, Orton and Legacy attacked Batista and (kayfabe) broke his arm, forcing him to vacate the title. It was later revealed that Batista was suffering from a torn biceps and Legacy was given on-screen credit for his injury. On the June 15 episode of Raw, Orton regained the title in a Fatal Four-Way match involving Triple H, John Cena and The Big Show. Orton later lost the title to John Cena in an "I Quit" match at Breaking Point, but defeated Cena to win back the championship in a Hell in a Cell match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in October. At Bragging Rights, Orton lost the title to Cena in a 60 minute Iron Man match.
On the January 11, 2010, episode of Raw, Orton won a triple threat match, with the help of Rhodes and DiBiase, to challenge Sheamus at the Royal Rumble for the WWE Championship. At the Royal Rumble, however, Orton failed to win the championship when Rhodes interfered, causing a disqualification. After the match, Orton attacked Rhodes and DiBiase. On the February 15 episode of Raw, Orton was again disqualified in a rematch after Rhodes and DiBiase interfered. Orton and DiBiase both competed in the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, and DiBiase eliminated Orton after hitting him with a pipe which Rhodes had passed to him. The next night on Raw, in a six-man tag team match, Orton attacked Rhodes and DiBiase in retaliation. At WrestleMania XXVI, Orton defeated Rhodes and DiBiase in a triple threat match, turning him into a fan favorite in the process for the first time since 2005.
Following his departure from Legacy, Orton, now playing a babyface role, faced Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship at Extreme Rules in April, however, he was unsuccessful in defeating Swagger which he failed to recapture the World title. After being speared by Edge, resulting in Orton losing a number one contender's match for the WWE Championship, on the WWE Draft episode of Raw, he faced Edge at the Over the Limit pay-per-view, but separated his right shoulder during the match, which concluded in a double countout. At Fatal 4-Way in June, Orton competed in a fatal four-way match for the WWE Championship against John Cena, Sheamus and Edge but came up short. On the July 19 episode of Raw, he won a number one contender's match against Edge and Chris Jericho giving him a match against Sheamus at SummerSlam. At the event, Sheamus was disqualified for bringing a steel chair into the match giving Orton the victory, however, not the title. Immediately afterwards Orton took the steel chair and hit Sheamus with it and gave him an RKO. Orton defeated John Cena, Chris Jericho, Wade Barrett, Edge and Sheamus in a Six-Pack Challenge Elimination Match to become WWE Champion for the sixth time at Night of Champions.
After defending his title against Sheamus at Hell in a Cell, Orton feuded with Wade Barrett, who attempted to use John Cena to help capture Orton's championship. After successfully defending his title against Barrett at Bragging Rights and Survivor Series, Orton defeated Barrett again on the November 22 episode of Raw, only to lose his title immediately afterwards to The Miz, who cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Orton failed to recapture the title after losing a Tables match to The Miz at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view and again in a singles match at the Royal Rumble in January 2011 after interference from the New Nexus starting a feud between Orton and CM Punk. The following month at the Elimination Chamber event Orton participated in the Raw Elimination Chamber match but was unsuccessful in winning. Over the ongoing weeks, Orton would punt all members of the New Nexus, Michael McGillicutty, David Otunga, and Mason Ryan, removing each, one by one, from active competition. At WrestleMania XXVII, Orton defeated Punk in a singles match. On the April 11 episode of Raw, McGillicutty, Otunga and Ryan returned and cost Orton a number one contender's match for the WWE Championship. Two weeks later, at the 2011 WWE Draft, Orton was drafted to SmackDown and beat Punk in a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules thus ending his feud with New Nexus.
On April 29 episode of SmackDown, Orton made his debut his match in a tag team match with Christian against Alberto Del Rio and Brodus Clay. The following week, Orton received a title opportunity against World Heavyweight Champion, Christian. Orton was successful in defeating Christian to win his second World Heavyweight Championship. At Over the Limit and Capitol Punishment, Orton successfully defended his championship against Christian. In July at Money in the Bank, Orton lost the title to Christian after Christian spat in his face, which led Orton to lose control of his temper, kick Christian in the groin and get disqualified, in a match where the stipulation was if Orton got himself disqualified, or if the referee made a "bad call", Christian would automatically win the championship. A month later, at the SummerSlam pay-per-view event, Orton regained the title when he defeated Christian in a No Holds Barred match. Orton ended his feud with Christian when he retained the World Championship in a Steel Cage Match on the August 30 episode of SmackDown.
Orton then entered a feud with Mark Henry after Henry became the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship and over the next few weeks, Henry would attack Orton, getting the advantage over him. At Night of Champions, Orton lost the World Heavyweight title Henry, and failed to regain it two weeks later at Hell in a Cell. On the October 14 edition of Smackdown, Orton received another title shot against Henry after winning a 41 man battle royal, he was successful in winning the match by disqualification but failed to win the title after interference from rival Cody Rhodes. He then defeated Rhodes at Vengeance, and on the November 4 episode of Smackdown in a Street Fight.
Orton would re-ignite his feud with Wade Barrett after both superstars were named captain for a traditional 5 on 5 Survivor Series elimination match. On the November 11 episode of SmackDown, Orton was defeated by Barrett in a singles match, however on the November 14 episode of Raw, Orton won in a rematch by disqualification. His team was defeated at Survivor Series with Barrett and Cody Rhodes being the sole survivors. Barrett would then begin attack and distract Orton during matches, getting the advantage. At Tables, Ladders, & Chairs, Orton defeated Barrett in a tables match hitting the RKO mid-air with Barrett landing through the table. Barrett and Orton would continue their feud on the December 23 episode of SmackDown, where they engaged in a brawl that ended backstage with Barrett getting hit with a RKO onto a car. This led to a Falls Count Anywhere match on December 30 episode of Smackdown, where Barrett pushed Orton down a set of stairs, resulting in a herniated disc that would take Orton off television for a number of weeks On January 27, 2012 edition of SmackDown, he returned to the ring and attacked Barrett. On the February 3 edition of SmackDown, Orton defeated Barrett in a No Disqualification match to end the feud.
On the February 14 edition of Raw SuperShow, Orton suffered a concussion after World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan smashed Orton over the head with the title belt. Due to the injury, Orton was taken out of his elimination chamber match at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view and was replaced by Santino Marella. Orton returned on the March 2 episode of SmackDown, losing to Bryan by count-out, following interference from Kane, who then attacked Orton after the match. In retaliation, Orton hit Kane with an RKO on the March 5 edition of Raw Supershow, after the latter defeated R-Truth. On the following SmackDown, Orton would hit Kane with another RKO before his match and they would later engage in a brawl as SmackDown went off air. At WrestleMania XXVIII, Orton was defeated by Kane in a singles match. Orton would then defeat Kane on the following episode of SmackDown in a No Disqualifications match and at Extreme Rules in a Falls Count Anywhere match to end the feud.
On April 30 episode of Raw, Orton was part of a Beat the Clock challenge to determine the number one contender for the WWE Championship match at Over the Limit; he defeated Jack Swagger in 4:16 to beat The Miz's time by two seconds. Orton's time was later beaten by Daniel Bryan, thus earning him the title match. On the following episode of Raw SuperShow, Orton was brogue kicked by tag team partner Sheamus during their match against Chris Jericho and Alberto Del Rio, costing them the match. After the match, Orton RKO'd Sheamus and then he, Jericho, and Del Rio demanded a match for Sheamus' World Heavyweight Championship at Over the Limit, which they were granted. At the pay-per-view, Orton failed in his World title pursuit after Sheamus pinned Jericho to retain the title.
On May 30, WWE announced that they had suspended Orton for 60 days due to his second violation of the company's Talent Wellness Program. Orton returned on the July 30 episode of Raw, defeating Heath Slater. Orton began feuding with Mr. Money in the Bank Dolph Ziggler, after hitting him with the RKO when trying to cash his contract on a vulnerable Sheamus on the August 24 episode of SmackDown. The following week on SmackDown, the two faced off in a match that was won by Orton. Three days later on Raw, Orton was defeated by Ziggler in a rematch, after Ziggler pinned him while holding his tights. Orton and Ziggler faced each other again at Night of Champions where Orton won. On the September 28 episode of SmackDown, Orton was scheduled to face Big Show in a number one contenders match for the World Heavyweight Championship. However, a pre-match assault from Alberto Del Rio would cost Orton the match and start a feud with Del Rio. Orton returned to SmackDown two weeks later, attacking Del Rio and his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez. The rivalry built to a singles match on October 28 at Hell in a Cell, where Orton emerged victorious. On the following episode of WWE Main Event, Orton teamed with Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara to face Del Rio and the Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O'Neil) in six-man tag team bout that ended with Orton pinning Del Rio for the win. On the November 6 episode of SmackDown, Orton defeated Del Rio again in a Falls Count Anywhere match, after hitting the RKO onto the ring steps. The two were then on opposing teams for the traditional five-on-five elimination tag match on November 18 at Survivor Series. Del Rio's team, led by Dolph Ziggler, ended up defeating Orton's team, led by Mick Foley. The following night on Raw, Orton defeated Del Rio once again in a Two Out of Three Falls match to end the feud.
On the December 3 episode of Raw, Orton began a feud with The Shield, after he was attacked by them following a victory over Brad Maddox. On the December 14 episode of SmackDown, Orton was once again assaulted backstage by The Shield. This was used to write him off television due to a shoulder injury. Orton returned on the New Year’s Eve Raw, helping Ryback and Sheamus fend off The Shield. On the January 4 episode of SmackDown, Orton announced his entry in the 2013 Royal Rumble match. On the January 11 episode of SmackDown and the January 16 episode of Main Event, Orton would again suffer attacks by The Shield during his matches with Antonio Cesaro. On the February 1 episode of SmackDown, Orton defeated longtime rival Wade Barrett to earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber match. On February 17 at Elimination Chamber, Orton eliminated Mark Henry and Chris Jericho before being the last man eliminated by Jack Swagger. In late February, Orton aligned himself with Sheamus to feud with the Shield. In the following weeks, Orton and Sheamus would save each other from attacks from the stable and Big Show. On the March 15 episode of SmackDown, Orton and Sheamus were then allowed to pick a third partner to face the Shield in a six-man tag team match at Wrestlemania 29 an chose Ryback. However, three days later on Raw, Ryback would be booked in another match for the event leaving the spot open. Later that night, Big Show saved the two from an attack by the Shield and was immediately recruited as their partner. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Orton, Sheamus and Show were defeated by The Shield, after which, both men were knocked out by Show. The following night on Raw, Orton and Sheamus faced off in a match to earn a match with Big Show, however, the match ended in a no contest after Show interfered. Orton and Shemaus then teamed up to defeat Show in two handicap matches, first on the April 12 episode of SmackDown via cont-out, and second on the April 15 episode of Raw via pinfall. On the April 19 episode of SmackDown, Orton and Sheamus were defeated by Big Show and Mark Henry in a tag team match. The feud between Big Show and Orton led to an Extreme Rules Match at Extreme Rules, which Orton won. After Extreme Rules, Orton continued feuding The Shield, and at WWE Payback, he teamed with Daniel Bryan in losing effort against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for the tag team titles. The following night on Raw, Orton and Bryan faced off in a No Disqualification match, that Orton won via referee stoppage after Bryan suffered a legitimate nerve injury. Four days later on SmackDown, Orton was defeated by Bryan in a singles match via count-out. Orton and Bryan faced each other for the third time on the next episode of Raw, but their match ended in a no-contest after both men were counted out. Later that night, Orton was defeated by Bryan in a Street Fight Match after he was forced to submit to the No! Lock.
At Money in the Bank, Orton won the WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match, he can cash it in whenever he wants up to a year. Orton showed signs of a heel turn on the August 5th episode of Raw when after he, John Cena and Daniel Bryan were in a six man tag team match against The Shield, he RKO'd both Bryan and Cena and attempted to cash in the contract, only to be put off by The Shield returning to attack Cena and Bryan. He then left and slowly walked away towards the ramp and watched as Cena was speared by Roman Reigns and Bryan was triple-powerbombed. On August 18 at SummerSlam, Orton turned heel after he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Daniel Bryan, who had just won the WWE Championship and had been subsequently attacked by special guest referee Triple H, who also counted the pinfall to give Orton his seventh WWE title. The following night on Raw, Orton appeared with Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H for a title coronation, and when Triple H invited Bryan to the ring to clear the air from SummerSlam, Orton delivered an RKO to Bryan, and he and Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H stood over him, holding the WWE Championship high, therefore confirming his heel turn. On the August 23rd SmackDown, after Daniel Bryan defeated Wade Barrett in a cage match, Orton came out from under the ring and hit Bryan with an RKO. It was also announced that night that Orton will defend his WWE Championship against Bryan at Night of Champions. At Night of Champions, Daniel Bryan defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. However, the next night on Raw, Triple H stripped Bryan of the title, due to a fast 3-count by the ref, but refused to give the championship back to Randy. Shortly afterwards, in an interview with Michael Cole, Triple H made a rematch between Orton and Bryan at Battleground for the vacant WWE Championship. The match ended in a no contest after Big Show knocked out both competitors. It was announced on the following episode of Raw that the two will have a rematch for the title at Hell in a Cell, with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee. At the event, Orton won the title after Michaels superkicked Bryan. He also successfully retained his title against The Big Show at Survivor Series. On the November 25 edition of Raw, Orton's long time rival John Cena suggested that there only be "one champion" in WWE, so Triple H stated there would be a unification match at the TLC pay-per-view. Orton defeated Cena at TLC to unify his WWE Championship with Cena's World Heavyweight Championship, and is credited by WWE as being the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Orton would then defeat Cena again in the subsequent rematch at the Royal Rumble 2014 PPV, aided by The Wyatt Family. On February 23, 2014 Orton defeated John Cena, Sheamus, Daniel Bryan, Christian and Cesaro at WWE's Elimination Chamber (2014) pay-per-view event to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship and secure his position in the title bout at WrestleMania XXX on April 6, 2014. The WrestleMania main event was changed to a triple threat match with Daniel Bryan defeating Triple H, and Orton's reign as champion ended with Bryan forcing Batista to submit. The following night on Raw, Orton and Batista were each denied a rematch for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and instead were forced by The Authority to team together to face WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos for the title, despite their issues with one another. The title match ended in a double count-out after the two united and delivered a beat-down to the champions. Later that night, Batista and Orton, along with Kane, attacked Bryan before he was set to defend his title against Triple H. Before Triple H could defeat Bryan, The Shield interrupted by spearing Triple H and taking out Batista, Orton and Kane, causing Bryan to retain his title via disqualification. On the April 14 edition of Raw, Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton came down to the ring to attack The Shield after their 11-on-3 handicap match, using the name and the theme of Evolution. At Extreme Rules and Payback, Evolution lost to The Shield. On the June 9 episode of Raw, The Authority automatically granted Orton a spot in the 2014 Money in the Bank ladder match for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but lost at the end after John Cena pulled Orton down from the ladder and did an Attitude Adjustment on Kane which let Cena climb up the ladder and win the vacated WWE World Heavyweight Championship. During the match, Orton was busted open and required twelve stitches to the top of his head. On the July 21st edition of Raw, Roman Reigns attacked Orton, which cost him another shot at the title, causing Orton to retaliate the following week by viciously attacking Reigns and challenging him to a match at SummerSlam. At the pay-per-view, Orton was defeated after Reigns kicked out of an RKO, and delivered a spear shortly afterwards, to pick up the victory. At the Night of Champions pay-per-view, Orton defeated Chris Jericho in a singles match when he executed an RKO.
At Hell in a Cell, Orton lost a number 1 contenders match to John Cena. Leading up to the PPV, Orton was showing visible displeasure with Seth Rollins, and on the RAW prior to Hell in a Cell Seth Curb Stomped Orton. Orton turned face for the first time in over a year by RKOing Seth Rollins on the RAW following Hell in a Cell. On 3rd November RAW, Orton destroyed The Authority before being Curb stomped by Rollins from the announcer's table and on the steel steps. He was carried in a stretcher after he sustained a kayfabe injury so he can finish the filming of Condemned 2: Desert Prey.
On February 22 at Fastlane, after The Authority defeated Erick Rowan, Ryback, and Dolph Ziggler, Orton returned and saved Rowan, Ryback, and Ziggler from a post-match beatdown. He later RKO'd Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury (J&J Security) and Kane. The next night on Raw, The Authority tried to convince Orton to come back to the "family", but Orton did not give an answer straight-away until he saw them backstage. During a tag team match later that night, Orton became frustrated and upset after Rollins tagged himself into the match. After the match, Orton made his way towards Rollins in the ring, but was briefly interrupted by Jamie Noble who got an RKO for his troubles. Then Orton, much to Rollins' surprise, picked him up and only patted him on the shoulder. On the March 9 edition of Raw, Orton would verbally insult various members of The Authority, only to pass it off as a joke. During a 2-on-1 handicap match in which he teamed with Seth Rollins against Roman Reigns, he would abandon Rollins, allowing Reigns to get the victory. Following this, Orton would proceed to viciously beat Rollins, eventually hitting an RKO on the announce table. On the March 16 episode of Raw, a match between the two was made official for WrestleMania 31 on the condition that Orton would meet Rollins later on that same night in the ring. The bout never took place as every member of The Authority made their way to the ring to attack Orton. Their attempt to avenge Rollins was thwarted by Sting, who aided Randy in holding them off. Orton won the WrestleMania match, and became the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after defeating Roman Reigns and Ryback on the April 6 episode of Raw, but he failed to win the title from Rollins in a steel cage match that saw par the stipulation his RKO banned and Kane as the gatekeeper. At Payback, Orton lost a fatal four-way match to Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns.
At Money in the Bank, Orton was involved in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, but it was won by Sheamus, with who he started a feud in the weeks leading to the event and which he defeated at Battleground. The following night on RAW, Orton teamed with John Cena and Cesaro in a six-man tag-team match against Sheamus, Rusev and Kevin Owens. Orton pinned Rusev after Sheamus and Owens both walking out of the match, becoming the third man to pin Rusev (after Cena and Cesaro) since making his main roster debut in April 2014. On the August 10 Raw, Orton defeated Cesaro and Owens in a triple threat to face Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship later that night. During the match, Sheamus interfered to cause a disqualification. Orton would proceed to give an RKO to Sheamus and Rollins. At SummerSlam, Orton was defeated by Sheamus. On the September 7th episode of Raw, he defeated Sheamus, but was attacked by the Wyatt Family afterwards. On the Raw after Night of Champions, Orton returned to save Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns From The Wyatt Family, Starting a alliance between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Orton. On the next Raw, Orton teamed up with Ambrose to take on The New Day in a losing effort. Before the next Raw, Orton was taken out of the Hell in a Cell match after sustaining a legitimate shoulder injury, putting him out of action for the following months.
After a more then 9-month absence from WWE programming, a promo was shown on the July 18, 2016 episode of RAW announcing that Orton will make his return at WWE Battleground on July 24 as a guest on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel. It was also announced that Orton would face Brock Lesnar at the following month's SummerSlam event. On July 19, at the 2016 WWE Draft, Orton was drafted to SmackDown. Lesnar was drafted to Raw, thus making their SummerSlam match an interbrand match. On July 24, at Battleground, Orton returned as a guest on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel to be interviewed about his match with Lesnar. Orton said he wanted to face Lesnar to prove that he belongs in the top spot, before hitting an RKO on Jericho. Orton returned to action on the July 26 episode of SmackDown, interrupting Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Maryse on Miz TV segment before defeating Miz in a non-title match. During Lesnar's promo on the August 1 Raw, Orton appeared and delivered an RKO to Lesnar. The following night, Lesnar attacked Orton during his match on SmackDown Live, delivering an F-5 to Orton. At SummerSlam, Lesnar defeated Orton by technical knockout after a series of elbows, leaving Orton with a forehead wound which required 10 stitches.
On the August 23 episode of SmackDown, Orton spoke about his match against Lesnar and declared that he and Lesnar would "cross their paths again", before Bray Wyatt interrupted him. The following week, Orton accepted Wyatt's challenge for a match at Backlash. At Backlash, Orton was attacked backstage by Wyatt before the show and subsequently lost the scheduled match by forfeit. However, Orton did assist his replacement, Kane, in winning by delivering an RKO to Wyatt. It was revealed that Orton was not cleared to wrestle at the event due to a legitimate concussion that occurred the previous month at SummerSlam. Orton later battled Lesnar again at a house show in Chicago in a no disqualification match, but lost once more.
Orton resumed his feud with Wyatt in the build up to No Mercy, a match that he lost, due to a distraction by the returning Luke Harper. On the October 11 episode of Smackdown, Orton was paired with Kane in a tag team match against Wyatt and Harper, but once again lost the match due to distraction by Harper. On the October 25 edition of SmackDown Live, Orton interfered on Wyatt's behalf in his match with Kane, leading to speculation that he had joined the Wyatt Family. On the November 1 edition of SmackDown, Wyatt and Harper helped Orton win his match against Kane, thus confirming Orton's alliance with the group. The same night, Orton along with Bray were revealed as members of Team SmackDown for Survivor Series. The team won the elimination match against Team Raw, where Randy eliminated Chris Jericho, while Bray eliminated Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns with the help of Orton, thus Orton and Wyatt becoming the sole survivors for their team. On the following episode of SmackDown, Orton and Wyatt challenged new number 1 contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships American Alpha to a match, putting their contendership on the line. The next week, they defeated Alpha to become the new number one contenders for the tag titles. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, they won the titles by defeating Heath Slater and Rhyno, marking Orton's first tag team championship in a decade. On the December 27 edition of SmackDown Live, the Wyatts lost their SmackDown Tag Team Championship to American Alpha in a fatal four-way tag team match, after Orton accidentally hit Harper before being pinned.