ST. LOUIS — The iconic "Let's get ready to rumble" will be heard loud and clear in downtown St. Louis this Saturday night when The Royal Rumble takes over the Dome at America's Center.
Some 40,000 wrestling fans are gearing up for the high-flying antics of one of the most popular superstars in WWE history. Randy Orton, the star of Monday Night Raw, will be joined by the 30-man and 30-woman rumble matches.
Orton told 5 On Your Side's Monica Adams he never saw himself as a megastar. He wrestled at Hazelwood Central High School but didn't see himself at the time following in his famous father Cowboy Bob Orton's footsteps.
"I don't think I thought that I was capable. I mean, my dad was larger than life, he was on TV, he was dressed like a gladiator," said Orton.
His dad put in a call to famed promoter Vince McMahon more than two decades ago, and his stellar career began.
"I sure as hell am glad he made that call," Orton said.
His life changed in so many ways that day.
Orton has held every major championship in WWE history. He most recently teamed with the Riddler, and he loves how the fans have taken to them. He praised the Riddler's athleticism and character over the last five years.
"We all play a character and may have a little bit of that in us outside of the ring, but the Riddler is exactly as he portrays himself to you," Orton described.
He talked about the absence of fans over the last year during the pandemic and said he will never take them for granted again.
"The energy they provide and how you feed off one another really changes how the night goes," Orton said. "I love how the sport brings generations together. There are so many stories of people watching wrestling with their grandparents or having an 80-year-old grandmother that's standing on her feet yelling at the screen and shaking her can."
"This is a big deal and having it in my hometown is awesome," Orton added.
He said to have fans back in the arena is a blessing, and St. Louis will have the largest crowd of all the events.
We had a little fun with the Viper and asked if wanted to demonstrate his signature RKO move on our photojournalist. He laughed his way out and asked, "but who would hold the camera?" Orton told us when he delivers an RKO you wouldn't think that he would get hurt, just his opponent, but it's an offensive maneuver so he would land on his back on the hard floor.
"We don't want that," he said with a smile and a wink.
Twenty years of crazy stunts and rival tricks with a hard exterior, but we were able to break through it and find the softer side of The Viper when he gushed over his wife Kim.
"Shout out to the wife. Hi Kim, kisses, I love you!" he said in all seriousness. "I'm so lucky to have met that woman, and I think one of the reasons I am as successful at this point of my life as I am today is because of her!"
Royal Rumble tickets are still available through Ticketmaster and it will also be broadcast exclusively on Peacock and the WWE Network.