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"Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig was the second inductee announced for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2007
February 19, 2007


Now that he is enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame, the career of the legendary Curt Hennig can be summed up in two words: absolutely perfect.

He’s “Mr. Perfect,” but wasn’t always known as such.  The son of Minnesota wrestling legend Larry “The Axe” Hennig, Curt was born in Robbinsdale, Minn. in 1958.  Hennig graduated from Robbinsdale High School in the same class as best friend and fellow former WWE Superstar Rick Rude; but after suffering an injury playing football for the University of Minnesota, he rehabbed by training with Verne Gagne for a career in sports-entertainment.

Hennig debuted in 1979 at just 21 years old and quickly made his way to WWE in the early 1980s, where he frequently teamed with the late Eddie Gilbert.  He also teamed with father Larry in the Portland territory; together, they won the Pacific Northwest Tag Team Titles in 1982, giving Curt his first of three Pacific Northwest Tag Team Titles.

With a few years of experience under his belt, Hennig headed back to his home state and joined Gagne’s American Wrestling Association.  He and Scott Hall held the AWA Tag Team Championship in 1985 and later teamed with Verne’s son Greg Gagne; however, under the influence of Larry Zbyszko, Hennig turned on Gagne, became a reviled rule-breaker, and began a rivalry with Nick Bockwinkel over the AWA World Title.  On May 2, 1987, Hennig finally won the gold after nailing Bockwinkel with a roll of coins that Zbyszko had given to him.  He would hold the gold for just over one year, eventually losing to Jerry “The King” Lawler in Memphis, Tenn.

From there, Hennig returned to WWE, transforming into “Mr. Perfect.”  A series of promos were aired showing him as the “perfect” athlete, including him bowling a perfect game and hitting a home run.  Once in the ring, he was known for his signature “Perfect-Plex,” a cradle suplex variation that he used to finish his matches.  Hennig’s first major WWE rivalry was with then-WWE Champion Hulk Hogan; Hogan last eliminated Perfect to win the 1990 Royal Rumble, but Hennig and manager The Genius later scored by stealing Hogan’s WWE Championship and destroying it.

After falling under the tutelage of Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Hennig captured the Intercontinental Championship twice in 1990.  His loss of the gold to Bret Hart at SummerSlam 1991 is considered one of both men’s greatest matches, but after the loss, Hennig was forced out of the ring due to injury.  No matter, as later that year, he joined Heenan and Ric Flair as Flair’s “Executive Consultant,” leading Flair to two reigns as WWE Champion. During that time, Hennig also began his career as a commentator.

Their relationship soured late in 1992, and Hennig returned to the ring, eventually defeating Flair in a Loser Leaves WWE Match on Raw in January 1993.  Later that year, however, his back injury flared up, so he once again served as a commentator and manager.  In 1996, he led Triple H to his first Intercontinental Championship before leaving WWE and moving to WCW in 1997.

Hennig joined the legendary Four Horsemen upon his WCW arrival, but quickly defected to the New World Order and won the United States Championship, rekindling his rivalry with Flair in the process.  In 1999, Hennig would leave the nWo and join up with the Windhams and Bobby Duncum, Jr. as the West Texas Rednecks.  Hennig & Barry Windham captured the WCW Tag Team Championship during this time, and the Rednecks recorded their infamous entrance theme, “Rap is Crap.”

Hennig returned to WWE for the final time in 2002, competing in the Royal Rumble Match and making it to the final four.  He would leave WWE that May, virtually ending a 20-plus year career in the spotlight.  Tragically, Hennig would pass away less than a year later; on Feb. 10, 2003, he was found dead in his hotel room prior to a scheduled appearance in Tampa, Fla.

With his induction in the Class of 2007, Hennig is the ninth man to be posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  On top of nearly 25 years, a dozen championships and hundreds of classic matches, enshrinement into the Hall of Fame puts a “perfect” cap on the legacy of Curt Hennig.

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