"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
he rehabbed by training with Verne Gagne for a career in
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
Flair as Flair’s “Executive Consultant,” leading Flair to two reigns as
WWE Champion. During that time, Hennig also began his career as a
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
West Texas Rednecks. Hennig & Barry Windham captured the WCW
Team Championship during this time, and the Rednecks recorded their
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
WWE that May, virtually ending a 20-plus year career in the spotlight.
Tragically, Hennig would pass away less than a year later; on
10, 2003, he was found dead in his hotel room prior to a scheduled
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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