Childhood & Early Life
Curtis Michael Hennig was born on March 28, 1958, to Larry Hennig and Irene Hennig, in Robbinsdale, Minnesota. His father was a former professional wrestler, nicknamed ‘The Axe’ in ‘AWA’. He had four siblings, brothers Jesse and Randy, and sisters, Susan and Sandra.
At the age of six, he displayed an interest in wrestling and his father reportedly began to teach him some simple moves. He studied at ‘Robbinsdale High School’.
By the age of 12, he had begun training for wrestling but soon got more interested in football. While attending University of Minnesota, he reportedly played for the college football team.
He suffered a knee injury while playing football and underwent surgery for it. Thereafter, he did intensive wrestling training with renowned coach, Verne Gagne, where he got his injured leg back in shape. Gagne also got professional recruiters interested in him.
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In January 1980, Curtis Hennig made his professional wrestling debut with ‘AWA’ as ‘Cool’ Curt Hennig.
During his two years at ‘AWA’, he became a fan-favorite and won a tag team championship before focusing on winning singles titles.
In 1982, he left ‘AWA’ to join ‘WWF’ but was unhappy with his role as a young upstart.
In 1983, he left ‘WWF’ to join his father at ‘Pacific Northwest Wrestling’ but after a few matches, went back to ‘AWA’, where his career finally took off and he was billed as the star of the promotion.
In 1988, he left ‘AWA’ yet again to rejoin ‘WWF’, this time under the nickname ‘Mr. Perfect’, a character that fans loved a lot and earned him much fame.
In 1990, prior to his nasty battle with the famous wrestler, Bret Hart, he had seriously injured his back. He went ahead with the fight against medical advice and suffered a massive injury that derailed his career for the next three years.
In 1991, after recovering from his injury, he returned to ‘WWF’ as another wrestler, Ric Flair’s manager, leading him to many title wins.
In 1992, he signed on as a commentator for ‘WWF’.
In 1993, he returned to the ring but his comeback was quite short due to a flare-up of his back injury.
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In 1994, he left ‘WWF’ and took almost a year off to take care of his injury.
In 1995, he was employed as a commentator for ‘WWF’ matches and was out of the ring for another year.
In 1996, he left ‘WWF’ when his contract expired.
In 1997, he joined ‘WCW’ and competed under his real name. He also became a member of ‘nWo’ that year.
In 2000, after many titles and wins, he left ‘WCW’.
In 2001, Curt Hennig competed in many domestic and international promotions like Australia’s ‘i-Generation Superstars of Wrestling’, ‘All Japan Pro Wrestling’, Puerto Rico’s ‘World Wrestling Council’, ‘ Xcitement Wrestling Federation', etc.
In 2002, he returned to ‘WWE’ for the last time where he competed in some matches but was fired after instances of disorderly and drunken behaviour. Thereafter, he competed in independent promotions like 'Pro Pain Pro Wrestling’ and ‘Future of Wrestling’ (FOW). Finally, he joined ‘TNA’ that year.
In January 2003, he competed in his last match ever.
Awards & Achievements
In 1982, Curt Hennig became the ‘AWA Heavyweight Champion’ and in 1983, he won the ‘AWA Tag Team Champion’ with Scott Hall.
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In 1990, he won the ‘WWF Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship’.
In 1997, he was awarded the ‘WCW United States Championship’.
In 2002, he won the ‘FOW Heavyweight Championship' and became the last wrestler to hold that title. Until Billy Fives in 2011
In 2007, he was inducted into the ‘WWE Hall of Fame’.
In 2015, he was inducted into Amsterdam, New York’s ‘Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame'.
He is a two-time winner of the ‘WWF Intercontinental Championship’.
He has won the ‘WCW World Tag Team Championship’ once and ‘NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship' thrice, including once with his father.
He was awarded the ‘i-Generation World Heavyweight Championship' twice.
He was the winner of ‘WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship’.
Family & Personal Life
Curt Hennig married Leonice Leonard. They had four children, sons, Joseph and Hank, and daughters, Amy and Kaite. Amy and Joseph are professional wrestlers too.
On February 10, 2003, Curt Hennig died from a lethal combination of cocaine, painkillers and steroids in a hotel room in Tampa, Florida. He was buried at ‘Gethsemane Cemetery’ in New Hope, Minnesota.
His son, Joseph, wrestles under the moniker ‘Curtis Axel’, as a tribute to the ring names of this father and grandfather.
Some of his signature moves were dropkick, Perfect plex, figure four leglock and rolling neck snap.