A great wrestler who never made it to the A List, but was a B+ Major midcard wrestler who had the greatest Pile Driver in wrestling history and had one of the greatest fued with Hulk Hogan
"MR WONDERFUL" PAUL ORNDORFF
Starting out (1976-1982)
Paul Orndorff started wrestling in 1976 in Mid-Southern Wrestling where he feuded with a young Jerry Lawler. Orndorff won his first wrestling title when he pinned Lawler for the Mid-Southern Heavyweight Title on June 7, 1977. Orndorff lost the title back to Lawler before he left the Memphis territory. Orndorff began working for the NWA Tri-State promotion where he got involved in a feud with Ernie Ladd. The feud with Ladd saw Orndorff win the NWA Tri-State North American Heavyweight Title from Ernie Ladd on two occasions (on May 29, 1978 and again in June). Both times, Orndorff’s reigns were short and were ended by Ladd.
After feuding with Ladd, Orndorff continued to make a name for himself in the National Wrestling Alliance where he feuded with The Masked Superstar. During this time he became known as “The Brandon Bull," a nickname he had during his days as a football player. In December 1978, Paul Orndorff teamed with Jimmy Snuka to capture the NWA World Tag Team titles from Baron Von Raschke and Greg Valentine. The duo held on to the titles for five months before losing them to Baron Von Raschke and his new partner Paul Jones on April 28, 1978.
In 1979, Orndorff traveled to the Alabama territory's “Southeast Championship Wrestling." There, Orndorff worked mainly as a tag team competitor teaming with Dick Slater to win the NWA Southeast Tag Team Championship from the team of Jimmy Golden and Norvell Austin in October 1979. Their reign only lasted about a month before being upended by the combination of Dennis Condrey and David Schults. Orndorff then teamed with former opponent Norvell Austin (who was calling himself “The Junkyard Dog" at the time, not to be mistaken for the more famous Junkyard Dog) to win the titles in late 1979. The duo beat Dennis Condrey and Randy Rose, the same team that ended Orndorff and Austin’s run with the gold. Norvell Austin, Dennis Condrey, and Randy Rose would go on to form The Midnight Express shortly thereafter.
Roddy Piper vs Paul Orndorff 1985
During 1980, Orndorff started to split his time between the Alabama and the Mid-South territories, until he left the Alabama territory by the end of 1980 to focus entirely on the Mid-South territory. In Mid-South, Orndorff feuded with Ken Mantell over Mantell’s propensity for cutting people’s hair after a match. Orndorff got the better of Mantell and won the rights to use the Freebird hair removal cream on Mantell. Orndorff earned a shot at the North American champion The Grappler but on the day of the match he overslept (storyline) and was incensed when his replacement Jake “The Snake" Roberts beat the Grappler for the title. Orndorff’s reaction to Jake’s title win signaled a change in attitude; he turned heel as he demanded a title match against Jake “the Snake". While he lost the support of the fans, he won the North American title on July 4, 1981.
Orndorff feuded with Ted DiBiase, JYD, Dusty Rhodes, and Dick Murdoch while holding on to the North American title. Orndorff lost the title to Ted DiBiase on November 1, 1981 in a match at the Municipal Auditorium in New Orleans, Louisiana. Orndorff was unable to wrestle in the rematch due to car trouble, which meant that Orndorff’s friend Bob Roop got the title shot and won the match. It was soon revealed that Roop had sabotaged Orndorff’s car so he could get the title shot instead (storyline). Orndorff turned face to feud with Roop but found himself unable to regain the title after which he left the Mid-South Territory.
Orndorff reappeared in Georgia Championship Wrestling in early 1982 immediately launching into a feud with Buzz Sawyer over the NWA National Heavyweight Championship. Orndorff won the gold on June 20, 1982. During the summer, Orndorff would vacate the title so he could focus on pursuing the NWA World Champion "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.[ Orndorff was unsuccessful in his challenge and soon focused on the title he gave up. When Orndorff vacated the title, it was put on the line in a tournament that was won by The Super Destroyer.
On August 19, 1982, Paul Orndorff regained the title from the Super Destroyer. Orndorff next feuded with The Masked Superstar, with whom he traded the National Heavyweight title back and forth during the fall of 1982. Orndorff then traded the title back and forth with Super Destroyer. Frustrated with his inability to beat Paul Orndorff for the National title, Larry Zbyszko paid Killer Tim Brooks $25,000 to do his dirty work. Brooks beat Orndorff with the help of a chair and won the title only to turn around and give it to Zbyszko. The fact that Zybszko bought the title and did not win it forced NWA President Bob Geigel to step in and strip Zbyszko of the title.
Orndorff then moved to New Japan Pro Wrestling for several months. He made two tours of Japan, the first in April. He wrestled Kengo Kimura, Riki Chōshū, and Akira Maeda, as well as teaming up with Ed Leslie against Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi. Orndorff returned in October and partnered with Big John Studd against Maeda and Sakaguchi, then faced Maeda again in singles competition.
Top 100 WCW #32 Paul Orndorff
1 • •