Some wrestlers have a great look. Some wrestlers are gifted with natural wrestling ability. Some wrestlers know how to work the microphone. Some wrestlers can claim to be a master ring psychologist. When one wrestler possesses the combination of all of these aforementioned qualities, it is truly wonderful.
Paul Orndorff was born in Brandon, Florida on October 29, 1949. He earned his first measure of fame as a fullback in the early 1970s and was inducted into the University of Tampa Football Hall of Fame in 1986. Paul was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1973 but, by 1975, he found his true calling and began training with Hiro Matsuda for a career in professional wrestling.
In 1977 he won his first championship, the Memphis territorys Mid Southern Heavyweight title. In December of 1978, the "Brandon Bull" teamed with Jimmy Snuka and won the National Wrestling Alliances World Tag Team titles. In 1979, Orndorff teamed with Dick Slater and won the NWA Southeast Tag Team championship. Moving on to the Mid-South territory, Paul won the North American title on the July 4, 1981. Georgia Championship Wrestling was next and in June of 1982 Orndorff won the National Heavyweight title. In 1983 Paul made two tours to Japan for New Japan Wrestling.
Late in 1983, Paul signed with the World Wrestling Federation. Making his Madison Square Garden debut in January of 1984, "Mr. Wonderful" was featured in main events less than one month later. By late 1984 it became obvious that Paul would be an integral part of a spectacular event scheduled for March of 1985 - the first Wrestlemania. The controversial finish to the main event that featured Orndorff and Roddy Piper vs. Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at Wrestlemania led to Paul appearing on the first NBC Saturday Night Main Event, which was the first time professional wrestling had aired on network television in more than thirty years. In 1986, the main event of Paul Orndorff vs. Hogan drew over 60,000 to Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, Canada.
The early 1990's saw Paul wrestling in World Championship Wrestling, the Universal Wrestling Federation, the American Wrestling Federation and the Smokey Mountain Wrestling group. By 1995 Paul was the Head Trainer at World Championship Wrestling's Power Plant, giving back to the sport of which he was so passionate.
In 2005, Mr. Wonderful was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California.
In retirement, Paul enjoys hunting and fishing with his good friends Rick Steiner and Brad Rheingans. He particularly enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Rhonda, his two children and eight wonderful grandchildren.
The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame is proud to induct the "Brandon Bull" into the PWHF Class of 2009.
- John Pantozzi