Paul Orndorff, the WWE Hall of Famer recognized to followers as Mr. Wonderful, who fought towards Hulk Hogan within the first-ever WrestleMania, died on Monday in Fayetteville, Ga. He was 71.
Mr. Orndorff’s dying was introduced by his son Travis Orndorff on Instagram. No trigger was given.
“Most of you will remember him for his physique,” his son mentioned within the Instagram put up. “Many will remember his intensity. But if I could only get you to understand and see his heart.”
Mr. Orndorff joined the World Wrestling Federation, recognized immediately as World Wrestling Entertainment, in 1983, and debuted in 1984, in keeping with WWE.
He participated within the first WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden in March 1985 in a struggle with Roddy Piper towards Hulk Hogan and Mr. T., in keeping with WWE. Mr. Hogan and Mr. T received the struggle. The subsequent 12 months, Mr. Orndorff fought towards Mr. Hogan in an occasion that drew greater than 60,000 spectators to Canadian National Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, which Mr. Hogan received by disqualification.
Mr. Orndorff was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, in the identical class as Mr. Hogan.
On Monday, Mr. Hogan paid tribute to Mr. Orndorff on Twitter: “Thank you for always making me fight for everything in our matches, heaven just got even more wonderful.”
Born on Oct. 29, 1949, in Brandon, Fla., Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. attended the University of Tampa, the place he was a operating again, and graduated in 1972, in keeping with the college. Mr. Orndorff was chosen by the New Orleans Saints within the 12th spherical of the 1973 N.F.L. draft, however later started a profession in skilled wrestling.
Mr. Orndorff received his first championship, Memphis territory’s Mid-Southern Heavyweight title, in 1977, in keeping with the University of Tampa Hall of Fame, which he was inducted into in 1986.
In a tweet, WWE mentioned Mr. Orndorff “brought a swagger and style to the WWE Universe that turned his talent into a prototype for the modern-day superstar.”
Gary Cassidy, a contract author who covers skilled wrestling, mentioned in a tweet that Mr. Orndorff was “an integral part of the strides that made it possible for Hulkamania to run wild and one of the most WrestleMania matches of all time.”
He mentioned that Mr. Orndorff was “without doubt, one of the greatest wrestlers to never hold a major world championship.”
In Instagram posts earlier than Mr. Orndorff’s dying, his son alluded to considerations about mind injury from wrestling.
Three days earlier than Mr. Orndorff died, his son posted an image of one in all his father’s notebooks on Instagram with a telephone quantity.
“If you can’t read it, it says ‘son, I think.’ I haven’t had that phone number since 2005,” Mr. Orndorff’s son mentioned within the caption. “I hope the world will start to take notice of the brain damage and the consequences of this lifestyle.”
Mr. Orndorff was concerned in a number of instances filed by a bunch of former wrestlers towards WWE. They claimed that they’d suffered neurological injury, such as persistent traumatic encephalopathy, “as a result of physical trauma they experienced while performing.”
The instances have been dismissed as a result of the claims have been filed after a statute of limitations expired or as a result of they have been “frivolous,” court docket paperwork present.
Complete data on survivors was not instantly out there on Monday night time.