clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Paul Orndorff’s son confirms Hulk Hogan’s story: ‘Dad could be difficult’

In a Cageside Seats exclusive, M. G0MEZ speaks with Mr. Wonderful’s son to get the truth.

Hulk Hogan recently went on record to say that Vince McMahon couldn’t trust stars like Rowdy Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff with the WWE Championship because they refused to do business.

Now, the son of Mr. Wonderful is speaking out, and he confirms Hogan’s story.

“The fact that Terry [Bollea, Hogan’s real name] said that Dad was difficult is 1000% true,” said Travis Orndorff.

According to Wonderful’s son, it wasn’t so much Orndorff’s refusal to do a job for Hogan that held his father back. Instead, he believes his dad’s volatile personality made Vince McMahon hesitant to put the title on the Tampa native, especially as McMahon prepared to take his company national.

“You got to know if you’re building that brand, and it’s brand new, to put the title on somebody that is volatile, that isn’t always as agreeable, or you just can’t have a conversation with, without having a lot of emotions, that is going to keep you from putting them in a position that they could hurt your entire brand,” said Travis.

As an example, Travis recalled an incident where his father once knocked out the first person he saw after someone hit him from behind with a chair. That kind of explosiveness, according to Travis, is what kept his dad from climbing higher in WWE.

Still, he says his father was a respected performer whom McMahon offered a job for life, had he wanted it.

As for refusing to do a job for Hogan, Travis said his father never declined to do what McMahon asked him to do. But because Hogan, the wrestler, had a close relationship with Vince, the promoter, which was an unwritten no-no in wrestling then, he enjoyed giving Hogan a hard time, which Travis said his dad later regretted.

“But there were times where, because of the situation, Roddy and Dad would screw with Terry and say no, even though they were fine with it.”

While The Hulkster and Mr. Wonderful may have hated each other onscreen, Travis says the bond between Terry Bollea and Paul Orndorff was like family.

“When I would ask Dad how he felt about Terry, he loved him. Loved him. Absolutely loved him. Talked about him like a brother.”

Aside from his father’s relationship with Hogan, Travis also spoke about his dad’s time in the business, sharing how his father had three scars on his head from where an elderly woman in Shreveport, Louisana, hit him with a beer bottle.

In addition, Travis revealed how his father had to look after himself in a business that offered no job security and how promoters could devalue a wrestler at any time, which may have contributed to Orndorff’s combustible character.

When at home, shades of the Mr. Wonderful character would occasionally creep out. Still, Orndorff remained a true hero to his son.

“Being with Dad and growing up with him, the love he showed me and how he encouraged me and accepted me when I was sick when I was nine, and I was in the hospital. How he stayed with me, this huge 250-pound man sleeping on a cot in a hospital with his kid, not sure if he’s going to live.”

Travis also recounted times when he was on the road with his dad, how fans would curse at them. In one incident, a violent mob tried to overturn their vehicle. Travis says that his father had to place him under the floorboard to protect him until the police arrived and helped get them out of town.

“He was my best friend. He was the person I could tell anything to, and he wouldn’t judge me.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats