After signing with WWE, Orton acquired the moniker "The Legend Killer" by physically attacking veterans of the industry, including Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, and many WWE Hall of Famers. Also, Orton became a member of Evolution, which quickly led to his winning the WWE Intercontinental Championship in December 2003 at the expense of Rob Van Dam. In August 2004, Orton became the youngest World Heavyweight champion when he beat Chris Benoit for the title at age 24. His win caused his departure from Evolution, leading to a feud with his former stablemates before resuming his "Legend Killer" habits. In 2006, Orton and Edge formed Rated-RKO, winning the World Tag Team Championship. Several months after the team split, Orton won the WWE Championship twice at Unforgiven.Randy Orton retained the title through April 2008, before losing the title to Triple H. In late-2008, Orton formed his own stable called The Legacy, made up of second- and third-generation wrestlers like himself. In January 2009, Legacy helped Orton win the Royal Rumble to earn a rematch against HHH at WrestleMania XXV, which he lost. The following month, Orton successfully regained the title and he swapped the title a couple times with John Cena throughout the rest of the year.
On the Road to WrestleMania 2010, Randy Orton split up The Legacy and the three had a Triple Threat match, which Randy Orton won and emerged as the clear fan favorite. The next night on RAW, John Cena picked Orton as his mystery partner, which solidified him as a babyface for the first time since January 2005.