The professional wrestler known as "Mr. Wonderful", Paul Orndorff has died at the age of 71.
The news was conveyed by his son Travis on Instagram on Monday.
Orndorff co-headlined the very first Wrestlemania in 1985, teaming with "Rowdy" Roddy Piper against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T at Madison Square Garden.
His on-off feud with Hogan would generate massive amounts of money at the box office, with 60,000 fans flocking to Toronto's Exhibition Stadium for The Big Event, a card headlined by a singles bout between the pair. What was notable about that was that The Big Event was not a pay-per-view, nor was it promoted on national television.
However, it was in the midst of the Hogan storyline that Orndorff suffered a career-changing injury.
While weightlifting, Orndorff seriously injured his right arm. Not wanting to lose money that would accompany him taking time off to heal, he instead worked through the problem.
That led to his right arm partially atrophying, and appearing far smaller than his left arm, whilst also curtailing his work in the ring.
Orndorff departed the then WWF in 1988, retiring to run a bowling alley in Fayeteville, North Carolina.
He was tempted back into the ring by the Ted Turner-owned World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1990. During a brief run, he was a fan favourite, aligning with Sting and El Gigante against the in-house heel stable of the Four Horsemen.
That run would not last long, and Orndorff would bounce around independent promotions until a permanent WCW return in 1992.
There he would win the TV championship, form the 'Pretty Wonderful' tag-team with another ex-WWE talent in Paul Roma, before retiring from in-ring action in 1995.
However, his influence on the business would still be felt as he trained wannabe wrestlers at WCW's Power Plant training facility.
Just got slammed with the Paul Orndorff news,RIP my brother,love you and thank you for always making me fight for everything in our matches,heaven just got even more Wonderful,love U4LifeHH
— Hulk Hogan (@HulkHogan) July 12, 2021
In 2005, Orndorff was inducted into the WWE's Hall of Fame, and he would make sporadic appearances before his lurch into ill-health.
In recent years, he was treated for Stage 4 lymph node cancer, and had been suffering from dementia.
"Most of you will remember him for his physique. Many will remember his intensity," his son Travis said on Instagram, "But if I could only get you to understand and see his heart.
"He will always be Pop, Paw Paw, and Daddy at home. And as much as many of you hated him as a wrestler, he absolutely loved you for it.
"He was an amazing father that showed me more love than I ever deserved. I love you Daddy."
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