The late, and very much great, Curt ‘Mr. Perfect’ Hennig is a firm favourite of this blog. Today’s piece centres on the Perfect one as we remember the time he destroyed Hulk Hogan’s WWF title in a moment that really should have led to a lot more than it eventually did.
The late Curt Hennig aka “Mr. Perfect” in the WWF…had one heck of a pro career. He was a former AWA World and tag team champion, he was a former WWF Intercontinental champion…a former WCW United States Champion. He has wrestled some classic matches against the likes of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart. He’s been a member of three legendary factions, the Heenan Family, the Four Horsemen and the nWo. Curt Hennig seemingly did it all in his 20 plus years in the industry.
One of the most memorable and talked about Hennig moments however…occurred in the WWF on Halloween night…October 31st, 1989. A Tuesday taping for Saturday Night’s Main Event that aired on November 25th of that year. Mr. Perfect’s manager and occasional tag team partner…the former ‘Leapin’ Lanny Poffo aka The Genius took on WWF champion Hulk Hogan one on one. In a shocking result, the Genius defeated the Hulkster via countout after outside interference from Mr. Perfect.
After the match, the Genius and Mr. Perfect stole Hogan’s WWF title and ran off. A little while later….while conducting an interview with Mean Gene Okerlund….Mr. Perfect was shown with a timekeeper’s hammer smashing the WWF title into hundred’s of pieces. It was a shocking moment that catapulted Hennig into a main event feud with Hulk Hogan. Never before had WWF fans seen such a display of indifference to a major title.
Now the major misconception in the world wide web is that the smashed up winged eagle title was later used as the WWF Hardcore title during the Attitude Era in 1998. That was not the case at all. While the incident may have inspired the company to use a similar belt as the Hardcore belt…it wasn’t the original.
The original desecrated title was picked up and taken by former WWF ring announcer Mel Phillips. As you may or may not know…Phillips was the disgraced WWF ring announcer accused of being a pedophile back in the early 1990’s. Phillips owned the belt until 2007…when it was sold to an avid memorabilia collector. That collector then sold the belt to another collector a little while later.
Getting back to the original incident in 1989…Mr. Perfect’s act of aggression by destroying the WWF title didn’t lead to Perfect winning the company’s top prize. He wound up losing a series of house show title matches to Hogan. It certainly gave the Genius bragging rights as a wrestler who holds a victory over Hulk Hogan during a time when Hogan was virtually unbeatable.
It is truly unfortunate that such a shocking angle like that didn’t lead to bigger and better things for the “Perfect one.” He did win a tournament to win the Intercontinental title…but a serious back injury led him into a long break from the ring. He returned to action…but by that time just didn’t have the momentum he once did. Mr. Perfect was truly a great performer who committed the perfect crime that just never panned out the way it should have.