February 10 2016 marked the 13th anniversary of the passing of “Mr Perfect” Curt Hennig.
He died at the tragically young age of 44 after spending over half his life as an active wrestler in various companies across America. I, along with I’d wager a large part of the Palace of Wisdom readers, are most aware of his run in the World Wrestling Federation from 1988 to 1996.
His character would be seen in various vignettes displaying feats of perfection, from bowling strike after strike in a perfect game to making shot after shot on the basketball court. In the WWF however, it was somewhat of a different story as he was used mainly as a upper midcard step-up wrestler at the Intercontinental championship level but unfortunately never ascending to main event glory, Holding the then-coveted Intercontinental championship on two occasions would, in the early 90’s, normally signal that a run with the WWF World championship was just around the corner.
Sadly this never came to pass for Curt; In late 1989 he had a series of house show WWE Title matches with a certain vitamin-taking Maniac, but would ultimately come out on the losing end of the encounters.
This isn’t to say he wasn’t one of the greatest wrestlers of his time, and in my humble opinion he blazed a trail for a lot of the smaller guys you see today. He didn’t possess a power-lifting physique, in the ring it was all about work rate for Mr Perfect. Setting a standard, I believe, for up-and-comers at the time such as Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and many of the top guys you have seen in recent years.
Perhaps his long running feud with Bret Hart shows best how using someone of Curt’s ability in the business, as this feud really helped Bret’s transition from a excellent tag-team wrestler in to a legitimate title contender in the singles ranks.
If you search the internet hard enough you will also find a series of matches he had with Doink the Clown who, to the casual viewer, you wouldn’t look at and think he would be a great wrestler. However their work together was truely excellent, with the highlight of their series of matches being in a King of the Ring 1993 qualifier match in which you can view here if you have a spare 10 minutes.
Should Curt Hennig have been World champion at some stage in his WWF run? Probably, however the fact we have some excellent matches to look back on is more than enough to keep this writer entertained.