Last month, WWE star Randy Orton was at the top of the ropes. Not only was he one of WWE’s most popular wrestlers, but he was announced to star in “The Marine 3: Homefront,” the latest sequel in the action-movie series.
But then Orton’s sordid past with the Marine Corps turned up and locked his career in a sleeper hold.
While Orton’s stint in the Marine Corps could have been a plus, his service record is far from stellar. In 1999, the wrestler was labeled a deserter, court-martialed and given a bad conduct discharge, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
While records show his case was appealed, Orton’s charges stuck and his service contract expired in 2002. He was only a private.
The whole controversy seems to have torpedoed his movie career, or at least his role in the “Marine” series, which originally starred wrestling veteran John Cena.
After word spread about Orton, WWE swiftly pulled him from the film, according to this report from TMZ.
The entertainment website also claims to have interviewed one of Orton’s fellow former Marines, Cpl. Mike Vinn, who was understandably upset over Orton’s service record.
“I am disgusted that his face and the word Marine are being used next to each other — real or fake — because of the fact that he quit us, the country, and the Marine Corps,” he reportedly told TMZ. “[Orton] in the role of a Marine is a disgrace to those that have worn and are wearing that uniform.”
In the film, Orton, a.k.a. The One Man Dynasty, was slated to play “a Marine forced to put his skills to the test when a radical militia group kidnaps his rebellious daughter,” according to a report from Variety.
Sounds like heroic stuff.
But when Orton was a young buck with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., he ditched the Corps for nearly three months and was deemed a deserter, according to Manpower and Reserve Affairs.
In addition to being found guilty of unauthorized absence, he was found guilty of willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer.