“The three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment.”
Let’s analyze that catchphrase for a second.
The term “sports entertainment” was coined by Vince McMahon, probably because he hates the word wrestling. So we can presume that sports entertainment basically stands for WWE because I haven’t seen any other promotion use that phrase, and as far as WWE is concerned, shouldn’t the three most dangerous letters be AEW? I’ll leave it at that.
Now that I’ve got that out of my system, let’s talk about the RKO.
It’s a version of the cutter that has now become twice as famous as the cutter. The cutter is a great move in itself, with Diamond Dallas Page’s Diamond Cutter being an iconic piece in WCW history.
Will Ospreay, Cody Rhodes, Jay Lethal, and many others hit mean cutters outside of WWE.
The RKO, however, is the undisputed king of cutters, it’s untouchable.
You know how I said the powerbomb is a move you’d want to hit your little brother with? Well, RKO is a move that you’d definitely hit your little brother with on the bed, in the pool, maybe on a trampoline. Your childhood probably isn’t complete if you haven’t hit an RKO on your younger sibling or a friend.
The countless GIFs of people hitting each other with RKOs on the internet prove just how popular the move is with the fans. Doesn’t matter how slow a match is going or how uninteresting the storyline is, or whether Randy Orton is a heel or a babyface, the RKO guarantees a pop.
With all due respect to the superkick and the Black Mass, RKO is the greatest “outta nowhere” finisher of all time, so much so that that is Randy Orton’s legacy, not Ted Dibiase Jr. and you know who.
Now we’ve all seen the RKO to Evan Bourne and the one on Rollins at Mania, and they were great, but I want to shine a light on some excellent underrated RKOs that go overlooked sometimes.
The incredible RKO to Christian onto steel steps at Summerslam that got Orton the World Heavyweight Championship, the one to Undertaker at Wrestlemania which is the greatest counter to a chokeslam I’ve ever seen, the one to Brock Lesnar as Paul Heyman was speaking which saw Orton appear from thin air, and the one to CM Punk at Wrestlemania.
Also, a shoutout to AJ Styles for jumping back on the apron just as Orton was about to hit the RKO, and then grinning like an idiot as he saw Orton fall on his ass.
Could Randy Orton have been as big a star as he is now without the RKO? Probably. But let’s just all thank our lucky stars he didn’t beat Drew McIntyre with the O-Zone.