WWE Legends (Series 4)
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff
6.5 Inch Scale
Today we’re taking a look at Mr. Wonderful, Paul Orndorff. Although many modern wrestling fans barely know the guy, he’s had a long and storied, albeit at times tumultuous career. Paul came from the same sort of wrestling background as Hulk Hogan and the two, coming from similar areas and having similar training and physiques, eventually became famous rivals. Orndorff is remembered for being a core part of that early WWE (then WWF) success. In fact, Hulk Hogan and Orndorff actually drew over 70,000 fans in Canada to see them fight. For a house show (non televised) no less.
Mr. Wonderful even headlined the first Wrestlemania, although most of that has been forgotten these days. Orndorff seems like a bit player in the Hogan/Piper/Mr.T confrontation and by Wrestlemania 2, Orndorff was already moving down pretty quick. His most famous match however, would likely be the infamous steel cage match with Hulk Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event.
Orndorff seemingly beat Hogan, as they both escaped the cage at the exact same time. It’s one of the best cage matches in WWE history. Personally I became a fan of Orndorff more for his WCW stint, which was actually quite long. Orndorff had plenty of memorable moments in WCW, including a TV Title run, a feud with Cactus Jack and a pretty good tag team with Paul Roma in “Pretty Wonderful”.
It was also in WCW where he the nickname “Paula” really became over, which allowed fans to really get on the Wonderful one’s case. He had although, had it chanted at him for years prior. Naturally, Paul had a WrestleCrap sort of moment when he met Gary Spivey (“acclaimed” psychic) and was reinvented in WCW as, well, Mr. Wonderful. Let’s just say he lost his smile, but Spivey helped him find it again. It actually led to a good run of success in WCW and gave Mr. Wonderful one of the best themes in wrestling at the time. An awesome over the top opera about how wonderful he was.
Sadly nagging injuries, including one that caused his arm to atrophy and shrink to half it’s size, eventually put Paul Orndorff on the shelf for good. Right as wrestling was starting to get big again and just as Orndorff had started a feud with the Four Horsemen. Had the injuries not put him on the shelf for good, Orndorff likely would have made an impact in the modern era of pro wrestling as the Monday Night Wars were just heating up.
Eventually Mr. Wonderful would make a transition to the WCW Power Plant, where he was responsible for helping train a whole host of wrestlers, including, but not limited to Bill Goldberg. In 2000, Orndorff returned to the ring in great shape in an angle that was to see him teach some of his old students some respect. Unfortunately as Orndorff was dishing out some punishement and giving a few of his patented piledrivers, he suffered a stinger and lay paralyzed in the ring for several minutes as the match continued, before eventually being thrown out due to Paul having to be taken out of the ring. He did however, receive a standing ovation from the fans and went out in the ring… Which is about as good as it gets for pro wrestlers.
In 2006 he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame… An honor Orndorff so loved that he left what he called a “$20 plaque” in his hotel room. Paul has always been a rebel and now in 2011, in an era when guys like Orndorff are often long forgotten, Mr. Wonderful gets the star treatment in Mattel’s WWE Legends Seres 4.
The WWE Legends packaging is a standard bubble card with a couple of areas for a paper block logo. It features the WWE Legends Logo in the right hand slot foreground with a picture of the Legend on the left hand background. The picture is an important part because more often than not, Mattel has chose to sculpt the figure’s face to match the photo.
Orndorff’s lips are slightly pursed in the picture and I don’t think that’s translated well to the figure. One of my grievances with having the photos and sculpt mimic one another. More often than not this seems to be the case and I think it hurts Mr. Wonderful a bit. The photo appears to be an early 80’s one, which is appropriate for the attire… Although Orndorff would actually wear this very same attire up into the 90’s in WCW. I’ve seen him in it as late as 1993, even though Paul was a guy who changed tights a lot.
The back of the package shows off the other figures in the series. It also mentions his famous titles, including the NWA Tag Belts. No complaints from me. His “bio” speaks of the aforementioned cage match with Hogan. Clearly, a defining moment in Paul’s career.
Any time a wrestling figure comes along that Jakks has previously produced, there is going to be a comparison. Especially when it comes to Legends, which Jakks cornered the market on. Jakks’ Orndorff sculpts were always good, but Mattel’s definitely seems a smidge better.
The robe is an added touch and again it’s very accurate. As I mentioned above, these tights Orndorff had in his collection, including the boots and robe, for many years. Rather than attempt to duplicate a catch-all version, they’ve nailed a specific one to the T.
The head sculpt is very good, and Orndorff often posed with his mouth slightly agape. I do think Mattel took it just a tad too far, but it’s a very good likeness. Jakks’ Orndorff looked like an old woman from certain angles. Of course, that’s also slightly befitting of “Paula”.
His body sculpt is appropriately buff and he’s good enough to fill in for Hulk Hogan in Commercials, if need be. More than likely though, fans will scoop up Orndorff to use as custom fodder to make Hulkster figures in Mattel scale!
Scale seems to be pretty good, with Macho Man and Orndorff being about the same height. Macho looks a tad bigger from some angles, which isn’t correct, but for the most part they’re the same size. Given that Jakks didn’t do scale at all, this is a big feather in the Mattel Legends figure’s cap.
There isn’t much to say about the sculpt beyond that. It’s good, it fits the character and it’s generic enough to work for other characters. This isn’t Mattel’s finest sculpting hour, but it’s definitely a great figure. The included robe looks perfect as well. I haven’t noticed any bleed from the robe’s fabric onto the skin tone, but I do advise leaving it off the figure as these cloth outfits do stain the toys from time to time.
It’s the scale in combination with the articulation that’s really winning people over to Mattel. Orndorff is another great example of this. I do find that the legs are a bit troublesome at times, and double elbows in addition to double knees would be excellent.
However for the most part, this guy is as good as all the ELITE or LEGENDS are. They have swivels, ball joints and hinges in all the appropriate places. The knees are even double hinged, which really helps with some of the poses.
I can’t exactly explain how the legs work at the hips. They’re not regular ball joints and they’re not like the joints on DCUC figures. They’re similar to old school GI Joe construction in a way, but much harder to work. For what it’s worth, I found Orndorff one of the easier to pose in the legs. At times it feels like these figure’s legs will snap right off.
However he can pass the piledriver test. That alone puts him leagues above Jakks efforts. As I’ve said in the past… Being able to perform basic moves like the piledriver is really one of my prerequisites for wrestling figures. This is doubly impacted on Orndorff who’s finish is a piledriver and also the move that officially ended his career!
Remember in the past when I’ve said that the included stands don’t do anything for me? Well they’ve gotten rid of them in this wave. For the most part, I don’t miss them… But ol’ Paul comes with nothing but his robe.
At $15, he feels pretty empty. I’m guessing the Legends are a bit like DCUC in which one guy in the wave will get shorted on accessories while others will get a lot. The robe is nice, but it’s not much accessory wise. I would have LOVED the handheld mirror that Orndorff used in WCW for the latter part of his run.
Hopefully we get a WCW Orndorff in pink tights with his little coat. Have him include his mirror and it’d be something that Jakks never gave us. I could even dig an Orndorff in orange or maybe his old OP tights. I’m down for a couple of Pauls, so long as they give him some more accessories to work with. Maybe include some flip flops for his eventual encounter with Vader?
Paul Orndorff is a good figure and a great Mr. Wonderful. My concern is that with the lack of accessories and the lack of respect that a guy like Orndorff gets these days, that he may not be a popular seller. The good thing that Paul has going for him though is that he’s great custom fodder. It’s sort of like when Paul worked at the Power Plant… He’s creating new wrestlers… BUT IN A WHOLE NEW WAY!
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Robe
Value – 7
Overall – 8 out of 10
“WONDERFUL… They call him Mr. Wonderful! You know he is so wonderful… WONDERFUL! They call him Mr. Wonderful!”
If you’re an old school fan like me, Mr. Wonderful is a great figure. He fits in several eras. He can be there in the birth of the rock’n’wrestling days or he can be in the early 1990’s era. No matter what era you’re a fan of, this figure is downright, wonderful.
I love that theme…