To continue in the tribute of looking at the fiftieth anniversary of the American Wrestling Alliance here is a look back at the life and times of â€œMr. Perfectâ€ Curt Hennig, one of the AWAâ€™s most favorite World Heavyweight Champions.
Unfortunately The Life & Times of Mr. Perfect is actually not a perfect DVD. It played into the fears that many thought; â€œMr. Perfectâ€ didnâ€™t really have enough of a storied career to warrant a full-length documentary style DVD on his own.
The documentary portion, which usually runs two hours or so for most WWE produced documentaries, barely clocks in at over an hour. Some subjects, like his runs as both a partner and an opponent for Ric Flair, in both the WWF and World Championship Wrestling, and his unexpectedly successful bid with The West Texas Rednecks in WCW were not covered in very much detail.
But the documentary does a great job of getting inside on Hennigâ€™s personal life. His father, Larry â€œThe Axeâ€ Hennig, his wife Leonice, his son Joe Hennig (now known as Mike McGillicutty on WWE NXT) and his long-time friend and Major League Baseball great Wade Boggs are on hand to give insight into who the man really was. Larry Hennig is the true MVP of the documentary portion. He talks in glowing terms of who is son was and the pride he felt in his sonâ€™s success but also is able to tell the story like it really was.
His run in WWE in the first half of the â€˜90s is put over in great detail. Legends and stars like William Regal, Arn Anderson, Bobby â€œThe Brainâ€ Heenan and Harley Race have nothing but great things to say about his initial run in the WWF, the prestige he brought to the Intercontinental Championship and the â€œMr. Perfectâ€ gimmick.
It really goes without saying but if Hennig were still alive Iâ€™m sure the documentary portion wouldâ€™ve been much longer and more in-depth. But in hindsight perhaps the two-disc set shouldâ€™ve been set up with just matches and vignettes surrounded by the corresponding matches.
The extras portion and matches found on the second disc are where the good stuff is really found. All of the famous â€œMr. Perfectâ€ vignettes are included, plus behind the scenes information from WWF producers Bruce Pritchard and Kerwin Silfies on what really went down during the tapings. In addition his WWE Hall of Fame induction from 2007 is included in full and is a must see for any true fan of Hennigâ€™s.
Plus the matches included are top-notch. The highlights include a pair of matches against Bret â€œHit Manâ€ Hart that highlighted their great, long-standing feud and the impeccable chemistry the two men had with each other. In addition there was his WWF debut against Terry Taylor, where neither man was either â€œPerfectâ€ or a â€œRooster.â€ Mick Foley and Michael Cole, who did new commentary for the bout, bring up the rumor of both men being in contention for the â€œMr. Perfectâ€ gimmick. The best though is his fantastic 60-minute draw against AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel that aired on AWA television on New Yearâ€™s Eve â€™86. The match made Hennig into a legitimate draw in the AWA and paved the way for his eventual AWA World Title run in early 1987.
For a fan of Hennig, this is an easy buy. Plus fans of the AWA, the WWF in the â€˜80s or the Monday Night Wars then you should give this a look as well. He was an integral of all three of those eras and it provides a decent look back at not only his career during those times but the climate of the wrestling industry as well.
Mark was a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over four years, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into the Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.