When Randy Orton made his debut in the WWE a few years ago, it was shoved down everyone’s throat that he was a “third generation” this, and a “third generation” that. Heck, Jim Ross kept spewing out his family history until he was blue in the face. While JR may have informed the newer viewers about the Orton family tree and the past in-ring exploits of Randy’s father and grandfather – Bob Orton Sr. and “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. – it seems he forgot to mention one infamous family member. Most families usually have that one “wacky” uncle running around, and Randy’s clan is certainly no different. JR may have forgotten about him, but anybody who followed the WWF in the 80’s definitely never will. He is this week’s Jobber Of The Week – from the fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada – Barry O.
Born Randal Barry Orton (yep, looks like he’s the original Randy Orton!), young Barry didn’t take too long to follow in his father and older brother’s footsteps. In 1976, at the age of eighteen, Barry began his journey in the world of pro-wrestling. Like most guys in the “regional days,” he went all over the U.S. Then still known as Barry Orton, he found early success out on the west coast, tagging up with Kevin Sullivan for a while in 1978, and later turning on him with help from frequent Sullivan ally, Bob Roop. While out there in San Francisco, he was even able to win some tag-team gold as well. Hard to believe it huh, Barry O. actually won a belt?!? Well that’s no jive, turkey. In fact, he actually accomplished it with the help of the original “jive turkey,” Hector “Gobbledly Gooker” Guerrero, as they won the NWA Americas Tag-Team titles. At first it appeared like Barry might have a future in the tag-team division, as he later went down south with his brother “Cowboy” Bob Orton, and they claimed the ICW Southeastern straps in 1980. But alas, the good times can’t last forever can they?
As the 80’s moved on Barry made stop-offs in the Mid-Atlantic and Mid-South areas. Only problem was, he tended to be losing a lot more than he was winning by this point. Well, if he was gonna be enhancement talent, he might as well go where he could get paid well for it. So in late 1984, Barry arrived in the World Wrestling Federation. The first thing that happened was the name change. In the name of all things anti-Fritz Von Erich, Vince apparently decided that one Orton running around was enough. So since Cowboy Bob was there first, he got to keep the Orton family name. Barry was rechristened “Barry O.,” and it was never acknowledged the two were even related, except for one goof by Vince, accidentally calling Barry, “Mr.Orton…..uh, I mean O.,” when he made a rare tv appearance on the TNT Show. In fact that TNT spot may have been the highlight of his entire run there, as Barry spent his entire time on the losing end and became arguably THE main he el jobber of the mid-80’s. Now while he may have come up short in the win column, that doesn’t mean he wasn’t talented. I for one was constantly entertained by him, whether it was his pre-match “O” arm gesture (later perfected by Randy Orton), or his choice of outfits – the gaudy and flashy Las Vegas inspired ring-gear, or his later, more “rock and roll” look, completed with his boots that simply said “METAL,” with a lone music note beside the word. Rock on, Barry!!!!
Despite all the losses, Barry was a great worker, and for that he was rewarded in 1985 with a spot in the first Wrestling Album’s video, “Land Of 1000 Dances.” You can catch Barry in the background chorus, right next to his frequent tag-team enhancement partner, Mr. X. If only those two would’ve been given a shot to succeed. The tag-team named “X’s and O’s” or “Tic-Tac-Toe” would’ve been a name for the ages.
Before 1985 was over though, he would have his first (and only) angle in his WWF career. In October 85 at Madison Square Garden, Barry would repeatedly get knocked onto the broadcasting table where Jesse “the Body” Ventura was commentating. After more than one occasion, Ventura got p.o.’d and got up and exchanged words with Barry, who went on to call Ventura an old man, and claim he was hiding behind the mike. It set the stage for the next month’s MSG show, where Jesse stepped into the ring to settle his differences with the younger O. bsp;Then nearing the end of his in-ring career, and with the New York crowd on his side, he put away Barry with his backbreaker finisher. Barry stepped back into the undercard, where he remained for the next year, leaving the WWF in early 1987.
From there he went to the Stampede area up in Canada. He donned a mask, and became quite successful as the evil Zodiac. No, not the “no, yes, no” Ed Leslie kind. His was patterned after the infamous Zodiac killer of years earlier. He hooked up with former WWOW inductee Jason The Terrible, and did battle with everyone from Owen Hart to Chris Benoit.
With the Friday the 13th-inspired Jason in tow, the Zodiac would cut voice-box enhanced, Black Scorpion-style promos for tv. In them, he would always claim to be praying to the almighty Luke. As silly and as goofy as the two masked goofballs looked, I’ve come to the conclusion they must have been worshiping this guy:
Who really knows if his deity of choice was Rapping Luke, Biblical Luke, or Jedi Luke? Before anyone had time to figure it out, he and Jason would have a falling out, one that ultimately led to the Zodiac being unmasked in a mask-vs.-mask showdown. After being revealed as Barry O., his career would he summed up quite nicely by the announcer who remarked, “I don’t know who that is.” Barry soon found himself in some hot water, and landed himself in prison for a few years.
Upon his release, Barry went back to the WWF in 1991 for a short stint. This one was only for a few months, and then he was gone again. It made you wonder, why didn’t Barry O. ever make it? Well, to quote that chick from the Overstock.com ads, the “secret of the big O” was about to be revealed. In early 1992, Barry revealed to the media the reason for his lack of a push was because the “straight” Mr.O had declined alleged sexual advances from then-WWF officials Pat Patterson and Terry Garvin. It came at a bad time for the WWF, as it was right in the midst of a public relations nightmare for Vince McMahon. One that would see Barry O. and a few others talking about sexual misconducts, meanwhile Vince had the steroid scandal going on as well. It all lead to a media zoo, with everyone from Barry O., Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham, and even Vince himself making appearances on shows like Larry King and Donahue, commenting on a bunch of fun-for-the-whol e family topics. Well…fun for the Manson family topics, I suppose. In the end, the WWF survived all accusations, and Barry soon quietly moved on as well. Moved on to Hollywood that is.
Barry, at this point probably sick of the wrestling business, decided not only was he gonna change careers, he was gonna change his name. Goodbye Barry O., say hello Barrymore Barlow. By the way, never underestimate the cool factor and power of alliteration (see…Real-Deal Reynolds, Blade Braxton). From his home base of Las Vegas, the now-Barrymore launched his assault on Hollywood. He first showed up in a cameo in the 1992 film, “Honeymoon In Vegas,” starring Nicolas Cage. A few more bit parts in independent films followed over the course of the 90’s. But like most wrestlers, there is always the allure of one more shot in the ring. Therefore in 2000, Barry made his last hurrah in something called World Organized Wrestling. Only he wasn’t known as Barrymore Barlow, and he sure wasn’t Barry O. Say hello to Xxxtreme S&M, Ajai Hardwyn.
Yep, there’s good ‘ol Barry..oops, I mean Ajai, standing next to his “wheel of torture” in his underwear, complete w/ matching codpiece, in a bizarre scene that appears to only be missing Ving Rhames, a ball gag, and a jar of lube. While all the victims (including some poor skank named Pony-Girl) are tied up and whipped by his female “bodyguard,” Ajai cuts a promo that is one part Wildman West, and one part Mike Tyson, claiming that after he beats up his opponent, he’s gonna invite him over to his place so his bodyguard can, and I quote, “Shake you naked and literally (yes, LITERALLY) eat you alive!!” Shockingly, this innovative mixture of wrestling, domination, and cannibalism was just a tad bit ahead of it’s time, and despite having Ajai Hardwyn as it’s World Champ, the WOW soon folded.
His cat of nine tails and codpiece days behind him, Barrymore got really serious about his acting career. He moved to New York, where he did some classical theatre training to further his skills. It obviously helped him out, as he was able to snag the lead in a Rocky Horror Show production as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, and later went back to Hollywood, where he scored supporting roles in a number of films, most notably Monday Night Mayhem, the Monday Night Football movie. Barry’s next move? He’s directing his own movie entitled Tweak the Heart. Look for appearances in the film by “Cowboy” Bob Orton, Ox Baker, Sir Oliver Humperdink, as well as Barry himself. The movie takes place in Vegas, and it’s a drama about 3 people who get mixed up with the dangers of crystal meth. Too bad the three people in question weren’t Baker, Cowboy, and O. Forget about paying money to see it, hell, I’d FINANCE a mov ie that features the heartwarming story of Ox Baker, drugged out of his mind on ice, delivering heart-punches left and right as he battles his “demons.” That’s got Oscar material written all over it! Barrymore hopes to release the film – with or without the Ox Baker finisher – real soon.
Some people may think it is bizarre that Barry O. is attempting to conquer Hollywood. Myself, I don’t think that acting is that big a stretch for him. After all, for all those years when he should have been successful in the WWF, he had to “act” like he was terrible in the ring.