Travis Orndorff, son of Paul Orndorff, was first to break the news of his father’s passing  as he posted to Instagram on the afternoon of July 12. One of the top heels of the 1980s, Paul Orndorff is remembered for his dashing looks and incredible physique. His rivalry with Hulk Hogan made him a household name, where he was involved in the first ever WrestleMania main event, teaming with Roddy Piper against Hogan and Mr. T.

Tributes are pouring in from the wrestling world, as friends and colleagues pay respects to the man known as “Mr. Wonderful.”

Brutus Beefcake on Facebook: Paul Orndorff was a friend. No matter when we say each other it was just like yesterday. Rest In Peace Mr. Wonderful. Until I see you in the big ring in the sky! God Bless!

Sinn Bodhi on Facebook: RIP Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff… I was there at the Big Event at the CNE in Toronto as a kid along with 80,000 plus watching Mr. Wonderful vs Hulk Hogan along with the Machines and Jake Roberts vs Ricky Steamboat with his dragon… I was so mad at how Orndorff opportunistically attacked the Hulkster as the ref was checking Hogan’s boots. Orndorff was soooo intense and such a great heel that you couldn’t help but love to hate him. As a wrestler I was lucky to interact with Mr. Wonderful several times over the years, at CAC and various shows… Orndorff was always kind, took time to drop knowledge and treat you like a real person. “You’re green until you break a 1000 matches,” Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff… All hail the wrestling gods!

Shawn Stasiak-Stipich on Facebook: I’m so saddened to hear the news of “Mr Wonderful” Paul Orndorff’s passing today! He was without a doubt one of my top 5 favorite wrestlers of all time to watch. He inspired me as a young kid and teenager growing up to working out and aspiring to become a pro wrestler myself. Years later, he ended up being one of the wrestlers who would train me when I arrived to WCW. He had a tremendous look, built out of granite, tenacious and aggressive in ring style that took no shit from no one and his promo style just real and believable because he was REAL! When I arrived to WCW back in 2000, I sat down with him and Kevin Sullivan who was at the time in charge of some office behind the scenes stuff and looked at both of them and told them I aspired and wanted to be the next Paul Orndorff and that I truly wanted to make him proud. He reminded me a lot of my father Stan “The Man” Stasiak. Just his overall demeanor and traits on a personal level and so it gave me a sense of comfort, respect and of course inspiration to want to really give it my all. I gave the best I could given the cards I was dealt, not quite another Paul Orndorff, not even close actually but at least my intentions were there and I at least got to work with Paul for one of the TV segments in an arm wrestling contest. I just couldn’t believe I was actually locking eyes and hands across that table with THE Mr Wonderful. What an amazing experience and memory that I will cherish forever. I love you Paul. Thank you for all the wonderful memories and for the inspiration that I’ve pulled from to apply in my life. You will be truly missed but never forgotten! May God love and keep your soul forever!

TOP PHOTO: “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff heads to the ring. Photo by Terry Dart.