There are few things in life I enjoyed more in my early wrestling fandom than Paul Orndorff turning heel on Hulk Hogan. The whole thing was so simple that everyone could see it coming a mile away but when it happened, there was still a sense of shock to the event. I remember all my fellow fans hunting me down and asking, “Can you believe that?” Of course I could – Hogan didn’t pick up the phone when Mr. Wonderful called him. I get mad when folks don’t return a DM or text in like 30 seconds, so I was completely onboard with Paul here! So we join Orndorff on his fantastic heel run as he takes on Wish Jimmy Snuka, Sivi Afi.
And let me tell you, the WWF absolutely marketed him as a Snuka replacement. They brought him in, told him to do all the same moves, you name it. Just one problem – he wasn’t The Superfly. Not even close. In some ways, that’s a very good thing (insert your own jokes here), but to a wrestling fan in 1986 that didn’t know any better, it was a bad thing because he was just kinda bland and boring.
But that’s ok, because Mr. Wonderful is here and he is AMAZING. One of my favorite things about his turn is that he immediately stole Hulk Hogan’s music and mannerisms. It was such a scummy move and the fans HATED him for it. Even more comical was Vince on commentary crying about how that theme was written specifically for Hogan, which was a total lie as it was originally slated for Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham. Heck it even says as much on the original Wrestling Album!
A collar and elbow tie up starts the bout, with Afi backing Mr. Wonderful into the ropes. The ref gets between them for a clean break and Orndorff doesn’t hesitate for a second to punch Sivi right in the schnozz.
He follows that up with a shot to the breadbasket so powerful that not only does Afi do a forward roll but it ruins the color on the camera as well. That’s mighty!
Paul takes Sivi over to the corner but an attempt to drive his noggin into the turnbuckles is blocked. Afi whips his foe into the opposite corner but then charges in like an idiot and takes a knee to the face as a result.
Orndorff goes for a drop kick that fails, which makes Sivi so happy he does a sterotypical Polynesian dance. He then goes up to the top for a splash (gee, who could he be emulating there?) which Mr. Wonderful sees coming from ten palm trees away and dodges it like he’s Samoa Joe or something.
And then just to make sure everyone remembers how he turned on Hogan in the first place, he reenacts the whole betrayal with Afi playing the part of the Hulkster. A patented Orndorff piledriver later, it’s all over. I’ve always said that 1986 Randy Savage was my favorite heel run ever, but I think I may be selling Orndorff short on that…he truly was Mr. Wonderful in every sense of the word!