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 - David Stone

Very early in his career, Paul Orndorff won the prestigious North American Champion twice in 1978, winning and losing to and from "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd. Later that year, he competed in the Mid-Atlantic area. In December 1978, Paul teamed with Jimmy Snuka to win NWA World Tag Team Titles from Greg Valentine & Baron Von Raschke. They lost the belts to Baron Von Raschke & Paul Jones, April 28, 1979. Returning to Mid-South for a little while, Orndorff lost to Angelo Mosca Sr at a Superdome event on July 21, 1979. From there, Orndorff traveled to Alabama. In October of 1979, teamed with Dick Slater to win the Southeastern Tag Team Titles

In the summer of 1980, he began a feud with Ken Mantell in Mid-South. Mantell had a tradition of cutting opponents' hair. He even managed to give Orndorff an unwanted haircut. Orndorff went on to beat Mantell in a special match where Orndorff was awarded the right to use the infamous Freebird Hair-Removal Creme on Mantell's scalp. He continued his success by defeating Mantell in a rematch at the Mid-South Superdome Extravaganza August 1980 event. In November, Ernie Ladd and Leroy Brown injured Paul's brother Terry Orndorff while winning the Mid-South Tag Team Titles. Big brother Paul sought revenge, but he lost to Ladd in a "Lights out" match at the Mid-South Superdome Extravaganza November 1980.  

Orndorff later returned to the Southeast Continental Area. There, he teamed up with Norvell Austin, who was then calling himself "The Junkyard Dog". They defeated Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose, the eventual first edition of the Midnight Express (which would eventually include Austin himself), for the Southeast Continental Tag Team Titles.  Paul Orndorff came back to Mid-South ... only to oversleep on the day of his title shot against North American Champion The Grappler. When substitute Jake Roberts took the belt from The Grappler, Orndorff went berzerk. His obession with the belt cost him his popularity with the fans. He demanded a title shot, and beat Jake for his third North American Title at the Superdome on July 4, 1981.  More...

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