WWE Hall Of Famer Scott Hall recently appeared as a guest on Pandemonium Radio to pay tribute to the late WWE Hall Of Famer Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig. Below are highlights from the interview, which will be available on their official website on March 28th.
On the AWA and Hennig’s influence on him:
“I learned so much from Curt. I started in Charlotte and then I went to Kansas City and then I moved on to Minneapolis in the AWA. I was getting my first push. The show was on ESPN and I was getting my first TV exposure and, at that time, the business was changing. They started to push guys based on the way they looked. They liked my look. Curt was a really good performer so they put us together so he could kind of carry me and that’s exactly what he did. This was before guaranteed money and before guaranteed contracts so we were competing for the same job. But, you know, he wasn’t a mark about it. He did what was best for the show and what was best for business and, along the way, smartened me up like crazy.
“We used to study tapes when we were AWA champs. He was married with a family and I’m a single guy in Minneapolis. But, when the show came on, we would talk on the phone and watch our matches. We would talk about it as we saw it back. He would critique it for me then. It was just great. He was my first experience, well not my first experience because I had been around Barry Windham and Dusty Rhodes in Florida. I’d think, ‘Finally, I’m a pro-wrestler, I’m going to towns, I’m a big deal.’ And Curt introduced me to that lifestyle and how to do it right and how to have fun. It’s a whole different game and it impacts your whole life. It’s tough but Curt taught me to have fun. He said, ‘Always make fun. Always have fun, even if you have to create your own.’ That’s one of the most important things I learned from him.”
On his impact on Curt Hennig:
“If you look at me and Curt when we first hooked up in Minneapolis and then you see the guy Mr. Perfect, you’ll see my impact on Curt. It wasn’t just a one-way street. He taught me about business and we’d get in the car after a match and we’d talk about nothing but wrestling. And then, we were traveling together so, when we stopped to eat, I’m helping him with the nutritional stuff. I’m a big-time muscle head back then so I wanted to go to the gym every day. So, I get Curt in the gym and eating right. If you look at Mr. Perfect, he has a much better physique than he did in AWA and I’ll take credit for that [laughs].”
On reuniting with Hennig in the WWF:
“When I crossed paths with him again in the then-WWF, he was in a great spot. He already had a built reputation for being a great performer. Now, in WWF, Curt had been injured and he’s collecting his Lloyd’s of London policy. But he’s so talented that they’re keeping him around and Vince McMahon is grooming him to be a broadcaster on Superstars. At the time, that’s the lead show, the main show and this was before Raw. It was a lot harder and a lot more work. Curt was in a great spot because he already proved he’s a great in-ring performer and now he’s kind of like an ‘office guy’, but he’s not. He was with [Bobby] Heenan and [Ric] Flair. So when Razor came in the door, I already knew Curt. It’s like they strapped a rocket to myback as far as being pushed, in a fan’s eye. And it was great to cross paths with Curt because we had a strong bond in AWA.”
On Hennig’s practical jokes:
“Curt was the world-class ribber. When we first crossed paths in Minneapolis during the weekdays, we’d wrestle at little high schools. So we’d change in the locker rooms and Curt would walk around and pull on all the combination locks until he found one that wasn’t locked all the way. He’d have about three or four locks in his bag and he would take two guys’ wrestling bags and suitcases and lock the handles together and call them ‘buddy bags.’ He did this, particularly to two guys who don’t like each other so they’re forced for the rest of the loop to walk through the airport together with ‘buddy bags.’ He would put it on the hood ornament of your car and call it the ‘Teakettle Effect.’ While you’re driving down the road, it’d rock back and forth against your paintjob. He’d take a padlock and put it through the button-hole of your brand new designer shirt or on the little loop of your cowboy boots where you pull them up, you know. He’d put it through the belt loop of your new designer jeans so you’d have to cut the loop. He was funny like that. He would always look for the opportunity to have a laugh.”
On hennig’s wrestling style as a heel:
“What I liked about Curt was he was a wrestler first and then he could always heat it up. He was a wrestling heel. Nick Bockwinkel was another influential guy in the AWA at that time and Nick was a great performer. He was a wrestling heel and a lot of people aren’t going to understand what I mean. But, basically, you wrestle with the guy, the babyface comes out on top, and then you cheat. Nick would pull the tights or use the ropes or something to gain an advantage and then get back to wrestling. I think that’s a lost art. Curt was great with that. Back in the squash-match era, Curt would do a running dropkick and he always gave the job-guy a spot. He would always have the guy reverse the hip-toss, shoot him in to the ropes, and then go for a backdrop but then Curt would leapfrog the guy and hit him with the running dropkick. So, anybody listening, I dare you to go and research that and you’ll see Curt does that with almost every job match. He’s going to squash the guy later and hit him with the Perfectplex but he always takes a hip-toss first.”
On how he passes Hennig’s wisdom onto younger talent:
“When I see young guys now, I remind them to enjoy this because your life is going by. You know, you’re spending life on the road away from your family so go ahead and have fun, too. Because, when you look around that locker-room, some guys aren’t having fun. So why do it? It’s a big sacrifice to make. Basically, you’re on the road entertaining other people’s kids. Might as well have a little bit of fun, at least.”
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