Jim Ross recently spent some time on his “Grillin JR” podcast talking about the time WWE hired Randy Orton. According to JR, Orton was someone he had to convince Vince McMahon to hire. This was due to Vince being hesitant to sign the 3rd generation Superstar on account of his dishonorable discharge from the US Marines.
“Believe it or not, he was somewhat a controversial hire for us,” Ross said on the show regarding Orton. “Vince was the problem child that went to military school and Randy was the problem child that went to the Marines and got dishonorably discharged.”
“That was an issue for Vince?” Conrad Thompson asked.
“Big time,” JR responded.
“I said ‘Vince, you got a second chance, so why not this kid? He’s only a 3rd generation performer and both his father and his grandfather were outstanding in-ring guys.”
According to a report from TMZ, Orton spent 38 days in a military prison as a result of multiple incidents of going AWOL.
Orton’s history with the Marines came up again in 2012 when he was removed from the Marine 3 WWE film project. A WWE representative told TMZ that Orton’s removal was due to his past with the organization.
“WWE demonstrated poor judgment in signing Randy Orton for the 3rd installment of the film,” the statement reads. “Despite Randy’s popularity, the fact that he was dishonorably discharged from the USMC made it inappropriate for him to be cast in this film.”