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Wrestling Legend 'Mr. Wonderful' Dies

Paul Orndorff was 71
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2021 12:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – One of the stars of World Wrestling Entertainment's 1980s heyday has died at age 71. Paul Orndorff, otherwise known as "Mr. Wonderful," signed with the World Wrestling Federation in 1983, and was managed by "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who gave him his nickname, Deadline reports. During the "Hulkmania" era, he fought Hulk Hogan for the title, and also fought Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana. Tag teaming with Piper, he often fought Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and “The Tonga Kid"; they also once fought Hogan and Mr. T. He eventually entered the WWE Hall of Fame, the organization says.

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Orndorff, who also played football, often played the villain when he wrestled. "It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father," Orndorff's son Travis wrote on Instagram Monday. "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." Orndorff later joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW), winning the World Television Championship and the WCW World Tag Team Championship, and later still worked as a trainer. Though his cause of death is not clear, Travis Orndorff had recently posted about his father's confusion and "the brain damage and the consequences of this lifestyle." (Read more World Wrestling Entertainment stories.)

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