On the most recent episode of the What Happened When Mondays podcast on the MLW Radio Network, Tony Schiavone went into the backstage occurrences surrounding the very first Nitro. In the midst of talking about Nitro, Schiavone told the true story about the backstage fight between Vader and Paul Orndorff.
Legend has it that Orndorff and Vader clashed heads while Paul was working as an agent and Vader showed up late to Center Stage for a taping. Vader said that he was late because he was at a photoshoot and the two eventually ended up fighting. The legend says that Paul Orndorff had just gotten out of the shower and knocked Vader out with his bad arm while still wearing his shower shoes.
In case you didn’t know, Orndorff had a bad arm because he injured himself lifting weights while feuding with Hulk Hogan many years earlier. Instead of having the needed surgery and taking a hit in his income, he opted to wrestle through his injury. Due to this fact, his muscles atrophied on his injured arm and he never fully recovered his mass.
Tony was right there when the two got into it and told the entire true story as best he could remember it, as Schiavone said the fight happened right at his feet.
He said they were doing interviews on the set with Gene Okerlund and Paul Orndorff was one of the agents at the time. Tony said that Paul was trying to gather guys for interviews and he didn’t think that Vader was late, they just couldn’t find him. Schiavone said that Paul commented on how he couldn’t find Vader so he decided to do something else and leave Vader out of it.
Tony said that Vader walked up to Orndorff and pushed him while yelling, “You motherf—-, if you’ve got something you’ve got to say to me, then you say it to my face!” Tony said that as soon as Vader pushed Paul Orndorff, Mr. Wonderful punched Vader in the face which knocked him backwards. Paul then threw Vader down and started to stomp on the back of his head with Vader’s face planted on the concrete.
As Vader’s face bounced off the concrete due to Orndorff stomping on him, Tony said that Vader began to plead with the boys who were witnessing this to help get Paul off of him. Paul didn’t quit and continued to stomp on Vader until his head was busted open from contact with the concrete floor.
When they finally separated the two men, Tony said that Kevin Sullivan ordered the boys to let Paul Orndorff go, because Vader was going to take a cheap shot at him because “that’s the kinda guy he is.”
Tony said he was tasked with calling Eric Bischoff from a payphone to tell him about the ordeal. Vader was fired because he instigated the fight. Tony said that Paul Orndorff was in full clothes, so there were no shower shoes; although there was quite a bit of mudhole stomping.
Vader later admitted that he was drinking a lot at the time and Orndorff later said that he could have handled it better, but it changed wrestling history. Vader was slated to win the WCW World Title off of Hogan on the second episode of Nitro, but that never came to pass due to his termination.
This just goes to show that sometimes legendary stories aren’t as interesting as what really happened between two legends.