WWE Hall of Famer Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff has passed away at the age of 71. His death was announced by his son Travis in a post on 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,” the post read.
Orndorff was in really rough shape lately and suffered from dementia. His son posted a heartbreaking video a couple of months ago that showed his frail father confused, a video which we did not re-publish.
Mr. Wonderful made his pro wrestling debut in 1976 and wrestled for the NWA, Georgia Championship Wrestling and other regional promotions before landing in the WWE in 1983. His popularity in the company led him to be part of the main event of the first-ever WrestleMania, teaming with Roddy Piper to take on Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. His run in WWE ended in 1988 after several high-profile feuds and in 1990 he moved to WCW where he only lasted a couple of months.
In 1992, Orndorff returned to WCW and this time he stayed until 1995, then making occasional appearances for the promotion and ultimately taking over the WCW Power Plant.
Ondorff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
In 2011, he was diagnosed with cancer but beat the disease several months later. He was one of the many who sued WWE over brain injuries but that lawsuit was ultimately dismissed by a judge.