Feature: Steve Anderson Pays a Belated Tribute to Mr. Perfect


Yesterday, I posted a DVD review of â<80><9c>The Life and Times of Mr. Perfect.â<80> As I was shooting my opinionated mouth off in written form, I realized that I never had a chance to pay tribute to Curt Hennig. When he died in 2003, I was in the midst of book writing with Bobby Heenan. In fact, it was Bobby who called to tell me that Curt had died.

The sound of heartbreak in his voice made me that much more sad. I wanted to attend the wake and funeral, but I decided to allow those closest to Curt have their time. I met Curt once while he was with WWE. In fact, he was the first high-profile wrestler who actually knew I was a cartoonist with PWI at the time and could cite actual cartoons he read. We hung out at a bar with mutual friends, drinking beer and playing pull-tabs. As we parted company, the last thing he said to me was, â<80><9c>Next time you draw me, make sure you get the balls in the right place.â<80>

Classic â<80><9c>Mr. Perfect.â<80>

Itâ<80><99>s funny how when wrestlers die, those that are current stars featured on WWE or TNA television get more press. The loss is felt more. The death takes on a greater significance because their absence is more noticeable.

When Curt died on February 10, 2003, he was not a star of a major promotion. TNA used him for a bit to feud with Jeff Jarrett after WWE released him on May 5, 2002. Effectively, he was out of the spotlight than once shined so brightly upon him. Both WWE and TNA acknowledged his death in tributes on their respective shows.

Even though Curt was not seen as much on television in the last few years of his life, his death was as much of a loss as any major WWE superstar who has passed away. The DVD documentary is spot-on in revealing his vast talents and significance in the history of the wrestling business.

Curt brought youthful energy to the AWA title formerly held by men in their forties and fifties. He made the Intercontinental title as significant as the WWE World championship. He infused quality, technical wrestling into the New World Order. He even turned the fans against Master P and his â<80><9c>Armyâ<80> with the West Texas Redneckâ<80><99>s clarion call.

â<80><9c>Rap is crap.â<80>

When he got his second chance in WWE, he was ready to show the young wrestlers how it could be done. In his forties and entering the twilight of his career, Curt was willing and more than able to pass on his knowledge of the business to up-and-coming â<80><9c>Mr. Perfects.â<80> Yes, he was released for some shenanigans, but chances are WWE would have provided him another opportunity. Or he would have continued with TNA.

He never headlined Wrestlemania. He never wore the world titles of WWE or WCW. But he is probably the greatest wrestler never to have held those championships. Technically sound often equates to boring. Not Curt. A gimmick that lacks flash often does not get over. Not Curt.

If he was alive today, he would still be making this business a better place. He would be working with young wrestlers, particularly his son, Joe. Make no mistake about it; the wrestling world without Curt Hennig is a less than â<80><9c>perfectâ<80> place.

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