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Crisis in pro-wrestling?
February 10, 2003 7:30 PM   Subscribe

RIP Mr Perfect Former WWE star "Mr Perfect" Curt Hennig was found dead yesterday at the age of 44, joining a long list of professional wrestlers to die at an unnaturally young age. It's no secret to participants and fans of the pro-wrestling industry that its performers live unusually stressful lives. With working schedules commonly encompassing upwards of 300 shows a year, their bodies take a constant beating that often leads to alcohol and painkiller dependency. Furthermore, despite the high-profile scandal of the mid-90s that eventually saw Vince McMahon acquitted of trafficking steroids to his employees, the abuse of performance-enhancing chemicals continues to be the rule rather than exception, driven by the endless quest for bigger and freakier physical size and proportions to wow audiences.
posted by plenty (24 comments total)

 
Ah, Mr. Perfect. I still have good memories of his matches with Bret Hart back in the early 90s. My grandmother was a huge fan of pro wrestling. If you can imagine an 80 year old chinese woman who couldn't speak english completely engrossed by the WWF.

Despite the massive surge of the WWF(or WWE, wtf ever) and wrestling in general (WCW and ECW) that we cringed to a couple of years ago, it now seems that the show has hit one of its biggest lows in awhile. Why I'm not completely sure, I assume its oversaturation of the product, lack of the WCW competition, bad writing, bad management, reliance on tits and ass instead of interesting wrestlers. I can only assume it's going to force wrestlers into more drug habits and extreme measures in order not to be axed by the drop in interest. Also I don't think they can compete with the recent surge in extreme fighting sports.
posted by Stan Chin at 8:06 PM on February 10, 2003


Charlotte, by Tony Earle (pdf). This a great, heartbreaking short story about professional wrestling. Really.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 8:23 PM on February 10, 2003


Mister Perfect was one of the best evil guys in my height of Wrestling fandom. The PerfectPlex™ never ceased to amaze my 11 year old self. It's sad to see him go so early.

The wrestling world really went through a shock in the early to mid 90's when Owen Heart had his fatal accident. I think a lot of people hoped that some changes would come. Maybe some have (I haven't watched it in a very long time) but I'm sure it still remains a very dangerous sport.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:59 PM on February 10, 2003


Just wait 'til the WWE goes head to head with the ISW (probably NSFW). Also, it's come to my attention that Andy Kaufman now has a posse. Or is that a Blassie?


posted by eddydamascene at 11:24 PM on February 10, 2003


[/derail] man that was Farked. sorry.
posted by eddydamascene at 11:38 PM on February 10, 2003


Yeah back in the day Mr Perfect was the perfect heel. Perfect mix of arrogance and athleticism. In his prime he was a heat generating machine.
posted by PenDevil at 11:41 PM on February 10, 2003


The problem with wrasslin' right now is that Vince had to go so over the top in the '90s that even having a man make love to a corpse or a lesbian kiss (both recently occured) is greeted with a yawn. Also doesn't help that WCW is gone, and as in any industry - lack of competition breeds complacence and a dearth of innovation (whoo-ee, Rock vs. Hogan... again)

I liked Perfect, though my favorite baddie was always The Millionaire, Ted Dibiase. Considering our impending war, I expect to see an Iron Sheik retread sometime soon.

There's always the Divas.
posted by owillis at 11:54 PM on February 10, 2003


After Gene Kiniskey, and Eric Frohlich, the Scientific Wrestler, I lost interest, when I was about 12.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:04 AM on February 11, 2003


Mad Dog Vachon. The Crusher. Verne Gagne. Wahoo McDaniel. Baron "The Claw" Von Rachke.

My wrasslin Mt. Rushmore.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:24 AM on February 11, 2003


Jeez, you Americans with your 'wrestling'. As a Brit, I loved the 70's - 80's Sunday afternoon wrestling with Giant Haystacks and Big Daddy and the likes. The WWF didn't really hold an appeal for me (mind you, I was older at that point too), but I do remember Mr Perfect and other giants of the classic WWF. Whatever happened to the likes of The Million Dollar Man, the British Bulldog, Superfly, Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan?
posted by metaxa at 3:24 AM on February 11, 2003


owillis -
Unlikely to be a return of the Iron Shiek.. check the link.
posted by jozxyqk at 3:45 AM on February 11, 2003


Whatever happened to:
The Million Dollar Man: Became reborn, still wrestles in his own indy league. His league is know for trying to preach via wrestling.

The British Bulldog: Dead

Superfly: Retired, recently appeared on an episode of Raw to get a Lifetime Achievement Award but was ambushed by a heel group during the 'ceremony'

Andre The Giant: Dead

Hulk Hogan: Hulkamania is running wild through the WWE at the moment, and the orange goblin will face The Rock at No Way Out and Vinny Mac at Wrestlemania... brother!
posted by PenDevil at 4:17 AM on February 11, 2003


Stan, funnily enough, my Chinese grandfather (whom I never knew), was also a huge wrestling fan, all the way until his death at the age of 92.
posted by kalessin at 5:16 AM on February 11, 2003


Get over yourselves, wrestling is cool.

It's the only real live theater left for my money.
posted by Leonard at 5:19 AM on February 11, 2003


I was a wrestling fan in the late 80's and I loved the cocky heelness of Mr. Perfect. His vignettes of hitting the 'perfect' home run or the perfect golf swing etc. were hilarious.

The only better heel was Randy Savage, specifically I remember the time that he took the ring bell to Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboats neck.

It's actually funny to think that at that time there was still the perception that wrestling was 'real'
posted by batboy at 6:12 AM on February 11, 2003


I actually caught Ted DiBiase's show wrasslin'/preachin' show on one of my local channels last night. It didn't seem any worse than any other washed out wrestler circuit.

I was lucky enough to grow up in Houston during the heyday of Paul Boesch's Houston Wrestling. A ridiculous number of guys went on to the then WWF from there, including DiBiase, but my fav was always Jake the Snake Roberts.
posted by Cyrano at 6:14 AM on February 11, 2003


Bobo Brazil. Tex McKenzie. Pampero Firpo. Sweet Daddy Siki. The Sheik. Wild Bull Curry.

Now that was wrestling.
posted by Oriole Adams at 6:28 AM on February 11, 2003


Thanks for the Tony Earle story. I grew up in Charlotte, in the 70s and 80s, and went to a couple of matches when I was 12 or so. I believed.

I car-pooled with the Super Destroyer's daughter. Black Jack Mulligan's son Kendall was in my 5th-grade class. I vividly remember our 6th-grade graduation, not because of any sort of sense of accomplishment, but because I looked back and saw this towering man in a cowboy hat at the back of the auditorium. Baron von Von Rachke's daughter, Heidi, was a year below me, and he'd come to our Junior High band recitals (without his monocle). Rick Flair lived in the next neighborhood; when we'd ride our bikes over to the dollar theater to see Star Wars one more time, we'd see him out mowing his lawn, shirtless and tanned and platinum-haired. He always waved. They were real people.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:20 AM on February 11, 2003


Ric Flair mowing the lawn... I wonder if he wore one of his robes, or let out a "Wooo!" every once in a while?
posted by PenDevil at 7:42 AM on February 11, 2003


He is a dumb shiat for taking Steroids. Not only do steroids increase muscle mass, but it also increases the muscle mass of your heart. A large increase in muscle mass in your heart makes it inefficient to pump blood.
posted by LinemanBear at 8:29 AM on February 11, 2003


I can remember seeing him wrestle (as a good guy) in the early 80's in Eugene, Oregon. Back then he was Kurt "The Hatchet" Hennig. Any Oregonians out there probably have memories of Saturday Night Wrestling on channel 12, sponsored by Tom Peterson (but not Gloria, too...).
-Matt
posted by Mr_Spook at 8:32 AM on February 11, 2003


I'm saddened that Mr. Perfect is gone, as he was one of my absolute favourite wrestlers when I was a kid. His vignettes were always great, he wrestled in a technical format that was fun to watch (those arm bars and ankle twists looked REALLY painful) and no matter who he was wrestling (up and comers, established stars, jobbers) it always looked like either guy could win the match.

Plus, his character in the WWF Wrestlefest kicked ass.

It's nice to know that even though the 20th century version of Mr. Perfect has passed on, the 21st century version is on top of the world. It's true, it's true.
posted by grum@work at 8:38 AM on February 11, 2003


Whoever mentioned The Sheik (not the Iron Sheik) may be interested to know that Ed Farhat (who played The Original Sheik) died about a month ago.
posted by Dark Messiah at 8:45 AM on February 11, 2003


A team of Ultimate Warrior and Mr. Perfect in WWF Wrestlefest was unstoppable. Drop-kick and flying clothesline mayhem.

There was no better Mr. Perfect promo than when he threw the football down the field, and then ran and caught it himself. Absolutely Perfect. RIP
posted by Succa at 8:07 PM on February 11, 2003


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