Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. was an American professional wrestler, also known as Mr. Wonderful in the ring. He was inducted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame in 2009. He died on Monday at the age of 71, his son confirmed the news of his father’s passing on July 12 in an emotional Instagram post.
He was best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Paul Orndoff tried his luck in football and was selected in the 12th round in the 1973 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints but failed to pass the physical for the NFL. in 1975, he played for the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League. After one season in the WFL, he left football and started training as a professional wrestler.
Orndoff became a star in the 1980s WWF wrestling boom, after seven years working around the National Wrestling Alliance. Due to an untreated neck injury, he left the WWF for WCW in early 1988, where he won the WCW World Television Championship and the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Paul Roma.
In early 1988, Paul Orndoff retired due to his arm atrophy from his nagging injury and focused on running his bowling alley in Fayetteville. After that Orndoff took some time off because of the injury to his arm/neck that he suffered during the Hogan feud and left untreated for too long. After the recovery, he reestablished the physique that earned him, the nickname “Mr. Wonderful”.
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However, there was a difference between his both hands, his right hand was noticeably smaller due to a neck injury. After his retirement, he trained others and also survived cancer in 2011. He died shortly after being diagnosed with dementia, though it is still unknown if dementia played a role in his death or not.