In the 1980s, “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff was one of the biggest names in the company then known as the WWF, where he was often booked as a villainous character under the tutelage of the late Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. Now, at the age of 68, the WWE Hall of Famer is reportedly in need of financial assistance and is battling serious health issues, as his family has started a GoFundMe campaign to both help him save his house from foreclosure and defray his medical expenses.
According to Wrestling Inc., the GoFundMe campaign was started by Orndorff’s son, Travis Orndorff, who explained in the page’s description that he is hoping to raise $10,000, with $5,000 needed no later than October 1 in order to pay for property taxes and help save his father’s house from being sold off. Travis added that the remaining $5,000 will be used to pay for medication and medical visits.
“He is unable to travel to visit his fans and sign autographs. Thank you for your donation and the largest donation submitted by 10/1 of at least $500 will receive his “Mr. Wonderful” black and gold robe, if we hit our 10k dollar goal. God bless.”
As of this writing, the campaign has raised $8,196 out of its $10,000 goal in six days, with just under 200 people having donated so far.
Separately, Paul Orndorff’s former WWF colleague, Cauliflower Alley Club president B. Brian Blair, issued an update on his friend’s financial and medical status, explaining that the club has gone over its restrictions for per-person donations, and adding that Orndorff is currently battling “severe” chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Blair also encouraged people to donate to the aforementioned GoFundMe campaign and clarified that he can be contacted with “sincere inquiries” if someone wants to book Orndorff for an autograph signing session.
“The CAC has exceeded its per person donation restrictions, with his medical bills, but now he is fighting for his home. Paul has beat stage 4 lymph node cancer and is battling severe CTE now… As most of you know, Paul is a fighter and has always done his best 2 help others and now he and his family need our help,” wrote Blair, as quoted by WrestlingNews.co.
Although Blair mentioned that Paul Orndorff could be suffering from CTE, a report from the Atlantic explained last year that the condition, which is closely linked to head injuries, can only be diagnosed after death, via an autopsy. A number of retired NFL players were posthumously diagnosed with CTE, including Pro Football Hall of Famers Mike Webster, Ken Stabler, Frank Gifford, and Junior Seau, as noted by CBS News.
According to Wrestling Inc., Paul Orndorff started his wrestling career in 1976 and was best known by many fans for his time in WWE, where he headlined the first WrestleMania in 1985, teaming up with Roddy Piper in a loss against Hulk Hogan and celebrity guest Mr. T. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005, in a class that also included Piper, Hogan, Jimmy Hart, and the late Nikolai Volkoff, among other performers.