Former WWE Superstar and Hall of Famer Paul Orndorff (also known as “Mr Wonderful”) passed away at the age of 71 in Fayetteville, Georgia. The cause of death is unknown but there are reports that Orndorff had recently been diagnosed with dementia.
Prior to becoming a wrestler, Orndorff was a running back at the University of Tampa and he also had a brief sting in the World Football League. After one season in the WFL, he began training as a professional wrestler and joined Mid-Southern Wrestling. His early rivalries included Jerry Lawler, Ted DiBiase and Jake “The Snake” Roberts. He was the NWA North American Heavyweight and National Heavyweight Champion.
After seven years working on the National Wrestling Alliance, Orndorff became a star in the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE). He was featured with manager Bobby Heenan and champion Hulk Hogan in the main events of the first WrestleMania and Survivor Series. Orndorff left the WWF for WCW in early 1988 with an untreated neck injury. He won the WCW World Television Championship and the WCW World Tag Team Championship with Paul Roma (as a tag team called, Pretty Wonderful).
Paul Orndorff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005 and the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame in 2009. After retiring from wrestling, he trained others and survived cancer in 2011.