Robert Keith "Bob" Orton, Jr. (November 10, 1950) is an American semi-retired professional wrestler, better known by his ring name, "Cowboy" Bob Orton. He is the son of Bob, Sr. and Rita Orton, the brother of Barry O, and the father of WWE Superstar Randy Orton, as well as the uncle of Jasper Orton. Orton is best known by his time in the WWF (World Wrestling Federation, now WWE) apart from the WWF, Orton wrestled for several promotions in the United States, Japan, and other countries.
Professional wrestling career
Orton trained with Hiro Matsuda, after dropping out of college and at the age of 22, Orton made his debut in the promotion Championship Wrestling from Florida in 1972 with the ring name of Young Mr Wrestling wrestling in instances with his father Bob Orton, Sr. They won the tag team title from the promotion, Orton was one of the first wrestlers to use the Superplex as his final movement. Orton in his early days in wrestling, he used a gimmick, of a masked wrestler known as The Invader. He often used this gimmick, until 1976. He with Dick Slater had a feud with Ric Flair . Orton and Slater attacked Flair with an aided piledriver, which caused Flair a several injury in the neck, and put Flair out of wrestling for several months. Flair would eventually return in late 1983, attacking both Orton and Slater with a baseball bat.
After experiencing success in the Florida, Central States, and Mid-South regions, Orton competed in the National Wrestling Alliance in 1980-1981 using a cowboy's gimmick. While he competed in the NWA, he won several matches and earned a reputation as a hard worker and legit tough guy. In 1981 He left the NWA to sign a contract with the World Wrestling Federation. He returned to the NWA again in 1983 and captured the tag team titles, but returned to the WWF when Vince McMahon's national expansion began in 1984.
In 1981, Orton competed in the World Wrestling Federation. Competing as a heel and using the dreaded superplex as his finisher, he challenged Bob Backlund for the WWF Heavyweight Championship, winning by count-out (the title can't change of hands by disqualification or count-out), the first match. They had a lumberjack match a month later but was unsuccessful. He left the territory in 1983 and ventured to the NWA, where he captured the tag team titles with Don Kernodle. The duo held the titles for two months before succumbing to Wahoo McDaniel and Mark Youngblood.
Orton re-joined the WWF in 1984 for what would be the most famous run of his career. He was often addressed as "Ace" Orton by Roddy Piper, and was Piper's bodyguard. His other gimmick, wearing a cast during his matches, stemmed from legitimately having his left forearm broken in a match with Jimmy Snuka at the 1985 event The War to Settle the Score in Madison Square Garden. Although the injury healed in real life, the "cast" gimmick involved Orton—on "doctor's orders"—continuing to wear the cast, claiming the injury had not healed; Orton instead would use the cast to his advantage, striking his opponents behind the referee's back. He won several matches, with the cast and without the cast.
Orton was involved in the main event of the very first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden in 1985, being in the corner of Piper and 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff in their match against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Orton accidentally cost his team the match after an attempted cheat backfired, resulting in him hitting Orndorff with the cast. Orton also competed in the main event against WWF Champion Hulk Hogan on the premiere episode of Saturday Night's Main Event on NBC broadcast May 11, 1985, which he lost by disqualification due to the interference of Piper.
Orton remained with Piper for the remainder of 1985, feuding with Orndorff and a variety of partners, such as Hogan, André the Giant, and Bruno Sammartino. In early 1986, Orndorff began wearing a cast as a neutralizer and the WWF ordered both men to remove the cast. Also in late 1985 and early 1986, Orton challenged Hogan for the WWF Heavyweight Championship; like his matches four years earlier against Backlund, Orton was not successful.
Orton was dubbed "Boxing" Bob and "Battling" Bob in early 1986 after the cast came off and fought Mr. T at Saturday Night's Main Event, which served as a setup for the Piper-Mr. T match at WrestleMania 2. Prior to WrestleMania 2, "Boxing" Bob Orton defeated Jose Luis Rivera in a boxing match. At WrestleMania Orton was introduced as "Ace in Comedy and Funnyman" by guest ring announcer Joan Rivers who misread the card.
Piper and Orton went their separate ways after WrestleMania, with Piper taking a hiatus and Orton in the meantime becoming the bodyguard for Piper's talk-segment successor Adorable Adrian Adonis; Adonis had Orton wear a pink cowboy hat. When Piper returned later in 1986 to reclaim his talk show segment (turning face in the process), Orton betrayed his long-time friend, sparking a violent feud with Orton and his new partners that typically saw Piper winning. During this time, Orton formed a tag team with The Magnificent Muraco, with the duo managed by Mr. Fuji, and some times managed by Jimmy Hart. They won several matches and appeared at the opening match at WrestleMania III, losing to the Can-Am Connection.
During the summer of 1987, Muraco and Orton began arguing during several of their matches, this caused to both of them to lost against other teams, eventually with the two turning on each other. Orton continued to be billed as the heel while Muraco (adopting the nickname "The Rock") turned face. After the two wrestlers feuded with each other during the late summer and early fall, they competed in several matches with each other, exchanging victories with each other. During Orton's feud with Muraco, Mr. Fuji would return to manage Orton (Muraco dumped Mr. Fuji as his manager following his face turn) Orton continued to wrestle for the WWF until late 1987, in which Orton took a hiatus from Wrestling for the remaining of 1987. Muraco for the other side, eventually continued to wrestle for the WWF until 1988. Orton tried to make a comeback to the WWF in 1989, losing to Ted DiBiase in a WWF house show, and then in 1990, competing in some WWF house shows, usually with his matches ending in draws, then he departed from the WWF.
Career after WWF
After leaving the WWF, Orton took a short hiatus from Wrestling, he was not present in wrestling until 1988, in where Orton travelled to Japan. During this time, he wrestled for All Japan Pro Wrestling, during this period, Orton teamed with his brother Barry Orton, and they form the team of the Gaspar Brothers, and he used the ring name of Billy Gaspar. They won several matches together. After the team of the Gaspar Brothers, ended, Orton brief teamed with Dick Murdoch in AJPW. In 1989, Orton returned to the United States, and he wrestled for the then National Wrestling Alliance member, World Championship Wrestling. Orton had a feud with his former partner, Dick Murdoch. Orton defeated Murdoch at Clash Of Champions, this started a feud between the two, resulting in both of them interfering in their matches. Murdoch challenged Orton to a bullrope match after he had interfered in one of Orton's matches, in which Orton defeated Trent Knight. He lose to Murdoch at the 1989 Wrestlewar in the bullrope match. Shortly after the match, Orton's manager "Playboy" Gary Hart started brawling with Murdoch, and then Orton attacked Murdoch with the cowbell of the bullrope, and he throw Murdoch out of the ring, choking Murdoch, and, attacking the referees that they were trying to stop him in the process. In 1990 he appeared in the Five Star Wrestling Federation in Baton Rouge which was headed by Grizzly Smith, that same year, Orton appeared in International World Class Championship Wrestling. In 1991 he wrestled for Herb Abrams' Universal Wrestling Federation at their lone pay-per-view Beach Brawl, as well as their live wrestling special Blackjack Brawl. In the UWF, Orton was awarded the UWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship as well as winning the UWF Southern States Championship from former rival and teg-team partner Ron Garvin. Orton lost the UWF Southern States Championship to Paul Orndorff, although, Orton was awarded the title back in 1994 when Orndorff left the promotion, vacating the title in the process. In 1994, Orton made a few appearances for Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling. That same year, Orton wrestled for the American Wrestling Federation, and during his time in the AWF, he was managed by Oliver Humperdink. Orton challenged Tito Santana for the AWF Championship, with AWF commissioner Jim Brunzell as the special referee for the match, but Orton lost the match after a flying forearm smash from Santana. During 1995 and 1996 he feuded with Santana. During Orton's time in the AWF, Orton received a big push defeating pure jobbers and mid-carders, being in the main event status, and he was the number one contender for Santana's AWF Championship in 1996. He won the AWF Championship in his second attempt to won the championship, before losing the championship to Santana at the same night in the last round. He had a brief feud in 1997 against "Sexy" Ace Steele in MVWA in St. Louis. In 1999, he appeared at Heroes of Wrestling in which Orton was defeated by former rival Jimmy Snuka, after an interference of Snuka's manager Lou Albano. He retired from full-time active competition in that same year, but has continued to wrestle on a semi-regular basis.
Second NWA run/WCW run
In early 1989, Orton debuted in the then National Wrestling Alliance member, World Championship Wrestling. During his second NWA/WCW run, he took Gary Hart as his manager. Orton had success in the NWA/WCW, winning several matches. He had a feud with Dick Murdoch in the NWA/WCW, Orton defeated Murdoch at Clash of Champions, and this caused the feud between the two. Orton along with Gary Hart, usually brawled with Murdoch.
Recent independent appearances
Orton returned to the ring at Millennium Wrestling Federation Soul Survivor II in 2004, teaming with Todd Hanson and Beau Douglas to defeat "The Ugandan Giant" Kamala, Gino Marktino, and Ox Baker's Executioner.
Orton currently works as a performer and co-owner of Tennessee Mountain Wrestling in Knoxville, Tennessee.
On October 17, 2009, Orton (accompanied by his youngest son Nathan) performed at Independent Hardcore Wrestling against "Bloody" Harker Dirge, in a match for the Pro Wrestling Entertainment championship, losing by disqualification after Nathan attacked Dirge. This occasion marked Nathan Orton's first appearance in a professional wrestling event.
In 2009, Orton faced Vance Desmond in the 2009 Winter Wrestlefest event, promoted by Canadian Promotion All Star Wrestling (ASW) Orton lost to Desmond, after Orton attempted to do a piledriver, and Desmond reversed the move, finishing the match pinning Orton. This was one of the few times that the crowd saw Orton as a face, as the crowd cheered heavily for him.
On November 19, 2011, Orton appeared in the main event of a Holy Havoc Championship Wrestling card in Springfield, Illinois, teaming with HHCW Heavyweight Champion Pretty Boy Floyd and Mr. Allstar Rex Gill to defeat The Irish Revolution (Les Thomas and Seamus McFearsome) and Beast.
On February 9, 2013 Orton appeared at a Traditional Championship Wrestling (TCW) event in Jonesboro, Ark., he managed and mentored International Heavyweight Champion "Mr. Saturday Night" Michael Barry in a feud with his cousin "All That" Alan Steel. He also participated in a non-televised dark match at the event when he turned on Barry and aligned himself with "The Empire" consisting of Matt Riviera and "Golden Boy" Greg Anthony. This team took on Michael Barry, Barrett Brown and John Saxon. The Empire along with Orton lost to Barry, Brown, and Saxon.
On June 13, 2013, Orton faced Barrett Brown in a losing effort.
World Wrestling Entertainment
On February 3, 2005, Bob Orton was announced as a 2005 inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.
In the weeks preceding WrestleMania 21, Orton became entangled in his son Randy's feud with The Undertaker. During an episode of SmackDown!, Orton begged The Undertaker to show mercy on his son in order to distract The Undertaker long enough for his son to sneak into the ring and hit the RKO. At WrestleMania, he (unsuccessfully) interfered in the match between Orton and The Undertaker, striking The Undertaker with his cast.
On August 21, 2005, at SummerSlam, Orton interfered in a rematch between Randy and The Undertaker, this time enabling his son to defeat The Undertaker. Orton then began accompanying Randy to ringside during his matches, and teamed with his son at No Mercy on October 9, 2005, defeating The Undertaker in a handicap casket match. The Ortons teamed together once again on the October 28, 2005 episode of SmackDown!, joining forces with Ken Kennedy to face Roddy Piper, Batista, and Eddie Guerrero in a six-man tag team match. The match ended in defeat for the Ortons when Orton succumbed to Piper's sleeper hold.
On the December 16, 2005 episode of SmackDown!, Orton disguised himself as one of the Undertaker's druids and carried The Undertaker's signature urn to ringside as The Undertaker came to the ring to confront Randy. Orton remained at ringside after the other druids had left, distracting The Undertaker and enabling Randy to attack him. Orton then handed Randy the urn, which Randy used to knock The Undertaker unconscious.
At Armageddon, Orton (still holding the urn) accompanied Randy to ringside for his Hell in a Cell match with The Undertaker. He interfered in the match several times, but was ultimately unable to prevent The Undertaker from delivering a Tombstone Piledriver to both Ortons and then covering Randy for the win.
On February 13, 2006, Orton was released from WWE.
Orton made an appearance on the November 15, 2010 episode of WWE Raw as the show went old school, with appearances from past WWE wrestlers, announcers and other on-air personalities. He also appeared on the April 10, 2012 episode of WWE SmackDown and was attacked by Kane (offscreen) who had been feuding with his son Randy at the time.
Tweak the Heat (2005/06)
Orton is married to Elaine Orton, a nurse at Christian Hospital NE in Missouri, and they have two sons, Randy (also a professional wrestler), Nathan (a mixed-martial arts fighter), and a daughter, Becky. He now lives in Florissant, Missouri. Bob Orton and Curt Hennig were very close friends.
On an episode of WWE Confidential, he admitted that his forearm injury in the 1985 match with Jimmy Snuka was not a work, and did not heal when he wore the cast. It wouldn't heal fully until he left the WWF in 1987.
Orton was also diagnosed with Hepatitis C as a teenager. During Randy Orton's Hell in a Cell match with the Undertaker at Armageddon 2005, Orton was cut open at the hands of the Undertaker, though the Undertaker did not become infected with the Hepatitis C virus. Orton reportedly told WWE booker John Laurinaitis that he had Hepatitis C, but Laurinaitis still ordered the beating to take place despite knowing that there was a chance The Undertaker would become infected with the Hepatitis C virus.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- Tag Teams
Championships and accomplishments
- AWF Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- MPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- PCW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- PWI Rookie of the Year award in 1973
- PWI ranked him # 121 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003.
- UWF Southern States Championship (2 times)
- Other Titles
- WWS Television Championship (1 time)