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The Perfect Memory of Curt Hennig
PWTorch.com Guest Editorial
By Dan Taylor
PWTorch.com reader


The passing of Curt Hennig earlier today will no doubt bring about many memories of his greatest moments to the forefront. Some will remember his Intercontinental and U.S. Title victories, his matches with Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA World Title, the vaunted "perfect record" that went unblemished for years, or perhaps even the West Texas Rednecks and "Rap is Crap." But when I think of Curt Hennig, I can proudly say that I remember something about him that nobody else does. I remember an 11-year-old boy.

Hennig was in the middle of his most triumphant run in WWF/WWE, and on this night in 1990 he found himself in Providence, Rhode Island, hours away from the next chapter in his program with Hulk Hogan. "Mr. Perfect" would be wrestling Hogan that night in the main event of a house show, but his main objective at the moment was grabbing a pre-match meal at the cafeteria of the hotel where he was staying.

As he was eating, he was approached by the 11-year-old boy, who was looking for an autograph. The young man had no idea how rare a moment of peace and quiet could be for someone in the wrestling business. He didn't understand that he was intruding on a man who was trying to enjoy his dinner before he went to work. All this boy knew was that Mr. Perfect was in the same room as him, and he wanted an autograph.

Was Hennig upset? Quite the contrary. When the boy approached him, he smiled and invited him to sit. He agreed to sign an autograph only if the boy met his one condition: he had to prove that he was a "real fan" of Mr. Perfect, as he said he was. Surely he would have signed the autograph no matter what the wide-eyed boy said, but he couldn't resist the chance to stay "in character" and be the consummate wrestling villain without actually being a villain at all.

Hennig was visibly taken aback when the boy talked in detail about matches with Jerry Lawler and Nick Bockwinkel that happened when he was five years old in the AWA, a federation which wasn't even on television in the area at the time. After spending more than twenty minutes of his time talking to the boy, whom he referred to at one point as "the Perfect Fan," he finally signed the autograph, punctuating it by tossing the pen in the air and catching it in his dress shirt pocket. The trick with the pen worked "perfectly," but who would expect any less?

That 11-year-old boy grew up to be a 24-year-old man, one who has continued to follow the career of Curt Hennig wherever he went and felt compelled to share the greatest moment of his young life with fellow Torch readers upon hearing of Hennig's untimely passing. I wish I could have met him one more time, shaken his hand, and told him how much that one act of courtesy that he most likely wouldn't even remember meant to me.

Curt Hennig was my childhood hero for his actions inside the squared circle, and a role model of mine for many years thereafter because of his actions outside it. He will certainly be sorely missed by his friends, family, and fans. Especially "the Perfect Fan."

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