Paul Orndorff (Mr Wonderful in the world of professional wrestling) has passed away according to Deadline. The announcement was made on Monday, on Instagram, by his son Travis:
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.”
Mr. Wonderful’s Early Life
Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. was born on October 29, 1949, in Brandon, Florida. Orndorff attended college at the University of Tampa where he also played football as a running back. the New Orleans Saints selected him in the 12th round of the 1973 NFL Draft, but after failing physicals for a couple of teams, he ended up playing in the World Football League in 1975 for only one season.
Wrestling in the 70s consisted of territory wrestling, where promoters would more-or-less control territory and wrestlers would go from territory to territory earning money and making a name for themselves. Mr. Wonderful got his start in professional wrestling when he wrestled in the southern wrestling territory where he would wrestle for 7 years before being brought to the World Wrestling Federation. Roddy “Rowdy” Piper was not only his manager for Mr. Wonderful’s first match but Hot Rod is also credited with giving Paul Orndorff the moniker of Mr. Wonderful on January 23, 1984, at the legendary Madison Square Garden.
Mr. Wonderful was part of the very first WrestleMania where he and Roddy “Rowdy” Piper took on Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in an event that would change wrestling for years to come. Eventually, he would go on to retire due to an injury that snake bit his career and eventually caused him to develop arm atrophy which became noticeable as his career went on. He would go on to wrestle for WCW, AWF, and many other promotions; even having been on WWE in August of 2014 when he attended a birthday celebration for Hulk Hogan.
Our condolences go out to Orndorff’s family at this time.