The Viper, who had numerous issues with his behavior early into his WWE career, explained how his attitude has changed over the years thanks to a number of different factors.
“I think there’s a lot of different reasons,” Orton said. “You know, learning from your mistakes is one of them. Hearing stories, you know every once in a while there’d be a cameraman or a lighting guy that’s been with us for as long as I’ve been with the company, and they’ll be like ‘remember that time, I think it was ’05 when you did blah blah blah,’ and then they’ll proceed to tell a story in front of a group of people that just paints me in the worst light and it’s embarrassing, and it’s like, man, I was an ass**le.
“I think being a father changed me. I think my wife really had a lot to do with kind of opening my eyes. It’s been a group effort, I’ve been lucky to be around a lot of talent backstage that, not necessarily mentored me, but I learned a lot from John Cena, to be honest. I learned a lot from Cena, I learned a lot from Edge, just in this last go-around, you know.
“Being a father and being a professional wrestler, and traveling and all the temptations, and what you put in your body through all the stuff can really add up. I was lucky to have some really great men in the locker room, that I can see how they went about life, see how they were with their kids.”
Randy Orton also explained that the evolution of his better behavior was similar to that of Shawn Michaels, who also had attitude issues during his career.
“I got to see Shawn Michaels, who by on all accounts was a complete a—–e, and when I met him I even thought he was a p****, but I saw the change and I heard the stories, and I saw, like, OK, and I feel like it’s kind of funny now that we’re talking about it, same thing kind of happened to me, kind of,” Orton explained. “It’s part of the journey, right? I think my legacy is longevity and being able to be one of those guys that got to wrestle everybody and got to see generation come in and another generation come in.
“That’s what my thing is. Having the newer mindset, kind of accepting that I’m happy like it’s OK to be happy. I think that’s helped me overall as a human being more so than a performer. If anything, I am able to have more fun in the ring now because I don’t take everything else so seriously.”