Paul Orndorff passed away yesterday at the age of 71 years old.
'Mr Wonderful' had been battling dementia in the latter part of his life. Unfortunately, I came across a video of him in care a few weeks ago and it was not the lasting image I would like to have of someone who was one of the most well-built wrestlers I came across when I first began learning about American wrestling.
It was easy for me to work out when first came across Orndorff's work. It was when I sought out a tape of the first WrestleMania. In the main event of that show, Orndorff teamed up with Roddy Piper to lose against Hulk Hogan and Mr T.
This was arguably the most important match in WWF/E history as the success of the first WrestleMania was a gamble which paid off for the McMahon family.
There's no argument where I sit - it is THE most important match in the company's history. Had Mania bombed, then there would be no WWF/E today.
Another debatable thing about Orndorff's run in the WWF concerns his heel turn against Hulk Hogan in 1986. Many consider it one of the most well executed turns in history.
Orndorff's WCW work, during the mid-1990s, was also good. To be fair, that was the period in which I watched him wrestle the most due to me watching WCW religiously when it aired weekly on German TV when I was a child.