WWE Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff dies aged 71: Triple H, CM Punk and Edge pay tribute

Legendary WWE Hall of Famer “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff has passed away aged 71.

Orndorff had dealt with health issues in recent years, including cancer and dementia.

Orndorff was a big star in the 1980s

His son, Travis, confirmed the news on Instagram yesterday.

He wrote, “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.”

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A post shared by Travis Orndorff (@travis_orndorff)

As Travis notes, Orndorff had one of the best physiques of his generation and one of the most athletic performers of his time.

Mr. Wonderful began his pro wrestling career back in 1976. He had stints with WWE, WCW, SMW, Mid-South, the NWA, NJPW, and many other promotions.

He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and the apex of his career was arguably main eventing the first-ever WrestleMania where he tagged with Rowdy Roddy Piper against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T, with Muhammad Ali one of the referees that night.

Paul Orndorff teamed with Roddy Piper against Hulk Hogan and Mr.T at WrestleMania 1

After suffering an arm injury in 1988, Orndorff retired early from professional wrestling and ran his own bowling alley instead.

With time off, Orndorff healed and began working out again, getting into formidable shape, with the exception of his right arm which had suffered some nerve damage following an injury to his neck while working with Hogan.

After working for a variety of promotions in the early 1990’s, Orndorff found his way to WCW in 1992 where he would have his last meaningful run.

Orndorff is most closely associated with Hogan

He retired from in-ring competition again in 1995 after his right side became too weak. He would become a road agent and then trainer within the company and even led the fabled WCW Power Plant.

Tributes have poured in for Orndoff. WWE Hall of Famer Edge said: “Paul Orndorff was the first wrestler I hated & feared as a child. I was at the Big Event in Toronto. Changed my life. 

“Years later the morning before WrestleMania 21, I trained with him and Hulk. I was a little kid again. One of my fondest memories. Thank you for all of them Paul.”

Nobody could deny Orndorff had an amazing physique

CM Punk said: “Damn. Orndorff. I went to a wcw house show at the uic pavilion once. Maybe 95ish. Him and Sherri were the best on that show with working the crowd. Think I have his autograph on a patriot mask somewhere. Rest in power Mr. Wonderful.”

Triple H also commented on the legend’s passing, saying: “A #WrestleMania main eventer, @WWE Hall of Famer, and one of the industry’s best bad guys. Our thoughts and sympathy are with his family at this difficult time.”