Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes to enter Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame this July. Two of professional wrestling’s most memorable figures will be inducted into the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes will be inducted into the 2017 George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame induction weekend on July 20-22.
“The Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame weekend continues to build every year,” said Gerry Brisco, 2005 inductee and president of the selection committee. “I’m excited that Paul and Dusty will be recognized for their significant achievements in professional wrestling. This is a huge honor for both.”
Paul Orndorff made his wrestling debut in 1976 with stints in Continental Wrestling Association, Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, Southeastern Championship Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, and New Japan Pro Wrestling. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff made his WWE debut in 1984 and participated in the original Wrestlemania main event against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. Following his stint in the WWE, he competed in WCW and Smoky Mountain Wresting. Orndorff was also a football standout at the University of Tampa before a one-year stint in the World Football League.
Dusty Rhodes made his professional wrestling debut in 1967. During the 1970s, he competed in the AWA, WWF, and throughout the NWA territories, where he was a three-time NWA champion. Known as “The American Dream,” Rhodes left the NWA in 1990, and returned to the WWE with rivalries with Big Boss Man, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase. After winding down his in-ring career, Rhodes was involved behind the scenes with NXT, where he helped train a new generation of competitors. Rhodes played football for West Texas State and in the Continental Football League. He passed away on June 11, 2015.
The National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum will release winners of the Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award, Frank Gotch Award, George Tragos Award, and Jim Melby Award in 2017.
Distinguished guests confirmed to appear include Gerry Brisco, Jim Ross, JJ Dillon, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Larry Hennig, Baron Von Raschke, Wade Keller, William Murdock, Rob Schamberger, Matt Riddle, and Charlie Thesz.
A new event for 2017 will be the Hall of Fame Classic presented by Impact Pro Wrestling. This one-day tournament takes place on Friday, July 21 in addition to the evening professional wrestling show.
The tournament is an invitational featuring eight of the best wrestlers in the world. The first participant announced is former UFC fighter Matt Riddle. The other seven participants will be announced as they are confirmed.