Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. (October 29, 1949 - July 12, 2021) was an American professional wrestler, best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling as "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff.
After a brief stint in American Football, he became a professional wrestler, initially wrestling in a number of small promotions in the American South. In 1983, he signed a contract with the WWF, where he received the moniker "Mr. Wonderful" from his manager, Roddy Piper. In his five years with the WWF, he notably took part in the first ever WrestleMania, and feuded with Hulk Hogan for over two years. An arm injury, however, led him to retire in 1988.
In 1990, he returned to wrestling, this time for WCW. His injury continued to dog him, however, and he eventually retired for good in 2000. He also wrestled for SMW, New Japan Pro-Wrestling and various National Wrestling Alliance territories.
As for his in-ring achievements, he was a 2x WCW World Tag Team Champion with Paul Roma as Pretty Wonderful, a 1x WCW World Television Champion, a 1x Southern (Memphis) Heavyweight Champion, a 4x Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion, a 1x NWA (Mid-Atlantic) World Tag Team Champion with Jimmy Snuka, a 4x NWA National Heavyweight Champion, a 1x UWF (Herb Abrams) Southern States Champion and a 1x NWL Tag Team Champion with Brian Blair.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2005 and to the NWA Hall Of Fame in 2009.
A throat cancer survivor, he passed away at the age of 71 in 2021.
"♫♪...you know these tropes are Wonderful, and they know it too!♪♫":
- Alternate Company Equivalent: He was the Closest Thing We Got to a "WWF's Naitch" up to '91.
- Arch-Enemy: SEVERAL... and all of them winded-up as such by his own doings. The most notable being "The Big Cat" Ernie Ladd, "Dirty" Dick Murdoch, Hulk Hogan, Sgt. Slaughter, Jerry "The King" Lawler, Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Sting and "Ravishing" Rick Rude.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
- Badass Teacher: He worked as a trainer at the WCW Power Plant, and his students include Stacy Keibler and Jimmy Wang Yang
- Bash Brothers: His most constant partner besides Piper and The Hulkster in WWF was "Dirty" Dick Slater in Southeast Championship Wrestling.
- Berserk Button: Completely flipped out for varied and petty reasons, but most of all when the fans call him "Paula".
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Across several promotions, but most noticeably in WWF. He turned against The Hulkster, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan and Sting so many times that this ended-up being his most definite character trait.
- Demoted to Extra: As a WCW road agent and trainer from 1995-2000.
- Do Not Call Me PAULA: As stated above.
- The Fighting Narcissist: As a heel.
- Finishing Move: The Piledriver was his most famous, later switching to a Belly-to-back Suplex on WCWnote .
- I Did What I Had to Do: Although this could be seen as a YMMV topic it is quite interesting:
- The story goes like this, after linning up with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper (Managed both by Bob Orton Jr.) against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T for a Tag-Team match at the very first Wrestlemania, Cowboy Bob interfered and caused a misaimed bump to Mr. Wonderful, thus putting him in position to be pinned by Hogan. Piper blamed him for the loss, so Paul ended up as The Hulkster's reluctant ally.
- A little later, now competing both Tag-Team and singles against The Rowdiest One and Cowboy Bob, Orndorff fired The Brain as manager when the formers put a hefty reward on Paul's head. Even when an enraged Heenan doubled up the prize, no one could collect it.
- Then Orndorff started to be feed by Adrian Adonis that he was merely "Hulk Jr." and dared him to prove himself as a worthy competitor. Paul looked out for Hogan, but he was told the latter was busy training for his upcomming Main Event against King Kong Bundy. In frustration, he tried to over-perform the World Heavyweight Champion on every chance he could, to prove himself not a merely Tag Along Kid riding on The Hulkster's tail.
- His actions led to a match against Bundy and Big John Studd. Due a nasty bump caused by himself, he was out of combat, leaving Hogan alone to deal with the gargantuan duo. Hogan obtained a hard earned victory and when his parnter apparently went there to rise his arm, he gave him a clothesline and a piledriver instead and claiming he was re-hiring Heenan, effectively turning against Hogan.
- Impersonation Gambit: On Valentine's day 1987, he tried to sneak up to the ring and injure Hogan after the latter's title defense against Kamala, disguised as The Ugandan Head Hunter's handler, Kim Chee.
- His feud against Rick Rude started because Paul got a nasty injure on his right arm training for his second match against Hogan, so "The Ravishing One" took his place at The Heenan Family.
- Three or so years later on WCW, Harley Race took Orndorff under his wing after Rude got injured himself in a match against Sting, getting his payback in a completely coincidental way.
- Kicked Up Stairs: He was featured as one of the biggest attractions in "Mr. Electricity" Herb Abrams' UWF.
- Muscles Are Meaningful: A threat believable enough for the likes of The Hulkster or the Large Sarge.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: For a man who proved even to Hogan to be strong enough and a really hard nut to crack, Orndorff suffered of this in his match against Sgt. Slaughter back in june of 1984 (The man responsible for Paul's most hated "Paula" nickname). Slaughter not just delivered such a beating to him, he practically swept the mat clean with his sorry rear end. Sarge loss the match by count-out after enduring himself just every dirty trick thrown at him by Paul, being an ugly brass knuckle gash on the top of Sarge's head the straw that broke the camel's back.
- One-Steve Limit: Averted with him and his tag team partner 'Pretty' Paul Roma in "Pretty Wonderful"
- Power Stable:
- Red Baron: "The Brandon Bull" and of course, "Mr. Wonderful".
- Reluctant Retiree: He had to do this several times due to his recurring injuries he sustained in WWE.
- Signature Move: Pointed Elbow Drop, Multiple Toe kicks, Bootlace Eye-rake, The Stomp and he could do all sort of crazy things once he grabbed his opponent with a simple Wrist Lock.
- Small Name, Big Ego: The last half at least, as a heel.
- Spiritual Successor: Lex Luger in his "Narcisistic" gimmick.
- The Starscream: Maybe the most glaring example in Professional Wrestling history. His ring attire even was Colour-Coded for Your Convenience, since most of the time his favoured colors were a pearl grey/silver, red and blue combo.
- Tag Team:
- (in NWA/South East): w/Dick Slater.
- (in WWF): w/Cowboy Bob, then w/Piper and then against both w/Hogan.
- (in WCW): Pretty Wonderful, with "Pretty" Paul Roma.
- Turned Against Their Masters: The essence of his feud with The Natural Born Thrillers in WCW in 2000, since he was one of their trainers.
- Ungrateful Bastard: To The Hulkster, although many fans felt Hogan was a complete Jerk to Orndorff and that Paul was completely justified when he turned on him.
- Unrelated Brothers: With Troy Orndorff, better known as Shane Douglas.
- Wrestling Family: His brother Terry had a small career in Mid-South.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Once Paul started to do this, you could be pretty sure there was some Face–Heel Turn coming up his way.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz: One of, if not the very first example in the business. He had promotionals and even one of his trunks with the legend "Mr. #1derful."