HomeSportsWWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff, ‘Mr. Wonderful,’ Dead at 71

WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff, ‘Mr. Wonderful,’ Dead at 71

by Joe Rutland
(Photo by Chris Farina/Corbis via Getty Images)

Paul Orndorff, a WWE Hall of Fame pro wrestler who was one of the business’s greatest heels as “Mr. Wonderful,” has died.

Orndorff was 71 years old, according to a TMZ story. His son Travis announced the news about his father’s death in Fayetteville, Ga., in an Instagram post. No details regarding what caused Orndorff’s death have been released.

Fans of 1980s pro wrestling know Orndorff had a legendary WWE feud with Hulk Hogan. They wrestled in arenas all over the United States and Canada. But Orndorff was in the main event of the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden in 1985.

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He teamed up with another legendary heel in “Rowdy” Roddy Piper to face Hogan and Mr. T in the main event. It was a tough match, but Hogan and Mr. T pulled off the victory. Another one of his matches against Hogan took place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in front of a reported 76,000 fans.

Orndorff’s pro wrestling career started in 1976 in the famed Memphis, Tenn., territory where he feuded with Jerry “The King” Lawler. He also feuded with Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd in the National Wrestling Alliance.

But Orndorff moved along and in 1983 signed a contract with WWE, which was World Wrestling Federation at the time. His finishing move was the piledriver, where he’d drive an opponent’s head right into the ring mat. One thing about Orndorff, too, is that he stayed in solid physical condition.

He retired in 1988 due to injuries but came back to wrestle in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1990. Orndorff would also wrestle for other companies, too, but injuries took their toll and he retired again in 2001.

Orndorff was trained by four of pro wrestling’s greatest stars in Bob Backlund, Jack Brisco, Eddie Graham, and Hiro Matusda.

Pro Wrestling World Reacts To News Of Orndorff’s Death

A couple of Orndorff’s opponents of the WWE Hall of Famer expressed their reactions on social media on Monday.

Ric Flair, another WWE Hall of Famer, wrote on Twitter, “So Sorry To Hear Of The Passing Of Paul Orndorff aka Mr. Wonderful aka The Brandon Bull. Great Guy, Legit Tough! He Was Another Amazing Athlete That I Had The Pleasure Of Wrestling An Hour For The NWA Championship On Many Occasions! Rest In Peace!”.

Ted DiBiase, known as “The Million Dollar Man” in WWE, wrote, “My heart and my prayers go out to the family of my friend and colleague, Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff. Great wrestler and many great memories. Rest In Peace my friend.”

Outsider sends its condolences to the Orndorff family.