WWE Hall of Famer 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff has died at the age of 71, the company announced on Monday.
Orndorff is a Tampa Bay area native who was born in Brandon. He later played running back at the University of Tampa before getting his start in pro-wrestling when he joined Mid-Southern Wrestling in 1976.
While in Memphis, he tussled with other legends like a young Jerry 'The King' Lawler who he'd pin to become NWA World Champion the following year.
Orndorff officially joined the WWE - then WWF - in 1983 with his 'Mr. Wonderful' nickname and then-manager "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. His biggest claim to fame during that period was fighting alongside Piper against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T in the main event of the very first Wrestlemania.
His feud with Hogan led to an iconic match at The Big Event in Toronto, which drew more than 75,000 fans. Their blow-off fight was a hugely successful steel cage match on Saturday Night's Main Event.
Orndorff would leave WWE in the early 90s to wrestle for rival promotion WCW.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005.
What other people are reading right now:
- Your guide to the Lightning's Stanley Cup victory parade in Tampa
- Haitian man with Florida ties arrested in Haitian president's assassination
- 'Unprecedented': 841 Florida manatees have died so far this year
- Billionaire Richard Branson reaches space in his own ship
- Here's how to check current beach conditions before you go
- A Frank Conversation: New podcast explores race, religion, politics and more
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter