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'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff passes away at 71 years old

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'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff, best known for his rivalry with Hulk Hogan in the 1980s, has passed away.

Travis Orndorff, Paul’s son, confirmed his passing on Instagram this morning. Orndorff had been suffering from the late stages of dementia.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr.,” Travis wrote. “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.”

Orndorff started his pro wrestling career in 1976 in Memphis and wrestled for the NWA until 1983, when he joined the World Wrestling Federation. The following year, Orndorff would be among the first challengers for Hogan’s title, taking Roddy Piper as his manager. He teamed with Piper in a losing effort against Mr. T and Hogan at the first WrestleMania in 1985. After a babyface run teaming with Hogan, Orndorff turned on him, feuding with Hogan for most of 1986, including a match at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Canada that drew 61,470.

After leaving the WWF in 1988, he had brief runs with WCW and Smoky Mountain Wrestling until he returned to WCW in 1992, where he would remain in the company as a wrestler and later a trainer for the WCW Power Plant through 2001. After WCW was sold to the WWE, He would make sporadic appearances for WWE through 2014, most recently taking part in a birthday celebration for Hogan.