Wrestling Legend Paul Orndorff Jr., Known as 'Mr. Wonderful,' Dead at 71

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Paul Orndorff Jr., better known as WWE Hall of Famer "Mr. Wonderful," has died. He was 71.

Orndorff's son, Travis Orndorff, announced the news of his father's death on Instagram Monday.

"It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father, Paul Parlette Orndorff Jr. . He is better known as 'Mr. #1derful' Paul Orndorff," Travis captioned an image of himself hugging his dad.

He continued, "Most of you will remember him for his physique. Many will remember his intensity. 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."

Paul Orndoff
Paul Orndoff

Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty

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Orndorff joined the World Wrestling Federation, the predecessor to the WWE, in 1983. He made his debut in the ring in 1984 with a win over Salvatore Bellomo at Madison Square Garden, quickly launching into the wrestling spotlight.

In 1985, Orndorff joined Roddy Piper to go up again World Heavyweight Champion Hulk Hogan and Mr. T for the main event of the first WrestleMania.

Orndorff transitioned to World Championship Wrestling in the early 1990s, where he scored his first major championship win, defeating Erik Watts to become Television Champion. In 1994, he became a two-time WCW Tag Team champion with Paul Roma.

Paul Orndoff
Paul Orndoff

Robert Cianflone/ALLSPORT/Getty

The wrestling legend was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2009, he became part of the National Wrestling Alliance Hall of Fame.

On Monday, several other former wrestlers shared tributes to Orndorff on social media, including his once-rival Hogan.

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"Just got slammed with the Paul Orndorff news, RIP my brother," Hogan wrote on Twitter. "love you and thank you for always making me fight for everything in our matches, heaven just got even more Wonderful, love U4LifeHH"

Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, known as The Iron Sheik, also honored his "brother," writing: "You were the toughest."

"We train together. We ride together. You were excellent Bubba. I am so sad I love you forever rest in peace."

Along with the announcement of his father's death, Travis and his wife set up a GoFundMe campaign for Orndorff Monday to raise funds for his funeral expenses. Along with their donations, fans began sharing photos and memories of the wrestler on the page.

"Thank you for a childhood of entertainment," one fan wrote. "You were a true champion."

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