Back in the late 2000s Randy Orton was synonymous with two moves in the WWE — his RKO finisher and his Punt Kick. Orton first broke out the punt back in 2007 while feuding with Shawn Michaels, and began making a habit out of using it on opponents he wanted to take out of commission. He rarely used it in actual matches, though it did help him retain the WWE Championship against Triple H and John Cena at WrestleMania XXIV. By the early 2010s the move had been effectively banned due to the risks surrounding it, but Orton decided to revive it to win his match against Edge at the Backlash pay-per-view earlier this year.
The return of the move also meant the return of Orton's "Legend Killer" persona. In the months since then he's punted Christian, Big Show, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels in the head, and will undoubtedly attempt to use it against Drew McIntyre at SummerSlam on Sunday.
Ahead of the match, Orton gave an interview with TalkSport where he explained why the move was banned and how he got it back.
"Back then it was a different time and I kicked a lot of people in the head. I talk about taking care of your opponent and I talk about how your number one priority should be making sure that you physically have your opponents back, above even having the best match on the card. It should be about taking care of each other as a first priority," Orton said. "So with that Punt Kick, it was hard. It was hard because I got to make this thing look good, but it's kind of hard to 'work' for lack of a better term, a kick to the head, something that devastating.
"So a lot of people didn't want to take it," he continued. "And of course, I kick Vince. Everyone remembers in 2009 when I kicked Vince and I gave him a concussion. He was carried out of the ring and I think he was split open a little bit. That was me grabbing the brass ring and I was so excited I had this opportunity that I lost track and sight of that number one priority — take care of your opponent."
He then talked about convincing McMahon to let him un-ban the move.
"Since I was playing the Legend Killer, I had to bring the punt kick back! I've devised a way to tip the kick whether we're taping or live where it's 100 percent safe and I'm not going to hurt anybody," Orton said. So given that and given the fact it was so dangerous and it was outlawed, now I think I'm able to do it again because Vince trusts that I've figured out how to make it safe. And that's where we're at and I'm glad he said yes because, god damn, I was thinking about it the other day; I've kicked Edge, Christian, [Big] Show, [Ric] Flair and Shawn Michaels. Just since the night after the Royal Rumble.
"That's six/seven months and five kicks to five big names," he continued. "That in itself got people talking. Each time I kicked someone in the head, the way we do it, the way we tell that story and it's apart of that story that people will remember."
Check out the full card for SummerSlam below:
- WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre vs. Randy Orton
- WWE Universal Championship: Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt
- Raw Women's Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Asuka
- SmackDown Women's Championship: Bayley vs. Asuka
- United States Championship: Apollo Crews vs. MVP
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Street Profits vs. Andrade and Angel Garza
- Street Fight: Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins
- No Disqualification, Loser Leaves WWE: Mandy Rose vs. Sonya Deville