Real Name: Curt Hennig
6' 3" 235 lbs.
Born: March 28, 1960
As second generation
wrestlers go, Curt Hennig was destined for greatness. He grew up idolizing
his father the great Larry "the Axe" Hennig and had as his
best friend since high school Ravishing Rick Rude. With such talent
surrounding him, how could he possibly miss?
father Larry was one of the top competitors in the AWA, teaming with
Harley Race to win three AWA World Tag Team championships. In 1978,
Larry turned his attention to working with Verne Gagne to train their
respective sons, Curt and Greg Gagne. After months and months of hard
work, Curt debuted in 1979 and achieved early success by teaming with
a young Scott Hall and defeating Jimmy Garvin and Steve Regal for the
AWA World Tag Team belts on January 18, 1986.
On May 2, 1987,
Curt entered the ring to face AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel. Controversy
surrounded the outcome of the match as it appeared that Hennig was handed
a roll of quarters by Larry Zbyscko and used it to knock Bockwinkel
out cold. Ignoring the controversy, Curt defended the title for more
than a year against such combatants as Bockwinkel, Greg Gagne, Wahoo
McDaniel and Baron Von Rasche. Finally on May 9, 1988, Hennig traveled
to Memphis, Tennessee where the hometown hero, Jerrry Lawler, turned
the tables on the champion and defeated Hennig for the belt.
Without a title belt, Hennig decided that a change of scenery would
be beneficial and he moved to the Northeast and in the fall of 1988
entered the World Wrestling Federation under the guise of "Mr.
Perfect." The WWF set the stage for his debut by creating videoclips
of him excelling in numerous sports as the "complete athlete."
In 1989, Hennig, angry that he was not given a shot at the title shot
against the promotion's champion (Hulk Hogan),
destroyed the championship belt and began a feud that lasted for much
of the fall. After obtaining the services of Booby Heenan as his manager,
Hennig entered a tournament for the vacant Intercontinental title belt
in April 1990. Hennig defeated Tito Santana in the finals to become
the Intercontinental champion. After losing the belt to Kerry Von Erich
in August, Hennig recaptured it in a rematch on November 19, 1990. His
title reign lasted for almost nine months before he was defeated by
Bret Hart on August 26, 1991 at the 1991 SummerSlam Pay Per View event
in New York. During the match, Curt reinjured a lingering back injury
and was forced to take some time off to heal.
In late 1991 he returned as an advisor to Ric Flair.
As Flair's "Executive Consultant," Hennig helped the "Nature
Boy"to win the WWF Heavyweight championship. Their partnership
seemed solid until Randy Savage asked Hennig
to serve as his partner against Flair and Razor Ramon. By accepting
the invitation, he thereby severed all ties with Flair. In January 1993,
Hennig defeated Flair in a "loser leaves the WWF match." While
this seemed to set the stage for a big push for Curt, his back injury
flared up again and he was forced to take more time off.
Hennig returned in 1995 as a color commentator at the
1995 Survivor Series matchup. In 1996, Curt served as Hunter
Hearst Helmsley's manager, but left the WWF and entered World Championship
Wrestling a year later as Diamond Dallas Page's
tag team partner against Scott Hall and Randy Savage. He later took
over Arn Anderson's spot in the fabled "Four Horsemen" when
Arn was forced by injuries to retire. He turned his back on the Horsemen,
however, when he joined forces with he NWO at the 1997 Fall Brawl. Later
that night, he defeated Steve McMichael to win the WCW United States
title. He lost the belt three months later to Diamond Dallas Page, and
then struggled with a knee injury for much of 1998 (although he faced
WCW champion Bill Goldberg, losing both matches).
1999 started well for Hennig as he teamed with Barry Windham to briefly
capture the WCW Tag Team championship. Knee injuries again forced him
out of action and he was limited to non-wrestling roles for most of
the year. The year 2000 was no better for him and he was eventually
released by the promotion and began headlining a number of independent
Many felt it was
a great shame that Curt Hennig's career was hampered by so many injuries.
A great technical wrestler, he at time was among the premier performers
in the business. While history may never know how great he might have
become, it should judge him positively based on his talent and achievements.