WWE // 2008 // 360 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Daryl Loomis // September 12th, 2008
A tribute to the man who saved Wade Boggs.
The aftermath of Vince McMahon's destruction of his wrestling competition, for all the distasteful monopolizing of an industry I deeply love, has allowed one good thing: the collection of the entire history of major American wrestling under one umbrella. WWE's elite production team has the footage and the skills to make masterful tributes to their stars from before, during, and after their tenures with the company. Though their biographies lean toward aggrandizement over factual statements, they still dominate in presentation, and The Life and Times of Mr. Perfect is no exception.
In typical WWE style, through interviews, photographs, and match footage, we learn the entire history of "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig -- at least, the way WWE wants us to remember it. From the early days watching his father, Larry "The Axe" Hennig in Minnesota, coming up the ranks with (future Genius and brother of Randy Savage) Leapin' Lanny Poffo; through championships, hard times, and redemption until his untimely death as a result of a cocaine overdose, WWE does a good job of whitewashing their history while still keeping it interesting. I always find it funniest to see the interviews with old wrestlers who, even in cases of awful wrestlers like Greg Gagne, always find a little time to talk about how great they are in the ring, no matter what subject they're supposed to be talking about. One odd thing about this biography in particular, over others that WWE has released, is the Wade Boggs overload. He was a great baseball player and Hennig's friend, but when he weepily goes on about Hennig helping him out of barbed wire and saving his life, it goes pretty well overboard.
The program itself runs a little over an hour but, as usual for these releases, the value is in the matches.
Hennig vs. Eddie Gilbert: In his first-ever match in the venerable Madison Square Garden, the man who would be perfect takes on the late, great "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert. They were inexperienced here, but it's easy to see how both got to be such big stars.
Hennig & Scott Hall vs. Steve Regal & Jimmy Garvin: Hey Yo! Hennig teams with a porn-ready Scott Hall against a future Freebird and "Mr. Electricity" Steve Regal. Hennig was an underrated tag team wrestler and this is a pretty good match from two good teams.
Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkle (AWA Title): This match, heavily talked about during the main program, is the what brought Hennig into the big time. Bockwinkle could carry anyone to a good match but, with a blue-chipper like Hennig, this match is a clinic of old-school wrestling.
Hennig vs. Terry Taylor: In spite of the Mr. Perfect origins discussed on the main program, guest commentators Mick Foley and Michael Cole explain that this match was, in essence, to decide you got to use the gimmick. One of these guys became perfect; the other became a red rooster.
Mr. Perfect vs. Bret Hart: Hennig has finally become Mr. Perfect and takes on "The Hitman" for the first of three contests in this match list. These two legends, though not as good as what they would become, tear it up in the ring, performing a style that would become the standard-bearer in wrestling for the next decade.
Perfect vs. Hulk Hogan (WWE Title): Technically, this match is for the Heavyweight Championship but, since this is a TV match involving the Hulkster, there is no doubt as to who is walking home with the belt. Still, Mr. Perfect draws a fairly decent match out of the normally unwatchable Hogan. Hulk even lets Perfect give him the Perfectplex, his signature fisherman's suplex. Do you think he gets the pin with it? Neither did I.
Perfect vs. "The Texas Tornado" Kerry Von Erich (WWE Intercontinental Title): Von Erich, once a great star in Texas, is a shadow of his former self. No matter how hard Perfect tries, there is no carrying him a good match. By far the worst match on the set, it's hard to see why they decided to include it.
Perfect vs. Bret Hart (WWE IC Title): Back to some real action with the second, and best, of the three matches included here. Two years after the first contest, both had developed physically and psychologically. Classic stuff.
Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels (WWE IC Title): Maybe the best match on the card, Shawn Michaels is a true showstopper and he's at his peak here. Perfect works him on the mat and Michaels works Perfect through the air; it's a great mix of styles.
Perfect vs. Bret Hart: The final match and third of the trilogy is a good tribute to two great wrestlers, but neither is on the level he once was. Five years after the previous match, Perfect had been beset with injuries and the NWO bit had already become extremely stale. It is nice to see Rick Rude though, just a short time before he died.
WWE's production is always spectacular. The video looks great, even in the oldest TV footage. Sound is as clear as the day these matches originally aired. On top of all the matches, they fill out this two-disc set with a boat load of Perfect vignettes, more interviews and, in the worst possible way to remember the great Curt Hennig, the infamous "Rap Is Crap" video. I never thought I'd have to sit through that again. As they often do, as well, there are a few Easter Eggs with some amusing extra vignettes.
Not guilty. This set is absolutely...perfect.
Review content copyright © 2008 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 360 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Prematch interviews
* Prematch vignettes
* Music Video: "Rap is Crap"
* Easter Eggs
* IMDb: Curt Hennig