Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect | Revolutionists of Wrestling in the ’90s

During a time when big, cartoonish men like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior were forced to step aside due to steroid scandals, smaller men like Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig stepped to the forefront and led the charge.

These men revolutionized the industry of professional wrestling by bringing high quality, athletic in-ring performances to the fore, cultivating a legacy of being two of the greatest of all time.

Here, Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect speak of their mutual love and respect and how their careers would never have been the same had it not been for the other.

Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect | Revolutionists of Wrestling in the '90s [Photo design: JP Zarka of ProWrestlingStories.com]
Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect – Two of the greatest. [Photo design: JP Zarka of ProWrestlingStories.com]

Hennig and Hart – Perfect Chemistry In and Out of the Ring

BRET HART (via Pro Wrestling Archive):

“Curt Hennig was a wrestler that I would never say I was better than.”

MR. PERFECT (via Pro Wrestling Radio):

“I’d have to say out of all of my matches, my best would have to be with Bret Hart.”

BRET HART (via Sports Illustrated):

“Curt was one of the greatest athletes to ever put on a pair of wrestling boots. You could wake me up at four in the morning, and I could wrestle Curt Hennig for an hour and have a five-star match. He was so safe in his matches, and logical. He didn’t waste a lot of moves. Every move made sense. There was a reason why he did it, and it fit into the theme of the whole storyline. A lot of wrestlers would be better off today if they watched Curt Hennig. It’s not about what you do; it’s how you do it.”

MR. PERFECT:

“We pretty much had the same chemistry, same age almost, same background…”

BRET HART (via the book, The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Heels. H/T: Wrestling’s Glory Days):

“I was recently asked if I could come back to wrestle just one more match, one final hurrah, what wrestler would I pick to work with: I said, ‘Curt Hennig.’

He was my all-time favorite. He really was.

When I think back to our incredible matches, they sort of remind me of those spy vs. spy cartoons in Mad Magazine. We were similar in age, size, and background, and we had a similar look – except that Curt wore a mane of long blonde curly hair.

Both of us were second-generation wrestlers whose fathers were respected men in a tough business, and we shared an understanding of what it was like to have mighty big shoes to fill.

Curt was infamous for his practical jokes. He loved chaining the rookies’ ring bags to the benches in the dressing room. I, like so many others, got along with Curt from the instant we met.

Curt will always be remembered as a great wrestler, but those of us lucky enough to have known him will remember him best for his brilliant sense of humor, his big heart, and his never-ending devotion to his family.

I looked forward to a day where I’d sit with Curt on my back porch, or his – our canes propped nearby – a tub of long necks soaking in ice, while we laughed and joked about the good times we had.

If it was 4 a.m. and if someone said you gotta go out and wrestle each other – no matter how hungover we were or how much sleep we’d had or how much of a trip it was flying in, we could still go out there and have the best match on the card.

I remember the buzz of electricity in the dressing room in Madison Square Garden when Curt and I got ready for our first ever match [in 1989].

There is no higher tribute to a wrestler than to look back to the dugout and see our peers watching, arms crossed, waiting for us to show the world how it’s done.

That we did!

We adjusted to each others’ timing in an epic back and forth battle where we constantly gave back to each other. I had Curt beat after I came off the second rope, spiking his chest with the point of my elbow, hooking his leg for a 1…2… [but then] the bell clanged, signaling the end of our twenty-minute match!

Curt made his escape while I retrieved the house mic and pleaded for five more minutes. Curt turned to leave, signaling me to turn my back on him…

In a flash, he was back in the ring, viciously beating me to the mat. Kneeling over top of me and shaking me by the hair, he slapped me across the face until the referee managed to break us apart. Angrily Curt climbed to the top turnbuckle while I popped up to my feet and greeted him with a fist to the gut causing him to lose his balance and crotch himself hard on the corner strut. The crowd was going crazy as I dragged him off by the hair and clobbered him from one corner to the next until he bounced out of the ring and slithered away in full retreat.

The fans thundered their approval. Curt stumbled back towards the dressing room with a ton of heat. And me, I looked out at the fans … I had finally won them over. It had to be one of the best matches I’d had in years.”

Watch the First-Ever Match Between Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect from 1989:

 

MR. PERFECT:

“At SummerSlam ’91, when I lost the Intercontinental belt to Bret, I was already done for two months – my back was so bad I couldn’t even hardly drink my third beer (laughs)… but I went out and did it. So I have a good thing with Bret Hart forever.”

BRET HART:

“If there was ever a ‘chemistry’ between two wrestlers, there was none better than the one between me and Curt. I was able to do slick moves that I wouldn’t think of doing with most other guys.

He was a one-of-a-kind athlete who had impeccable timing and was an absolute dream to work with in a wrestling ring. The matches we had together – every single darn one – was a classic. We had a trust and respect for one another that I don’t see in the wrestlers today. I can never recall not coming back after a match with Curt when we weren’t both grinning from ear to ear, hugging, and shaking hands. So many memories.”

We tip our hats to Bret Hart and Mr. Perfect for creating some of the greatest moments in that ring, memories fans and workers alike will cherish and be inspired from forever.

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JP Zarka
JP Zarka is a teacher, singer/songwriter, producer, executive producer of The Pro Wrestling Stories Podcast, former co-host of The Genius Cast with Lanny Poffo podcast, and editor-in-chief of ProWrestlingStories.com. Originally from Chicago, he has called London home since 2008. He can be reached on Twitter @pws_official.