Paul Orndorff, whose 1986 feud with Hulk Hogan was the most successful house show feud in pro wrestling history, passed away on 7/12 at the age of 71.
The death is sad because friends of Orndorff remember him as someone who always trained hard and was meticulous about eating, which led to one of the great physiques in wrestling’s body era in the 80s. But his body and mind betrayed him starting in the 80s with his body, and both getting progressively worse over the last decade.
Unlike many of his muscular counterparts, Orndorff was an elite worker in the ring until injuries during his landmark feud nearly ended his career, even though he came back and wrestled into his early 50s on a national basis.
But post wrestling was not good. He had a cancer diagnosis in 2011, but eight months after going public with it, announced he beat it. By 2016, he gave a moving speech about his life when honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club, who donated money to him to allow him to keep from losing his home. While the speech was good, he admitted having significant memory problems. One person who went out with him for drinks for two nights that week, noted to us that on the second night, he had no recollection they had gone out the previous night. His condition worsened, to full blown worst case dementia, to the point he didn’t even remember Gerald Brisco, who he had watched on television as a child and had been around for years, nor almost anyone but his family and longtime friend Brian Blair.