10 Thoughts on a memory…Paul Orndorff turns on Hulk Hogan (The Great Betrayal)





Welcome to a tinge of a different take on 10 Thoughts. Instead of doing something about today’s product, I am going to attempt to take our the older readers back to a great memory they may have, and hopefully bring some newer readers a little bit of background on some classic moments in wrestling history.

As anyone who read my first article will know, I am very old school. The new product just does not excite me the way things used to be. I realize I sound like an old fuddy-duddy, but so be it. Maybe I am.

With that said, I chose this moment in time because of its historical significance to our industry. This event would start a LONG line of “friends” turning on Hulk Hogan. It was a simpler time, where you simply built up a friendship with Hogan, had them turn on him, and you ultimately have the hottest feud in the industry.

  1. We start with what every great Hogan feud started with in the 1980’s, that is Paul Orndorff becoming Hulk Hogan’s instant best friend and frequent tag partner. The fans immediately latch onto whoever is placed in this spot, and Orndorff may have been the most popular of the bunch. After all, he was the first to turn.
  2. As the months go by, Orndorff starts to get visibly upset at Hogan for what he perceives as Hogan hogging the spotlight all the time. The fact was, it was true, and you could see Paul’s point with perspective, but I was 6 years old, so I sided with Hogan.
  3. This leads to what seemed to be an innocuous tag match with Bundy and Studd. This was a common occurrence back then, as these were Hogan’s biggest enemies at the time.
  4. The argument beforehand shows a ton of foreshadowing that is sorely lacking in today’s product. It was just a subtle touch, that had them arguing strategy. Orndorff is visibly annoyed though.
  5. The match goes on seemingly without a hitch. Until Hogan goes to run off the ropes and blatantly runs into Orndorff. Paul of course sells it like he’s been shot, and is apparently completely unable to make the hot tag.
  6. Bundy and Studd double-team Hogan and throw the ref out of the ring, until, as astutely pointed out by Vincent Kennedy, taking his sweet time getting in there for the save. He clears the ring, helps Hulk to his feet, and everything seems fine…until Orndorff loads up an admittedly brutal looking clothesline on Hogan drawing HUGE heat! He then invites Bundy, Studd, and the Brain into the ring to continue the beating, and walks away with them. All the while he is doing his best “hand cupped over the ears” Hogan impression.

7. The first of MANY matches that drew huge money all over, or at least the most important of them, came at The Big Event in Toronto. The heat was off the charts, and there was a bit of twist for this particular match. It appeared to all those watching, that Orndorff, after months of chasing, had FINALLY won the belt! But alas, it was a Disqualification on Orndorff for the Brain using a chair, (stool?) on Hogan. Hogan keeps the belt and the feud must continue!

8. This all leads up to the final blow off of the feud, and one of my fondest memories as a kid. The steel cage match between these two would go down in legend as one of Hogan’s best, and although the in-ring work was anything but great it was the finish that had me on the edge of my seat.

9. You see, unlike today’s rules, you could only win this match by escape. This lead to a ton of great spots with Orndorff almost getting out the door. And lest I forget the best part of this match, which was Jesse Ventura’s constant cheering on of Orndorff. It was just the icing on the cake to hear Ventura rip EVERYTHING Hogan does and cheer on Orndorff.

10. The match has a very famous ending. In the most perfectly timed spot in the history of wrestling, they both go to escape to the floor, hitting the ground at EXACTLY the same time! If anyone with video editing experience knows the real story, please let me know. But to me, as a 6-year-old, they hit at the same time. One ref, of course Danny Davis, awarded the match to Orndorff. The other to Hogan. This led to mass chaos and arguments over who really won. In the end, it was determined that they hit the floor at the same time, and the match must continue. I won’t bore you with the finishing details, but suffice it to say that it ended with a “Hulking Up.”

So there you have it. One of my favorite memories as a kid, and a very important moment in wrestling. Let me know what some of yours were, and I’ll get to any and all suggestions!

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