Cody Rhodes & Randy Orton’s WWE Friendship, Explained

Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton are a pair of top stars in WWE today. In late April, they teamed up on Raw alongside Riddle and Ezekiel to face The Usos, Seth Rollins, and Kevin Owens, and a segment of long-time fans were quick to point out it was the first time Rhodes and Orton had teamed up on TV in over a decade, after teaming fairly regularly when they were each parts of the Legacy faction.


Related: How WWE Botched The Split Of Ted Dibiase Jr, Cody Rhodes & Randy Orton’s LegacyThe years in between saw them face each other (in a Triple Threat that also included Ted Dibiase Jr.) at WrestleMania, work on different levels of the WWE card, and star as featured talents opposite one another in the early stages of the AEW competing with WWE. When Orton and Rhodes teamed up once again, it called attention to the friendship they’ve shared all along the way behind the scenes.

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Randy Orton And Cody Rhodes Team Up In Legacy

WWE fans are familiar with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes being on screen partners in the Legacy faction—an Orton-led group of sons of wrestlers. Orton played about equal parts a mentor to Rhodes and Ted Dibiase Jr. and a scheming villain who seemed to manipulate young talent to help himself including winning and then protecting his WWE Championship in a feud with Triple H and other storylines.

Related: 10 Times Randy Orton Was The Smartest Wrestler In WWEOrton discussed what this period of his career was like in an interview with Inside the Ropes (ht/ ClutchPoints) explaining that, while Rhodes tends to give The Viper credit for taking him under his wing and mentoring him, Rhodes also helped him a great deal in real life. Orton explained Rhodes “was young, but I was still young when he came up, and I was still kind of in a period of time where I needed a babysitter … Cody, probably, is responsible for getting me town to town safely for a good three years of my career. If it wasn’t for him, I might not be here right now.” So, while fans can certainly make the case that Legacy, and particularly their breakup, was mis-booked or a missed opportunity at building new stars, the faction’s time together nonetheless had a lasting effect of building a bond between two of its core members.

Randy Orton And Cody Rhodes Maintained Their Real Life Friendship

Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes spent several years not occupying the same locker room. While The Viper has remained a stalwart WWE roster member, Rhodes left the company to find himself outside the WWE umbrella, particularly when he felt under-utilized in the Stardust role. The two maintained a positive relationship even when they weren’t “wearing the same jersey,” though.

Orton, in fact, went so far as to briefly tease he might join Rhodes in AEW, and some fans bit on it, knowing the relationship between The American Nightmare and his old stablemate. Though Orton claimed he didn’t ever actually seriously consider leaving WWE, the talk at the time was enough to get fans to start booking fantasy first-time matchups for him on Wednesday nights.

Randy Orton And Cody Rhodes Reunited In WWE

Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes found themselves in the same locker room again effective with The American Nightmare’s surprise return to WWE went down at WrestleMania 38. Though they didn’t immediately find themselves feuding or forming another faction together, they did work an eight-man tag team match on WWE Raw shortly after Rhodes returned.

Moreover, Rhodes peeled back the curtain after the celebration of Orton’ twentieth anniversary with the company, posting Instagram about all the ways The Viper had been a mentor to him earlier in his career. The sincerity of the tribute, particularly as The American Nightmare himself was enjoying a resurgence of popularity seemed to give fans a peek at the real life bond between these two stars.

Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton are an interesting pair of performers to be good friends. Their journeys through wrestling intertwined, but they also had very different individual roads to travel. Orton enjoyed a relatively streamlined route to the top of WWE and has demonstrated real staying power there. Meanwhile Rhodes took perhaps the least conventional route possible to top star status, through Japan and co-founding the closest thing WWE has to competing company. Regardless, it seems these two are friends for life, with a connection that transcends the business.

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