WWE is saddened to learn that WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorf, known to fans as “Mister. Wonderful, ”she died at the age of 71.
Orndorf was a distinguished runner at the University of Tampa and joined Mid-Southern Wrestling after a short stint in the World Football League. Early rivalries with Jerry Lawler, Ted Dibias and Jake “Snake” Roberts have given way to the NWA’s North American Heavyweight Championship and dominates the National Heavyweight Championship.
Orndorf joined WWE in 1983 and received the “Mr. A wonderful nickname for his then-Rowdy manager Roddy Piper. With his delightful in-ring style and unrivaled arrogance, Mister Wonderful has transformed his talent into the prototype of a modern superstar. He made an unforgettable debut on January 23, 1984, beating Salvatore Bellomo in Madison Square Garden, and immediately got into the main picture of the tournament from matches against world heavyweight champion Hulk Hogan. Mr. Wonderful achieved sporting and recreational immortality by competing with Piper to battle Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of WrestleMania I.
In the early 1990s, Mr. Wonderful began competing for WCW. It was here that Orndorf won his first major championship when he defeated Eric Watts in the tournament finals on March 2, 1993 to become the Television Champion. However, Orndorff didn’t stop there, as he was also a two-time WCW Tag Team Champion with Paul Roma in 1994.
As Orndorf’s days in the ring came to an end, the former master of the pildriver became a coach at the Power Plant WCW. As a coach, Orndorf has formed a generation of promising stars including Mark Jindrak, Stacy Keibler and Goldberg.
WWE expresses its condolences to Orndorf’s family and friends.