WWE The Life And Times Of Mr. Perfect
Written by: Tom Hopkins
The Main Characters
–This is all about Curt Hennig, Mr. Perfect himself, one of the best wrestlers who worked in the AWA, WWE, and WCW. He unfortunately passed on way too early at the age of 45 in 2003.
Mr. Perfect start wrestling in the early 80’s and really straight through until his untimely death.
The Film (1:14:39)
We begin with an image of Curt Hennig, “in memory of,” that appeared on WWE programming. We get the montage of people talking about the greatness of Curt Henning.
Where else to start the Life and Times of Curt than at the beginning? Larry Hennig, Curt’s father, talks about his early days of wrestling, starting with the AWA. Curt followed in Larry’s footsteps, having been immersed in the business pretty much since birth. Curt was an amateur wrestler in high school, where he met Leonice, the woman who would later become his wife. Curt got a start in professional wrestling and even wrestled at MSG for the WWWF. Leonice talks about Curt being there for all their four children’s births, despite being on the road. It’s nice to hear about Curt as the family man, and Joe Hennig talks about his father being there and he never felt he was away for too long.
Curt actually got to wrestle with his father as a tag team, where Harley Race (looking like he did in 1987, does he age?) talks about them as a team. From there, Curt tagged with Scott Hall, looking very weird in his bushy hair and mustache. Curt progressed up the ranks, getting a title match with Bockwinkel that was a 60-minute classic, a match which Curt lost. Curt would get his rematch and would win the coveted AWA title in 1987. Jerry Lawler talks about his match with Curt Hennig, where he won the AWA title, and Jerry says it was his most favorite match of all time. Curt dropped the title that night to Lawler, but went on to bigger things during his second tenure with the WWE in 1988. Curt was on his way to New York.
So Curt went to meet with Vince and they didn’t know about what to call him. Hurricane Hennig? King Curtis? So Vince asked him what he liked to do and Curt said everything. Well, what was he good at? Curt said, everything. So a moniker was born, Mr. Perfect. Wade Boggs talks about filming a skit with Curt, and the two actually became very close friends. Everyone says that Curt was actually that good at everything he did, though we see footage of Perfect filming the vignettes and not being quite, Perfect. Curt was even kind enough to thank those who helped him on the shoots. One of the things Curt did like to do was hunt and fish, which he’d done since a young boy. He even hunted and fished with Wade Boggs, who has an awesome display case at his home with his Yankees jersey and the World Series trophy in front of it. Wade tells a story of Curt being his guardian angel, saving him from being tangled in barb wire on a hunting trip, carried him to the car, and actually saved his life if no one had been there.
Curt Hennig, Mr. Perfect, was just that, perfect in the ring. He won the IC title in a tournament that culminated in a match against Tito Santana, and Jim Ross says that at the time the IC champ was the best wrestler in the company for a long period of time, and they show a lot of those champs, Santana, Savage, Steamboat, and Perfect. Some of Perfect’s best matches at the time was against Bret Hart, which Bret talked about on his DVD, too. They had a great match at Summerslam in 1990, which Edge said was a monumental match for him as a style of match he would want to do. Curt’s back was really messed up at the time. We don’t talk about his back, though, and head to Curt’s penchant for practical jokes, some of which are talked about here.
So, tangent over, and we’re back to Curt’s back. He couldn’t wrestle but he didn’t disappear from TV, he became a color commentator, and he was good at that, too. He went from commentator to “executive consultant,” to Ric Flair. They skip a good chunk of time (Perfect working the 92 Summerslam Main Event, all of 93 including his match that ended Flair’s first WWE run, 94, and 95) and go right to Perfect teaming up with HHH as his manager, which led to him leaving the WWE and heading to WCW.
While at WCW, Perfect became a Horsemen, then turned on them to go to the NWO, which Arn talks about in kayfabe which was really annoying still. Wade talks about making the wolfpack symbol, first, and Curt stealing it, and that he should’ve trademarked it to make some big bucks. Hennig went on to the Texas Red Necks and his “Rap is Crap,” music video and song.
We skip ahead another 4 years to his return at the 2002 Royal Rumble where made it to the final four and really put on a show. He put on so much of a show that he actually got to work for the company again, and Edge fondly remembers working with him. Perfect had some more vignettes recorded, but his run came to an end shortly afterwards on the plane ride from hell, which they don’t actually mention on here, just that he was released. Curt kept working for other companies but life would catch up to Curt, and he passed away about a year after his WWE release on February 10th, 2003. Leonice, Joe and Larry talk about the shock they felt when they heard the news. Wade says he wishes Curt called him when he was in Tampa because he could’ve helped, and Wade actually feels guilty about this, that he could’ve helped him, to this day. We head to Curt’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, where Wade introduced the family of Curt. Wade likened it to getting the call for his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. We end with all the guys talking about what Hennig meant to the business and their lives, and Jericho calls him the best wrestler never to be the champion.
The start time was the first thing that stuck out at me, and I noticed it before I even started to watch the film. In my mind, that is a huge disservice to Curt Hennig himself, and his greatness in the WWE and wrestling in general. His AWA run I thought was a little too short, though they did hit all the main points. His WWE run started well enough in this documentary, but there are a good three years that are glossed over. I am amazed the Flair/Hennig match wasn’t even mentioned, as was his return to wrestling after his back injury. This definitely should’ve had 45 minutes tacked on so we could see more about Hennig and his career, from footage of early matches, to his great years in the WWE from 92-95, his rematch with Bret at KotR, the Loser Leaves Town match against Flair on Raw, his team-up with Savage at the 2002 Summerslam, and how he left WCW. They can give 2 hours to the Horsemen and Powerful Families of the WWE, 2 collections for Flair, about 20 for Hogan, and even more time on the more brief career of Ultimate Warrior, so why not make this a 2-hour piece for one of the greatest wrestlers of our generation? The feature was good for a 75 minute feature, but if anything was begging for a two-hour feature, this was definitely it. WWE has put out some damn good DVD programs in their time, so why skimp out on one for the and only Curt Hennig? Curt was definitely Mr. Perfect, but this DVD main program was definitely not what Curt was, perfect.
1) Curt Henning vs. Eddie Gilbert (16:19)
This is from MSG, 11/21/82. Curt gets a decent cheer here, This is Eddie’s MSG debut. Gorilla and McMahon call the action, and Gorilla mentions both men come from wrestling backgrounds, and their fathers are still wrestling. Hennig with a quick hiptoss to start. Hennig sends Gilbert to the corner, but he jumps out with a flying bodypress which Hennig rolls through for a two-count. Gilbert works the leg, but Curt small packages him for two. The two do some decent mat-based wrestling, but the fans and even the announcers really don’t pay any attention to it. Instead, Gorilla and McMahon talk about the other matches on the card that night. Gilbert works on Hennig’s arm, but Curt reverses out of it and works on Gilbert’s arm. They do a nice reversal sequence which leads to both of them coming off the ropes and colliding into each other for a double-KO, to the crowd’s delight. They both get up together, and Gilbert tries a landslide for two. Hennig comes back with a side headlock, but Gilbert breaks by sending Hennig to the corner. Gilbert comes back with a headscissors, but a second attempt misses and Gilbert goes hurtling to the outside. Gilbert makes it to the apron and tries to suplex Hennig to the outside, but Hennig reverses it and sends Gilbert back in, but Gilbert hangs on for a two-count. Gilbert gets a quick roll-up for two, but Hennig comes back with a bodyslam and an elbow drop. He covers but the bell rings before the cover is counted as the time-limit expired at 14:22 and the match is a draw. Slow match, but the last few minutes really picked up. Good match for 1982. **.
2) Curt Henning & Scott Hall vs. Steve Regal & Jimmy Garvin (13:36)
This is from AWA Championship Wrestling, 11/26/85. Scott Hall is called the Coyote here. Regal and Garvin are the tag champs, but I think this is non-title. Steve Regal is dubbed Mr. Electricity, and not the Steve Regal we know from the WWE. We finally lock-up 2 minutes after the bell rings, as Regal and Hennig start off, with Regal quickly bailing. Hennig and Hall team up on Regal until he tags in Garvin. Hennig with a sunset flip gets two on Garvin. Garvin tags out but Regal doesn’t fare much better, ad Hennig locks on a wristlock on the Electric one. Regal comes back with a thumb to the eye and the heels are able to double-team the not yet Perfect one. They get a couple of two-counts as Hennig now has a small cut on his forehead. Regal drops an elbow on Hennig for two and like any good heel does, he tries it again. As you may have guessed, he missed. Hennig makes the hot tag to Hall, who tosses Regal around. Garvin comes in, drawing Hennig, but the ref sends Hennig away, allowing the heels to use the spray can. Hall ducks and the spray gets into the eyes of Regal. Hall hits a bulldog on Regal and that’s enough for the pin and the win at 10:46. This match was nothing but Hennig selling like crazy. It was a standard TV tag match. *1/2.
3) WWE Hall of Fame Induction (13:17)
This is from 03/31/07, the night before Wrestlemania XXIII. Wade Boggs comes out (and even spits his gum out and smacks it away) to introduce not only Curt Hennig’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, and bring out the rest of the Hennig family, too. Wade made one mistake (WWF, instead of WWE). Leonice, Curt’s wife, comes out for a short speech which was very nice.
4) “Rap is Crap” Music Video (1:44)
This is the music video to the famed song, Rap is Crap. It’s still a funny song.
All these vignettes just show Curt excelling at all the sports listed. If there’s anything really noteworthy I’ll mention it, if not, it’s the usual cockiness of Mr. Perfect shining through.
—A) Billiards – 10/1/88 (2:17)
This was the first of Hennig’s promo’s, where he calls himself Curt Hennig by name then talks about being Perfect in everything, hence his nickname, Mr. Perfect.
—B) Golf – Perfect Putt – 10/1/88 (1:13)
—C) Darts – 10/8/88 (0:15)
—D) Bowling – 10/8/88 (2:15)
Perfect bowls the Perfect Game. I wonder how many times they needed to film Hennig to get the 12 strikes he needed over the 10 frames. Well, some footage was reused, like 3 of the last four strikes.
—E) Chess – 10/15/88 (0:36)
—F) Basketball – 10/15/88 (1:07)
—G) Ping Pong – 10/28/89 (1:56)
—H) Diving – 11/4/89 (0:56)
—I) Golf – Perfect Drive – 11/4/89 (1:09)
—J) Horseshoes – 11/24/89 (1:11)
—K) Baseball with Wade Boggs – 12/26/92 (1:15)
—L) Football – Perfect Passer with Steve Jordan – 2/13/93 (1:47)
I remember this one quite fondly, especially with Perfect throwing the ball to himself. That was cool.
—M) Basketball with Felton Spencer – 02/27/93 (1:06)
Curt is wearing the IcoPro shirt here, for those fans who remember those old ads.
—N) Hockey with Mike Modano – 03/13/93 (1:05)
—A) Curt Loved Karaoke (0:53)
Wade talks about how Hennig loved Karaoke, especially Merle Haggard songs.
—B) Lifestyles of Mr. Perfect (0:53)
This is narrated by Brock Lesnar of all people, who fought Perfect on the plane ride from hell and subsequently got him fired. Anyway, Brock says that on an episode of Lifestyles they intended to go to Hennig’s house, but it was too messy and so they used a neighbors.
—Disc Two— (3:09:15)
1) Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkel(c) for the AWA Title (1:02:36)
This is from November 15th, 1986, and is a 60-Minute Time Limit match for the AWA Title. This was held on my brother’s third birthday. They have a handshake to start and as soon as the bell rings Bockwinkel dropkicks Hennig in the back then sends him to the outside. Well, Hennig shouldn’t have turned his back after the bell rang. Hennig comes back in and they have a nice reversal sequence leading to a square-off. Bockwinkel gets a schoolboy for one. Bockwinkel goes to the side headlock. Hennig breaks but is shoulderblocked down and Bockwinkel goes back to the side headlock. Hennig eventually gains the upper hand with a headscissors, as one of the announcers tells kids not to wrestle at home and runs off a list of people that Bockwinkel has faced and beaten during his career. Bockwinkel somersaults out and they square off again. Bockwinkel goes back to the headlock, but Hennig breaks again and comes back with a high knee. We see a series of bodyslams and kick outs until Hennig arm drags Bockwinkel a pair of times and holds onto the armbar. Hennig now has his chance to control the match with the armbar and hammerlock. Bockwinkel elbows out and sends Hennig to the corner, but a blind charge is ducked by Hennig and Bockwinkel’s shoulder hits the post. Hennig goes back to the arm, broken only by a bodyslam/kickout combo. Bockwinkel breaks out of that at the twenty minute mark and starts working the leg of Hennig. Henning comes back to working the arm but Bockwinkel rolls him up and pulls the tights for two. Bockwinkel bails to the outside to catch his breath. Bockwinkel comes in and receives a shoulderblock, but takes down Hennig and starts working the leg. Hennig comes back and works the arm, then uses his injured leg/knee to drop on the arm of Bockwinkel, injuring himself more in the process and allowing Bockwinkel to come back with an Indian deathlock. Bockwinkel puts on his famous sleeper hold and Hennig looks dead in the water. Hennig falls to the outside, sending both Bockwinkel (who is hanging on) and the referee to the outside. Hennig gets back to the ring first, drags Bockwinkel in, and chops him down. He covers but the referee is slow to the ring and his hand only hits the mat twice. Hennig heads outside and wraps Bockwinkel’s arm around the ring post. Hennig heads back in and drops his head down, getting kicked in the face. Bockwinkel tries for a toehold but Hennig keeps tossing him off. Bockwinkel knocks Hennig down and covers for two. Hennig comes right back off the ropes with a high cross body for two. Hennig goes back to work on the arm, but Bockwinkel sends him to the outside. Bockwinkel stomps at him from the apron, as the timekeeper makes an announcement that they are at the 37-minute mark. Hennig grabs a leg of Bockwinkel and whips it into the ringpost then heads inside where he works on the leg. Hennig is still selling the leg injury, limping around in the ring. Bockwinkel tries a bodyslam but his leg gives out and Hennig falls on top for two. Bockwinkel comes back with a knee to the gut of Hennig as we hit the 40-minute mark. Bockwinkel hits the piledriver and covers but Hennig’s foot makes the ropes. Hennig comes back with a Cobra Clutch but Bockwinkel makes the ropes. Hennig follows with a legdrop to the gut of Bockwinkel. Bockwinkel slugs at him from his knees, punches Hennig down and covers for one. Hennig comes back with a high knee but Bockwinkel bounces off the ropes and punches Hennig down. Hennig comes back with a Boston Crab but Bockwinkel comes back with a pinning combination for two which is reversed by Hennig, but Bockwinkel’s foot makes the rope. Hennig with some wicked chops to the chest of Bockwinkel and a small package gets two. Hennig hits a piledriver of his own and covers, but again Bockwinkel’s foot makes the ropes. Hennig with a roll-up gets two. He follows with a series of elbow drops for two. Hennig sends Bockwinkel to the corner, then dropkicks him down. He pulls Bockwinkel from the corner and covers for two. Bockwinkel comes back with a knee to the gut of Hennig for two. Hennig takes him down and tries a spinning toe hold but Bockwinkel kicks him face first into the steel turnbuckles and he falls outside. Hennig is now cut open and Bockwinkel pounds his head into the apron then pounds on him from inside the ring. Hennig comes back in and Bockwinkel pounds on the open wound, busting it wide open. Hennig gets a quick pin attempt on the reigning champ, but Bockwinkel is back up and pounding away. Bockwinkel punches Hennig down and covers for two. Hennig with the Ax (a forearm to the head), then another one, and Hennig pounds away as we head get to the 55-minute mark. Bockwinkel is busted open now, too, thanks to the Ax. Hennig with another Ax forearm, but he still doesn’t go for the pin. Hennig with a super kick to the head and he sends Bockwinkel to the corner, then hits another Ax. He falls on top of Bockwinkel but he can’t cover since Bockwinkel is lying face down on the mat. We hit the 57-minute mark as Hennig pounds the head of Bockwinkel into the turnbuckle. Hennig with a suplex gets a two-count. Hennig drops an elbow at the 58-minute mark for two. Hennig locks the figure-four on Bockwinkel, but Bockwinkel refuses to give up. We go to the final minute, with both men busted open, and Bockwinkel in a very precarious situation. Bockwinkel hangs on and doesn’t give up and time has expired at 60:04. The ref raises both men’s hands, with Hennig clearly getting the bigger pop, but Bockwinkel holds onto the title due to the draw. This was just an epic match, building from the original feeling out session (which lasted 15 minutes), to the crazy bloodbath it evolved into by the last ten-minutes. This was a classic. I think the final figure-four spot could’ve used some pinfalls (where Bockwinkel is counted down for two, then gets back up in pain) but this was a near-perfect hour-long match, in its entirety. ****1/2.
2) Curt Hennig vs. Terry Taylor (6:14)
This is from Wrestlefest, held on 07/31/88. I believe this is the first match of Curt’s second stint in the WWE. This is before Curt was Perfect in the WWE, as Michael Cole and Mick Foley note on the guest announcing. Mick says the two of them were set up to be Mr. Perfect and Hennig got the name, and Taylor got the moniker of Red Rooster. Who came out on top there? The match starts of quickly enough, with Taylor dropkicking Hennig to the outside. Taylor takes over with a shoulderblock and a side headlock takeover. Hennig breaks out with a belly to back suplex and sends Taylor hard to the corner. Taylor comes right back with a landslide, but Hennig is right back on him with a high knee. Hennig locks on a sleeper hold but Taylor just drops down with a stunner of sorts. The fans start singing for some reason, as Taylor comes back with a flying body press for two. Taylor sends Hennig to the corner but Hennig comes out with a flying forearm that is actually enough to finish things at 4:52. The forearm/elbow of Hennig was taped up, maybe to go with the Lex Luger type thing. Very quick match with an ending out of nowhere. **.
3) Mr. Perfect vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart (25:06)
This is from MSG 04/24/89. Perfect was still unbeaten at this point and without a theme song. The two start with lock-ups and jockeying for position. I should mention that Lord Alfred Hayes and Tony Schiavone are calling the action. Perfect gets hiptossed down. This must be early into his run as Mr. Perfect, as Hayes still refers to him as Mr. Perfect, Curt Hennig. Side headlock for Bret, which is broken by an Irish whip, and Bret jumps over a drop toe hold attempt. Bret tries for a cross body but is too close to the ropes to pin. Perfect shrugs him off to the apron, where Bret sunset flips in for a two-count. Bret goes back to the side headlock takeover. Hennig breaks but Hart goes to the crucifix pin for two, then back to the side headlock. Hennig makes it to the ropes and slams Hart down, but he kicks out, and Bret repeats that spot for himself. Bret smashes Perfect’s face into the mat, then clotheslines him to the outside. Perfect stalls out there, finally coming in and slugging away at Bret and kicking him to the outside. Perfect continues working over Hart, even working in the hair toss. Perfect goes for the spinning toe hold but Bret kicks him off into the ringpost and Perfect starts selling his left hand. Bret, of course, goes right after that arm. He tries another crucifix but this time Perfect knows what’s going on and drops back for a Samoan drop. Bret takes over again and tosses Perfect to the outside then follows with a slingshot plancha. Suplex for Bret gets two. Backbreaker leads to the second rope elbow. Bret covers but the bell rings at 19:05, and the official word is that the time limit has expired. This is a draw, thus keeping Perfect’s record intact. That was a screwy house show finish, and a good mold for their following matches in 1991 and 1993. Bret tells Perfect he’s not that perfect and wants five more minutes. Perfect says no, then runs in from behind and Pearl Harbor’s Bret. He slams him down and goes to the top, but Bret makes it up and crotches Perfect on the top rope. He sends Perfect flying across the ring and Hennig sells like a champ. Eventually Perfect decides he’s had enough and just leaves. ***1/2.
4) Mr. Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan(c) for the WWE Title (18:44)
This is from MSG 01/15/90. I suppose this is a title shot, since our announcer, Gorilla Monsoon, says it is, and Fink confirms it. The Genius introduces Perfect with a little rhyme. Hillybilly Jim joins Gorilla on announcing duties which is a very odd combo to say the least. Perfect bails to start, playing mind games with the champ, and I have to say, Perfect has the cool orange tights on today. Hogan casually shoves Perfect to the corner, drawing another bail out. Perfect comes back only to get hiptossed down and slammed a pair of times. Perfect bails but this time Hogan follows. Double noggin knocker for Genius and Perfect, and Hogan slams down Genius for no reason other than he was at ringside. Hogan sends both Perfect and Genius back in, where Hogan is double teamed for a short while. Hogan comes right back and beats on the Genius while Perfect gets hung up on the ropes. Hogan, ever the sportsman, pounds on Perfect while he’s in the ropes then goes back outside to send Genius, who hasn’t hit Hogan until he was provoked, into the ringpost. Hogan sends Perfect to the corner then sends him outside, where he again slams Perfect’s head into the Genius’. Back in and Hogan clotheslines Perfect down, then sends him headfirst into the top turnbuckle where Perfect takes a wicked bump. Hogan tries for a back body drop but Perfect comes back with a kick to the face, and he dumps Hogan with a high knee. Perfect follows him to the outside with chops. He tries to send Hogan into the ringpost but Hogan reverses it and he sends Perfect there instead. Hogan heads back into the ring and Perfect follows on the apron. He knocks Hogan down but he’s back up and catches Perfect on the top rope. Perfect thumbs him in the eye then comes down with a double axe-handle. Perfect applies a sleeper to the Hulkster. Hulk breaks free and tries to send Perfect to the corner, but Perfect ducks out of it and instead its Hogan who eats turnbuckle. Perfect celebrates on the ropes until Hogan comes over and crotches him, then atomic drops him off the top, to another great bump by Perfect. Hogan starts kicking out the legs of Perfect but misses an elbow drop. Perfect goes for the Perfect-plex but Hulk kicks out, then hulks up. Hulk with a big boot sends Perfect to the outside, but Perfect pulls Hogan out and tries to nail him with the chair. Hogan ducks out and punches Perfect back into the ring. Hogan tries to get in but Perfect wallops him with an illegal object and Hogan is knocked out and falls back outside. Hogan manages to revive and comes back in, and Perfect goes back at him with the brass knucks. Hogan steals them and uses them on Perfect, then drops the big boot. The ref calls for the bell at 13:38, and Perfect is announced the winner due to the ref seeing Hogan using the brass knuckles. Hogan retains the title but Perfect gets the winner’s prize money. This was one of the best 1990’s Hogan matches I have seen, and it was all helped by Perfect bumping like a mad man. ***.
5) Mr. Perfect vs. Texas Tornado(c) for the Intercontinental Title (19:21)
This is from MSG 11/24/90 and is for the IC Title. Rowdy Roddy Piper is your special guest referee and our announcers are Sean Mooney, Jimmy Hart, and someone else whose voice I can’t place. It turns out to be Honky Tonk Man. Perfect doesn’t have Genius with him anymore. Perfect backs Tornado into the corner, but Piper causes them to break clean. They repeat and this time Tornado nails Perfect down, who sells it like he got hit by a heavyweight. Tornado goes after the arm, but Perfect responds with chops in the corner. Perfect is sent to the corner and Tornado hits him with a discus punch to the midsection, sending Perfect to the outside, where he recoups. Tornado eventually follows and hits him with his Tornado punch. Perfect rolls back into the ring to avoid getting counted out, and Tornado goes to work on his arm. Perfect is sent to the corner but a blind charge by Tornado misses and he hits his shoulder into the ringpost. Perfect exposes one of the turnbuckles and sends Tornado to it, but that is reversed and Perfect eats a tornado punch on the rebound for two. Tornado with a sloppy looking Boston Crab but Perfect makes the ropes. Tornado sends Perfect to the corner but a blind charge meets Perfect’s boots. You think he would’ve learned after it didn’t work the first time. Perfect with a nice looking dropkick sends Tornado to the outside. Tornado comes back in but only to walk into a sleeper. Tornado eventually breaks free but a discus punch misses and Perfect goes back to work with a high knee and a small package for two. Tornado and Perfect with some weak punches leads to Perfect being sent into Piper and Tornado covering for two. Perfect comes back with a shoulderblock but both men are knocked down. Tornado’s up first and blocks a Perfect shot with a discus punch of his own, then applies the dreaded Claw submission hold. Perfect’s foot makes the rope and Tornado has to break. Perfect comes back with a knee to the gut and chops. Perfect tries a bodyslam but his back is hurt and Tornado goes back to the claw. Perfect thumbs Tornado in the eye then chops him down to take control again. Perfect covers for two. Belly to back suplex leads to both men having their shoulders down, but Tornado lifted his shoulders up and Perfect didn’t, so Tornado retains the title at 11:40. I don’t care for that ending. The look Perfect gives Piper is just great. The rest of it, wasn’t. It was a boring match where even Perfect’s bumping couldn’t save it. I don’t know why this was on here anyway, why not put a title win on here? Maybe they are saving it for History of the IC title. Perfect goes crazy and attacks Piper and Tornado with the belt. *1/2.
6) Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect(c) for the Intercontinental Title (21:33)
This is for the WWE IC title and is from Summerslam 1991 held on August 26th. I actually reviewed this one on the Bret Hart DVD, which I finished just over a month after starting this one, so I a quick copy and past will do here. This took place at Summerslam 1991 (08/26/91) at MSG with Heenan, Monsoon and Piper making the call. Perfect has Coach with him, a manager I forgot he had. Perfect gives a quick promo before being introduced. Shoulderblock knocks down Perfect, and Bret follows with a hiptoss, causing Perfect to bail. Bret with a crucifix pin gets two. Perfect charges into a side headlock, and both guys do some hair-pulling. Bret would later pull out the hair of Shawn Michaels in a backstage brawl. Hart with a crossbody gets two, then a sunset flip for two, and right back to the side headlock. Bret trips down Perfect and teases the Sharpshooter, but just stomps Perfect instead. Bret is sent hard to the corner and bodyslammed, but Bret comes right back with a slam of his own. Perfect is clotheselined to the outside, and Perfect has had enough and starts bailing. Bret literally pulls him back in the by the tights. Perfect cheapshots Bret while the ref is breaking them up in the corner and sends Bret outside then hits a wicked chop. Bret makes the apron but Perfect hits a running knee, catapulting Bret into the barricade on the outside. Bret comes back in and gets a quick reverse sunset flip for two, but Perfect’s up quick and smacks Bret down. Perfect sends Bret hard into the turnbuckle and Perfect covers for two. Perfect with a necksnap, then a roll-up for two. Perfect dropkicks Bret to the outside as Perfect gloats in the ring. Perfect heads outside, leading to a slugfest. Perfect goes to the top rope, but Bret catches him. Perfect knocks Bret off, and both men fall down with Perfect getting an awkward pin. It looked like a blown spot. Perfect smacks Hart, and then hair tosses him. Perfect with a sleeper, but Bret elbows out. Hart tries for a crucifix but Henning falls back for a Samoan drop and gets a two-count out of it. More chops in the corner received by Hart, and Hart’s sent hard to the corner again for two. Perfect with a Perfect-plex and Bret kicks out! Bret with an atomic drop, then another one, then slides Perfect into the ringpost. Hart with a suplex gets two. Small package gets two, neckbreaker gets two, backbreaker leads to an elbow from the second rope for two, and now Bret gets in the ref’s face. This allows Perfect to roll up Bret, who kicks out and sends Perfect outside. Perfect is sent into the ringpost. They go back in and Bret goes for the Sharpshooter. Coach interferes and Bret knocks him off the apron. Bret goes between the ropes, causing Perfect to recover and kick the ropes, which hits the groin of Bret. Perfect goes for a figure-four, but Bret turns it around into a Sharpshooter and Hebner rings the bell way too early, giving Bret his first singles title at 18:04. Bret rips the tights off Perfect then celebrates in the ring. It was a very good match, but a couple of weird spots and a bad finish lowers this a bit. ****. It’s amazing how Curt worked this match with his back as bad a shape as it was.
7) Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels(c) for the Intercontinental Title (16:07)
This is also from Summerslam, held on 08/30/93. This was when Michaels had Diesel with him. Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan are our announcers for this match. I used to watch wrestling during this time, and I have no idea what feud these guys had, or if they were fighting just because. Michaels sends Perfect down and flaunts a bit. Perfect takes Michaels down soon afterwards in response. They both come off the ropes and Michaels gets his face slammed into the mat. Perfect goes to work on the arm, but Michaels reverses, which is reversed by Perfect. Headscissors for Michaels breaks out of a side headlock but an elbow drop misses and the two square off so to speak. Perfect chops at the boy toy in the corner, but comes back with an elbow off the corner. Perfect responds with a clothesline for two. Perfect misses a blind charge but catches Michaels coming off the top with an armdrag and continues arm dragging him down, even covering him for two. Michaels tries for a dropkick but Perfect catches him and slingshots him to the outside, where Michaels takes a pretty decent bump to the mat. Diesel comes over to confront Perfect and Perfect turns around where Michaels just catches Perfect with the super kick. That sounded sick. Michaels comes off the apron with a double axe-handle, then rolls Perfect back in where he works the back with a series of elbow drops. Michaels continues just assaulting the back of Perfect, even causing Heenan to cry out, “Dammit!” Perfect comes right back with a nice leapfrog and a dropkick, followed by a back body drop and a knee lift. Perfect atomic drops Michaels for two. Perfect with a clothesline gets two. A landslide attempt doesn’t work but Perfect puts Shawn in the Perfect-plex. The ref counts but Diesel pulls Perfect out. Perfect starts pounding on Diesel, causing Michaels to come out. Perfect sends him back into the ring, right onto the ref, allowing Diesel to send Perfect to the corner and allowing the ref to finish counting out Perfect at 11:22. Perfect attacks Diesel and Michaels as they celebrate but they casually lay out Perfect. Pettengill interviews Michaels who proclaims himself the greatest IC champ. The lack of a clean finish really hurt this one. Perfect and Michaels had decent chemistry together. ***.
8) Curt Hennig vs. Bret Hart (19:30)
This third match featuring these two comes from WCW Uncensored 03/15/98. I didn’t watch WCW at the time so I have no idea what they were feuding about. Hennig was part of the NWO, at the time and is accompanied by Ravishing Rick Rude. Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan call the action here, as well as the guy who knew the names of all the lucha moves. I forgot his name, though I won’t be losing too much sleep over it. Bret is introduced as a five-time champ, referencing his WWE reigns. Hart is also wearing a Hitmen jersey, a team that Bret co-owns. We get a nice mat wrestling sequence to start, leading to a side headlock for Hart. Hart sends Hennig bailing, as one of the guys reference the Summerslam 1991 match where Hart beat Perfect for the IC title and Heenan says he was there. That was a weird moment hearing WCW announcers talking about WWE history. Anyway, Hart puts on the Sharpshooter, but Rude comes in and breaks the hold behind the referees back and Hennig goes right to work on the leg of Hart, as well as some Rude double-teaming. Hennig finally puts on the figure-four, with Rude pulling on Hennig for more leverage. Of course, the referee catches on and makes Hennig break the hold. Bret comes back and sends Hennig to the corner. Side Russian legsweep gets two. A bulldog attempt finds Perfect making the ropes. Hart with the backbreaker/elbow from the second rope combo gets two. Hennig comes back with the Hennig-plex for two. Hart rolls through a sunset flip (quite poorly) and locks on the sharpshooter. Hennig taps out at 13:51 but Rude comes in and attacks the Hitman. Beatdown ensues for Hart, including a Rude Awakening. This was no Summerslam match, I’ll tell you that. *3/4.
The audio is standard Dolby Digital 5.1. Luckily, this DVD fixes a problem some of the earlier ones had, that the music was actually mixed in louder than people talking and you could barely hear over people. This didn’t have that problem, as you could clearly hear everything being said. The footage is still in great condition thanks to the WWE archives, so no problems on the WWE footage (though the weak one here is the Texas Tornado match). Some of the older stuff from AWA isn’t that great, but WWE has an awesome collection of stuff in great condition. No real problems here.
C) Packaging / Liner Notes
This is a double-disc set, so it’s a single DVD case. There is a four-page Perfect liner notes that has a cool front and back cover, with the interior housing all the match and chapter info. There’s also a WWE PPV schedule for 2008 as well as a giveaway for a Ric Flair figure.
D) Easter Eggs
1) Hennig Interview (1:26)
To access this, head to Chapters, highlight Mr. Perfect and press left twice. This is from 12/13/87 and is from AWA All-Star Wrestling. Hennig talks about being at a banquet with a whole bunch of MLB greats, including Wade Boggs, who he names last.
2) Wade Story (0:37)
Wade relates a story about Curt and playing a joke on one of Wade’s friends and a costume being involved. To access this, go to the Chapters section and highlight Prankster. Press right twice.
3) Rap is Crap Performance (3:05)
To access this egg, go to the Special Features section and highlight the Rap Is Crap video. Press right twice. This is from WCW Thunder, which aired on 07/01/99. Hennig and his Texas Red Neck group sing the song live and ask people to come out for the music video. This is terribly lip synched by the way. Hennig says at the end he didn’t lip sync it, either, in a funny touch.
4) Chris Jericho Story
To access this, go to the final page of Extras and highlight the Karaoke extra. Press right twice. Jericho relates a story about being under the ring for an event and lighting a stink bomb under the ring, causing the guys in the ring to get sick, during a PPV no less.
1) Mr. Perfect is Smashing (1:29)
Mr. Perfect smashes the WWE title after Hogan lost to the Genius. Perfect just wants a title shot. This belt would be the inspiration to the Hardcore Title, a smashed up belt. To access this, go to the second page of extras and highlight the Hogan/Perfect match and hit left two times.
This is a brand new release, so I was hoping for some new clips to start the DVD, and we got a new WWE 24/7 spot, Behind Enemy Lines I, II and III (made by WWE Productions), WWE Home Video, Ric Flair’s second DVD, a HHH DVD, and finally the don’t try this at home PSA. Well, I don’t know what to say about this collection. I thought the main feature was 50 minutes too short, the matches featured some very interesting choices. 30% of them are Bret Hart matches, including one from when both guys didn’t care, and one that is available elsewhere, so I think more variety is needed. The Hogan match was surprisingly good, I question why the Michaels and Tornado matches are on here, and with all the great footage WWE has (from AWA to WWE to WCW), why take them from major WWE PPV’s? Were there no other great house show matches to show against someone other than Hart? The two AWA matches were actually interesting finds, including the full time-limit draw match with Bockwinkel and an early tag match with Scott Hall. The early WWE match was just cool, too. His WWE run should’ve had some better selections. The Flair/Perfect retirement match from Raw immediately comes to mind, as well as one of the Perfect’s two IC title wins. Speaking of wins, Curt won only 3 of the 10 matches on here. I do have to say, the vignettes were awesome, as was the Rap is Crap video, but the rest was just a case of what could’ve been. This had so much potential and if any person deserved a three-disc set with a full two-hour documentary, it is Curt Hennig. A rather disappointing collection when you think of what could’ve been on here. Mildly recommended on the basis of the awesome Bockwinkel match, but I can’t go higher than that.
9.0-9.5 Near Perfect, Highly Recommended
8.0-8.5 Really good disc, Recommended
7.0-7.5 Good DVD, Mildly recommended
6.0-6.5 Above Average DVD. Mildest of mild recommendations
5.0-5.5 Decent all around disc, but catch it on TV
4.0-4.5 Great Movie but horrible DVD
3.0-3.5 Horrible movie but great DVD
2.0-2.5 There’s at least some merit to this DVD, but not much.
1.0-1.5 Horrible DVD, don’t even bother
0.0-0.5 Worst DVD ever