I've always said that I'd take any opportunity given to go back in time. 99% of the time I'm meaning time periods before I was born. Here's the odd example of a weekend just a decade ago that I would love to go back to. I'll expand upon why in the future (maybe in book form...?), but 2004-2011 is just about the span of "The Golden Age of the Wrestling Convention" that I had mentioned above. NWA Fanfest went on for another few years and of course there are other events, but those shows that still exist are now listing unknown names who had cups of coffee in NXT as "legends" of the ring. No thanks. I'm glad that I took my trips, and my risks, back when they were worth it.
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Thursday, July 15, 2021
We're losing them. It seems like it's almost weekly. The wrestling stars of our past are disappearing. It's a tad different from twenty years ago when we were seeing the same. Back then it was men and women in their 40's leaving us fast and furious. Now we're seeing older, yet not old enough, stars who lived hard and fast lives passing away or suffering from ailments which will inevitably lead to that. The latest is a man who seemed in such terrific shape during his career that it's hard to fathom that he'd ever actually die.
"Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff is one of the earliest wrestling names that I knew as a child alongside Junkyard Dog, King Kong Bundy and, of course, The Hulkster. Though he was variously a "good guy" during that time, I primarily remember thinking of him as the opposite. He was made to be a heel. He looked too perfect to be anything but an egotistical narcissist long before the latter word ever entered the vernacular of most wrestling fans.
I don't have a direct memory of it, but since we seemed to tune into Saturday Night's Main Event most often I feel that I saw the famous Hogan-Orndorff cage match as it aired. Later on I definitely had it on a Coliseum Video and it remains, along with Hogan-Volkoff and the pre-WrestleMania III Battle Royal, a SNME match that I feel was totally made for prime time network television. It was a quintessential "big fight feel" match. You may be able to argue that other promotions had "better matches," but no one topped the World Wrestling Federation in that era when it came to presenting a match of importance. In those early years "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff was a big part of that. He wasn't in the main event of the first WrestleMania by accident. Not only could he get you to watch, but you stayed interested to see what he did to his opponent. He was a complete performer in every sense.
Although he didn't seem to make quite as many appearances on the circuit as others from his era, I did meet Mr. Wonderful more than a few times. He was consistently a pleasure to deal with even as he battled his health issues. There wasn't a shortage of items to get signed ranging from action figures to cards emanating from the WWF and WCW alike. Though he changed little in appearance, I still would like to see a proper figure representing his WCW years somewhere down the line.
As much as we have to enjoy from Paul Orndorff, I've always felt that there was a bit missing from the times that he wasn't on the national scene. He's the type of talent that should've always had a spot in the big time, so it was likely his own choice that he wasn't as visible. I also feel that he could've been used a lot better in that often-forgotten 1990 run in WCW where he was allied with Sting, Lex Luger and JYD.
Another legend is gone. I'll miss seeing him in his occasional appearances on television and at conventions. I knew that when I saw him in late 2019 that it would likely be the final time. As always in a tribute entry I leave you a photo with myself and the subject. It's "Mr. Wonderful" while he was still in the good years as we all should choose to remember him.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
Thursday, June 17, 2021
In addition to the particular hand choices the facial likeness is great. Coupled with the removable bandana you could honestly label this the "ultimate" X-Pac. For a man such as Sean Waltman who's had plenty of figures down through the years, this is a helluva statement if I do say so myself...and I do.
Saturday, May 29, 2021
I told myself I was only buying Steamboat. Now I'm not far off from having enough to build a ring...
Friday, May 7, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
Something else that you may notice upon looking at the figure boxed is the WrestleMania XII logo behind The Warrior. Much to my surprise this is a tri-fold cardboard backdrop of the entrance from the 1996 event. Very unexpected and cool. Mattel did not need to include this, but they did. I applaud things like that, especially when they're a nod to wrestling history. If you follow our social media you saw just how cool the figure looks "taking off from the gate."
The initial shipment, though delayed, is arriving to collectors at press time. He's still available on back-order. While most Ringside Exclusives become desirable after a period, if you ask me this one is a slam dunk. I've said it before...get it now. And Always Believe.