Paul Orndorff, Hall Of Fame Wrestler 'Mr. Wonderful', Dead At 71
By Jason Hall
July 12, 2021
WWE Hall of Famer 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff has reportedly died at the age of 71.
Orndorff's son, Travis, confirmed his father's passing in a post shared on his Instagram account Monday (July 12).
"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr," Travis Orndorff posted. "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."
Orndorff is best remembered for his run as one of the then-WWF's top heels (villain) during professional wrestling's boom in the 1980s, which included being featured as a primary antagonist to then-champion Hulk Hogan.
Ordorff's legendary career accolades include main eventing the first WrestleMania, teaming with 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper against Hogan and then-A-Team star Mr. T, as well as the first Survivor Series pay-per-view, teamming with Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Don Muraco and Ken Patera against André the Giant, Butch Reed, King Kong Bundy, One Man Gang and Rick Rude.
Prior to professional wrestling, Orndorff was a standout running back for the University of Tampa, scoring 2,000 all-purpose yards and 21 touchdowns during his collegiate career.
The Florida native was selected in the 12th round of the 1973 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, but failed to pass his physical for the NFL both with the Saints and Kansas City Chiefs before eventually appearing in the World Football League for the Jacksonville Sharks for one season in 1975.
Orndorff had previously been diagnosed with and survived cancer in 2011.