“Mr. Wonderful” of professional wrestling is no more. Paul Orndorff, a true legend of the industry, has passed away at the age of 71.
PAUL ORNDORFF WAS FACING MAJOR HEALTH ISSUES SUCH AS CANCER AND DEMENTIA
Recently, longtime fans were shocked by images of a sickly-looking Orndorff being shared on social media. Seemingly the shell of his “Mr. Wonderful” self, the former rival of Hulk Hogan was facing a multitude of major health issues such as cancer and dementia.
His son Travis revealed the unfortunate news over Instagram. “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. . He is better known as “Mr. #1derful” Paul Orndorff. Most of you will remember him for his physique. Many will remember his intensity. But if I could only get you to understand and see his heart. He will always be Pop, Paw Paw, and Daddy at home. And as much as many of you hated him as a wrestler, he absolutely loved you for it. He was an amazing father that showed me more love than I ever deserved. I love you Daddy,” he wrote on Instagram.
HE FIRST MADE HIS NAME IN NWA TERRITORIES, BEFORE GAINING FAME IN WWF AND WCW
He debuted in 1976, feuding with a young Jerry (not “The King” yet) Lawler, and continued to make a name for himself in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Nevertheless, he was more famous for his tenures with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and WWF. While he never won a championship in WCW and WWF, he was treated like a big deal and received multiple title contenderships and main event pushes. Orndorff famously participated in the main event of WrestleMania 1. His heel turn on Hulk Hogan followed by a devastating piledriver is etched into the memories of longtime fans of professional wrestling.
He had been inducted into multiple professional wrestling hall of fames. On February 3, 2005, Orndorff was announced as one of the inductees for the Class of 2005 into the WWE Hall of Fame, where he was inducted by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. In 2009, Orndorff was elected by a committee of his peers to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
TRIBUTES POURED IN FROM ALL OVER THE INDUSTRY
Personalities from the professional wrestling industry mourned the demise of a legend. Last night’s episode of WWE Raw was dedicated to his memory, although due to the pretaped nature of the show, no tributes could be given.