On July 12th, WWE Hall of Famer “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff passed away at the age of 71. Since the days following his death, many across the wrestling business paid tribute to Orndorff’s legacy including CM Punk, Triple H and his legendary rival, Hulk Hogan.
Joining the group of honoring the WWE Hall of Famer was his friend Eric Bischoff on his podcast, 83 Weeks, who dedicated a full episode to his long-time friend. During “Mr. Wonderful’s” time with WCW, Paul was in a tag team with Paul Roma called “Pretty Wonderful,” who once held WCW Tag Team Championships. Bischoff described who he compares most to the Pretty Wonderful in today’s wrestling world.
“Roma was a little more flamboyant and Orndorff was a little more dangerous,” Bischoff said. “I like that, I like how contrasts work. Randy Orton and the skateboard burn out guy, Matt Riddle. I love that team because that’s just an interesting contrast of characters. It’s like a good buddy cop movie, you generally have contrasting characters that compliment each other and I think that’s the way Paul Roma and Paul Orndorff were.”
In 1999, Eric Bischoff was relieved of his management position in WCW from Turner Sports President Harvey Schiller. Bischoff admitted that he felt betrayed by the company, although he did not go into detail about why. What Bischoff did mention is that during that time after his WCW departure, he avoided conversations with wrestlers involved with WCW. Bischoff detailed a story about Orndorff seeing him at the WWE Hall of Fame in the mid 2000’s.
“I was at a Hall of Fame ceremony in WWE and I hadn’t seen or talked to Paul in a couple years,” Bischoff detailed. “Paul came up to me and he said ‘Eric, I thought we were friends.’ And I said of course we’re friends Paul, of course we are Paul. He said ‘I haven’t heard a word from you.’ I still remember that and I try to remember that lesson because I learned that lesson that night from Paul.
“When I kind of turned my back on everybody for awhile [due to feeling betrayed by Turner Sports over his WCW firing], I wasn’t angry at anybody, I just wanted to look in the other direction. Because I didn’t stay in touch with certain people, I think it hurt Paul’s feelings. When he said that to me, I remember right where we were standing when he said it to me and I could see it in my mind like it happened five minutes ago. It was really an eye opening experience for me and I realized a little bit about myself that I needed to work on.”
While being critical of some heels in wrestling today, Bischoff detailed that Orndorff truly enjoyed heat. The former WCW President also detailed the key role Orndorff played in Hulk Hogan’s career.
“Too many talents today play the role of a heel because that’s what they were asked to do, very few of them love heat,” Bischoff said. “Paul loved heat, he loved it. Clearly Hulk [Hogan] is one of my best friends, we wouldn’t be watching what we’re watching today if it wouldn’t have been for the combination of Vince McMahon and Hulk Hogan. But, Hulk would not have been the babyface Hulk had become had he not had the heel to get him there, Paul was one of them.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit 83 Weeks with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.