We're pleased to welcome Guest Blogger Michael "Kentucky Prophet" Farmer to join us on The Perfect Blog with his curated 5 Reasons Perfect was Perfect. What are your "perfect" Perfect moments? Sound off in the comments!
1. Curt saves Chris Jericho.
On the last WCW Monday Nitro of 1997, the Perfect One took on the future Y2J, Chris Jericho. In any other era, Hennig vs. Jericho would be considered a dream match -- but the day after the infamous Starrcade 1997 in a New World Order-centric WCW -- this was a short encounter with commentary barely focused on the in-ring action.
Near the end of the match Jericho goes for his famous Lionsault, which is a springboard moonsault off the middlerope onto a prone opponent. He's not able to rotate far enough and nearly lands on his neck until Hennig draws his knees up to his chest, causing Jericho to land backfirst on Hennig's knees. This has several effects. First, it makes the audience think that Hennig countered the Lionsault. More importantly, it saved Jericho's neck and possibly his life.
2. Curt Hennig was an amazing mentor.
A less-recognized aspect of Curt Hennig is his veteran instinct to take young talent under his wing. The people who give him credit for helping them in his career include "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Scott Hall, Brock Lesnar, and many more.
3. He Perfect-plexed The Big Show!
Granted, this was in WCW, so the Big Show wasn't the Big Show yet. This was when Paul Wight was known professionally as The Giant. Which makes this all the more stunning as this was early in his career. Later in WWE, Brock Lesnar superplexed Big Show and the ring collapsed. Apparently, this means WCW had sturdier rings. Perfect rings, even.
4. Mr. Perfect vs. the Rowdy one.
Curtis Axel, Curt Hennig's son and former WWE Intercontinental Champion, says this is his favorite match of his father's. It's easy to see why. Two outsized personalities clashing in a 1991 Toronto bout for Mr. Perfect's Intercontinental Title. Rowdy Roddy Piper would eventually win the IC title but not in this match and not from Hennig, who's superior athleticism and cocky attitude clashed well with Piper's free-for-all wild-eyed brawling.
5. Doing The Honors For The Hitman
In the spring of 1991, Mr. Perfect was struggling with a debilitating back injury. Unfortunately, he was still the Intercontinental Champion. Hennig expected to vacate the title and go into semi-retirement, allowing himself to recover from his injury. Vince McMahon asked Hennig to lose the title to Bret "The Hitman" Hart at SummerSlam, which would give Hennig three months to get ready. Even at less than 100 percent, Hennig and the Hitman, another similarly talented wrestler would go on to have an exciting match where Hart submitted Hennig with the Sharpshooter. Hennig would take a break, become a commentator and not compete in ring for over a year.
(SummerSlam 1991 can be found on the WWE Network.)