پنجشنبه 13 بهمن 1390 09:24 ب.ظ
Paul Parlette Orndorff, Jr. (born October 29, 1949) is a retired American professional wrestler, best known for his appearances with the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling as "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff. After retiring, Orndorff worked as a wrestling trainer.
After earning notoriety as a running back at the University of Tampa where he scored 21 career touchdowns and gained over 2000 all-purpose yards in his playing career, Orndorff was a 12th round selection (289th overall pick) in the 1973 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints but failed to pass the physical for the NFL with both the Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs. He was a teammate of the #1 pick notorious bad boy John Matuszak. However, he did play for the Jacksonville Sharks of the World Football League in 1975. After one season in the WFL, he began training as a professional wrestler.
 Professional wrestling
 Starting out
Paul Orndorff started wrestling in 1976 in Mid-Southern Wrestling where he feuded with a young Jerry Lawler. Orndorff won his first wrestling title when he pinned Lawler for the Mid-Southern Heavyweight Title on June 7, 1977. Orndorff lost the title back to Lawler before he left the Memphis territory. Orndorff began working for the NWA Tri-State promotion where he got involved in a feud with Ernie Ladd. The feud with Ladd saw Orndorff win the NWA Tri-State North American Heavyweight Title from Ernie Ladd on two occasions (on May 29, 1978 and again in June). Both times, Orndorff’s reigns were short and were ended by Ladd.
After feuding with Ladd, Orndorff continued to make a name for himself in the National Wrestling Alliance where he feuded with The Masked Superstar. During this time he became known as “The Brandon Bull," a nickname he had during his days as a football player. In December 1978, Paul Orndorff teamed with Jimmy Snuka to capture the NWA World Tag Team titles from Baron Von Raschke and Greg Valentine. The duo held on to the titles for five months before losing them to Baron Von Raschke and his new partner Paul Jones on April 28, 1978.
In 1979, Orndorff traveled to the Alabama territory's “Southeast Championship Wrestling." There, Orndorff worked mainly as a tag team competitor teaming with Dick Slater to win the NWA Southeast Tag Team Championship from the team of Jimmy Golden and Norvell Austin in October 1979. Their reign only lasted about a month before being upended by the combination of Dennis Condrey and David Schults. Orndorff then teamed with former opponent Norvell Austin (who was calling himself “The Junkyard Dog" at the time, not to be mistaken for the more famous Junkyard Dog) to win the titles in late 1979. The duo beat Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose, the same team that ended Orndorff and Austin’s run with the gold. Norvell Austin, Dennis Condrey, and Randy Rose would go on to form The Midnight Express shortly thereafter.
During 1980, Orndorff started to split his time between the Alabama and the Mid-South territories, until he left the Alabama territory by the end of 1980 to focus entirely on the Mid-South territory. In Mid-South, Orndorff feuded with Ken Mantell over Mantell’s propensity for cutting people’s hair after a match. Orndorff got the better of Mantell and won the rights to use the Freebird hair removal cream on Mantell. Orndorff earned a shot at the North American champion The Grappler but on the day of the match he overslept (storyline) and was incensed when his replacement Jake “The Snake" Roberts beat the Grappler for the title. Orndorff’s reaction to Jake’s title win signaled a change in attitude; he turned heel as he demanded a title match against Jake “the Snake". While he lost the support of the fans, he won the North American title on July 4, 1981. Orndorff feuded with Ted DiBiase, JYD, Dusty Rhodes, and Dick Murdoch while holding on to the North American title. Orndorff lost the title to Ted DiBiase on November 1, 1981 in a match at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans, Louisiana. Orndorff was unable to wrestle in the rematch due to car trouble, which meant that Orndorff’s friend Bob Roop got the title shot and won the match. It was soon revealed that Roop had sabotaged Orndorff’s car so he could get the title shot instead (storyline). Orndorff turned face to feud with Roop but found himself unable to regain the title after which he left the Mid-South Territory.
Orndorff reappeared in Georgia Championship Wrestling in early 1982 immediately launching into a feud with Buzz Sawyer over the NWA National Heavyweight Championship. Orndorff won the gold on June 20, 1982. During the summer, Orndorff would vacate the title so he could focus on pursuing the NWA World Champion "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Orndorff was unsuccessful in his challenge and soon focused on the title he gave up. When Orndorff vacated the title, it was put on the line in a tournament that was won by The Super Destroyer. On August 19, 1982, Paul Orndorff regained the title from the Super Destroyer. Orndorff next feuded with The Masked Superstar, with whom he traded the National Heavyweight title back and forth during the fall of 1982. Orndorff then traded the title back and forth with Super Destroyer. Frustrated with his inability to beat Paul Orndorff for the National title, Larry Zbyszko paid Killer Tim Brooks $25,000 to do his dirty work. Brooks beat Orndorff with the help of a chair and won the title only to turn around and give it to Zbyszko. The fact that Zybszko bought the title and did not win it forced NWA President Bob Geigel to step in and strip Zbyszko of the title.
Orndorff then moved to New Japan Pro Wrestling for several months. He made two tours of Japan, the first in April. He wrestled Kengo Kimura, Riki Chōshū, and Akira Maeda, as well as teaming up with Ed Leslie against Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi. Orndorff returned in October and partnered with Big John Studd against Maeda and Sakaguchi, then faced Maeda again in singles competition.
 World Wrestling Federation
Orndorff signed with the World Wrestling Federation in late 1983 and made his debut in November of that year on Championship Wrestling. Starting in January 1984, Orndorff took on "Rowdy" Roddy Piper as his manager. Piper nicknamed Paul Orndorff “Mr. Wonderful," a nickname that he has used ever since. Orndorff made his WWF debut against Salvatore Bellomo on the night that Hulk Hogan defeated The Iron Sheik for the WWF World Heavyweight Title and "Hulkamania was born", January 23, 1984 in Madison Square Garden. Orndorff became one of the first people to challenge for the world title, shooting straight to the main event less than a month after his debut. Hogan disposed of the challenger and moved on while Orndorff fought a variety of opponents including the Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana. When Piper assaulted Jimmy Snuka on the set of Piper's Pit, Orndorff (as well as Bob Orton, Jr.) assisted the Rowdy One in his fights. Orndorff and Piper often faced Snuka and "The Tonga Kid" in tag team competition.
Near the end of 1984, Roddy Piper’s assault on Cyndi Lauper (kayfabe) brought Orndorff and Piper on a collision course with Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Hogan’s feud with Piper also meant that Orndorff was thrust back into the main event picture; he defeated Tony Atlas at The War to Settle the Score and then played a part in the main event. The fallout from The War to Settle the Score led to the creation of WrestleMania, with Hogan and Mr. T (backed by Jimmy Snuka) taking on "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in the main event. Orton's interference at the end of the match backfired when he accidentally hit Orndorff with the cast on his arm, allowing Hogan to pin Orndorff and win the match for his team. Blaming Orndorff for the loss, Piper and Orton attacked him on the first episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Later in the evening, Orndorff ran to the ring to even the sides when Piper and Orton were preparing to double team Hulk Hogan. He solidified his babyface status by publicly firing manager Bobby Heenan shortly afterwards.
Orndorff and Hogan started teaming up to feud with Piper and Orton, facing them in tag team competition all over the country. Orndorff’s feud with Piper and Orton continued to rage on while Hogan started to defend his title against other contenders; Orndorff faced both Orton and Piper in individual competition, usually without a conclusive outcome. After Orndorff fired Bobby Heenan as his manager, Heenan placed a $25,000 bounty on Orndorff, payable to anyone who could injure him. When no one succeeded, Heenan upped the bounty to $50,000. One of the first men to try and claim the new, higher bonus was Roddy Piper himself, but their matches got so out of hand that Bruno Sammartino was appointed as a special referee in the hopes of keeping peace. Instead of keeping peace, Sammartino became a target for Orton and Piper, which led to Orndorff and Sammartino teaming up. Orndorff teamed with a variety of opponents in his fights with Piper and Orton, including André the Giant. In February 1986, Bobby Heenan used a match between Hulk Hogan and Don Muraco as an opportunity to have King Kong Bundy attack Hogan, setting up their WrestleMania 2 match. While Hogan fought off Bundy, Orndorff battled Don Muraco in a match that ended in a double count out.
Orndorff’s frustrations were further fueled by Adrian Adonis, who took every opportunity that he could to mock Orndorff (including referring to him as "Hulk Jr."), saying that he had gone soft from teaming with Hogan. Adonis kept on irritating Orndorff, going so far as daring Paul Orndorff to prove just how close his relationship with Hulk Hogan really was. During a televised phone call to Hulk Hogan, Orndorff was told that Hogan was too busy training to come to the phone, something which aggravated Orndorff to no end. The next time that Hogan and Orndorff teamed up, against the Moondogs, Orndorff wrestled most of the match by himself in an attempt to upstage Hogan, scoring the winning pin. The next week, during a tag match where Hogan and Orndorff faced the massive duo of Big John Studd and King Kong Bundy, Hogan and Orndorff accidentally collided and Hogan knocked Orndorff off the apron. When Studd and Bundy started to double team Hogan, Orndorff did not help out; he looked like he had hurt his eye in the collision. It was not until Studd and Bundy had Hogan in a compromised position that Orndorff reentered the ring to fend off Studd and Bundy. Orndorff then helped Hogan to his feet and raised his hand in the air and gave Hogan a clothesline followed by a piledriver.
Orndorff soon reunited with manager Bobby Heenan and once again feuded with Hulk Hogan, including a memorable outdoor match in Toronto which drew an estimated 76,000 fans. After a series of matches with no clean outcome it was decided that Hogan and Orndorff would clash in a steel cage match on Saturday Night's Main Event. The cage match saw both Orndorff and Hogan climb over the top of the cage and touch the floor at the same time. After reviewing the footage it was decided that it was a draw and the match was restarted. Once the match restarted, Hogan easily exited the cage to win the match following a leg drop, ending their feud. Their half-year long feud is one of the most notable (and profitable) feuds in the history of pro wrestling.
During the Hogan feud, Orndorff seriously injured his right arm in a weightlifting accident. Because he was in the middle of his big money run with Hogan, he did not want to take the time off to have the surgery to properly treat it, opting instead to continue to wrestle. After the program with Hogan ended, Orndorff worked a reduced schedule for a few months before he was forced to take some time off because of the injury. While Orndorff was away from the WWF, Bobby Heenan brought in a new man "Ravishing" Rick Rude to take Orndorff’s place in the Heenan Family. Orndorff returned to the ring specifically to fire Bobby Heenan and to feud with Rick Rude. Orndorff took Oliver Humperdink as his manager in his fight with Rude and Heenan. Orndorff’s last “big" appearance was at the inaugural Survivor Series on November 26, 1987, where he teamed with Hulk Hogan, Bam Bam Bigelow, Ken Patera, and Don Muraco to take on Andre the Giant, the One Man Gang, King Kong Bundy, Rick Rude, and Butch Reed. Early in the match, Rude eliminated Orndorff with a roll-up.
 Semi-retirement and return
Paul Orndorff retired in early 1988 due to his arm injury and focused on running his bowling alley in Fayetteville. During his time away from the sport he was actually reported to have died; the story made several newspapers. The time off was because of the injury to his arm/neck that he suffered during the Hogan feud and left untreated for too long. With the time off, Orndorff recovered and started working out, reestablishing the physique that earned him the nickname “Mr. Wonderful" in the first place. The only difference was that his right arm was noticeably smaller and weakened due to a neck injury that caused nerve damage and eventually the atrophy of his right biceps.
In 1990 Orndorff returned to the squared circle, wrestling a series of matches against Kerry Von Erich on the independent circuit. By the spring of 1990 Orndorff signed with World Championship Wrestling, making his debut as a member of a group called the “Dudes with Attitudes" consisting of himself, Sting, Lex Luger, Junkyard Dog, and The Steiner Brothers. The Dudes backed Sting in his fight with the Four Horsemen. At Clash of the Champions XI Orndorff defeated Arn Anderson and at the 1990 Great American Bash, Orndorff teamed up with the Junkyard Dog and El Gigante to defeat Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, and Sid Vicious by disqualification. Orndorff remained with WCW until the fall of 1990.
 UWF and the indies
By late 1990, Orndorff became one of the featured headliners for Herb Abrams' fledgling Universal Wrestling Federation. Televised on several cable outlets, the UWF saw many former WWF stars such as Don Muraco, Bob Orton, Jr., "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, Lou Albano, and The Killer Bees (known as "Masked Confusion" in the UWF). Mr. Wonderful more or less immediately started feuding with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, who attacked Orndorff to kick start the feud. Orndorff and Williams clashed several times in what was promoted as the “Signature Feud" of the UWF in its early days. Orndorff would also reignite his feud with Bob Orton, Jr. in the UWF, where he beat Orton for the UWF Southern States Championship on June 22, 1992 and held the title until he left the promotion. On June 9, 1991, Orndorff competed on the UWF’s only PPV Beach Brawl, defeating Col. DeBeers in a Strap match. Orndorff left the UWF sometime in early 1993, vacating the Southern States title.
While working for the UWF, Orndorff would also compete in the American Wrestling Federation (not the same promotion as the AWF) and held the AWF Heavyweight title after beating Stan Lane on December 16, 1991. When Orndorff left the AWF in February 1992, he vacated the title. During this time Orndorff also competed in the National Wrestling League, holding its tag team titles alongside Brian Blair sometime in 1993.
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