Below is a flashback interview with Paul Orndorff in 2009 by Andy Malnoske on Wrestling Inc, prior to him being inducted into the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame. Every few weeks we will present a never-before-seen interview from Malnoske's vault with some of the legends of the sport. Below are some highlights from the interview:
His steel cage match with Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night's Main Event:
"Unless you are a complete idiot, I won it. You have to realize in this life and in your life that timing is everything. The pencil is everything. He had the pencil and the timing is right. I believe I had the better body and talent, but I just didn't kiss anyone's a-- to get to where I was. That's the difference between me and other people. I earned it, and they couldn't deny me. That is how you have to be. That is how this country used to be, but as you see the way this country is going is that it is going down and down."
Getting into the business:
"I guess it's because when I started in 1976, I just got through playing football. I was drafted by the New Orleans Saints, and was tired of dealing with injuries. I just got tired of playing Football if you want to know the truth, and I was sitting on the floor at my father in-law's house and started to watch pro wrestling. I've watched it for a little bit before, so I thought to myself, you know what? I can do that! I talked to my father in-law, and he was an executive for a life insurance company. He told me that he knew someone that knew Eddie Graham, who is the Promoter in Florida. Before I knew it, I had a meeting with Eddie Graham.
"During this time he said, okay, just make sure you are in good shape and we will give you a tryout. You have to realize, whatever I do I am a fanatic. I take passion in what I do. If it revolves around sports and things like that, I mean, that is up my ally. God made me to be a sports player. He didn't make me to be a Professor or any of that other crap. I had my tryout, and during this tryout, they had Bob Cook, who was a Silver Medalist in Greco Roman Wrestling. You had Jack Brisco, who was an NCAA Amateur Wrestler, and then you had Bob Backlund. Everyone knows who Bob Backlund. Then, they had Hiro Matsuda. The deal was that I had to wrestle each of those guys between 8-10 minutes. I wrestled them all, and the last one of them was Hiro Matsuda. They put me through the gauntlet. I am not just a normal guy. What I mean is that I was in shape. I like contact sports like football. I like collisions and I was good at it. I got drafted by the pros.
"The bottom line is that I did really good. Let's face it, you wrestle both guys like that 8-10 minutes a piece that is going to wear you out, but I never gave up. Hiro Matsuda invited me back the next day. They invited me back between 6-8 months. Hiro Matsuda and Bob Backlund trained me and put me through hell. Finally, I got my first match, but they never told me anything other than what they told me the first day. I take it very seriously. My passion for this business for 25 years was up here. I had a passion for it. I loved it. I trained and respected it, and I did everything that I could to help this business, and to help me."
What keeps him coming back to the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame:
"My goal was to be up here someday. I started off making $15 a match, and travelled 300-400 miles everyday for $15. Can you respect the passion you have for it? You have to love it. You can't do it for money. You have to love what you do. I don't see that happening now. This generation, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame where I am thrilled and honored to be in this group of fellas. Think about it now, what you see out there now, which is not too good let's face it. These guys here molded made wrestling what it was. When these guys go, it's gone. This group of fellas, the era that they were in, my era will be gone. It is lost because this whole new type of 'entertainment,' it wasn't like that when I started. You had to prove yourself and I did.
"That is the sad part is that this Hall of Fame is so meaningful to Pro Wrestling and the names and fellas that are in there, at least you can meet some of them here when they are in here. They have a museum and you can see some of the stuff that were from the 1940's. We have a guy here who is 95 years old, and he looks great. What is sad is that in 20, 30 years from now some of these guys won't be here, but at least you will know who they are. No matter what, the Gorgeous George, Mr. Wonderful, the guys that are in this, that era kind of made, and really put Pro Wrestling out there to make it what it is today, and I am really honored to be part of this."