Curtis Axel spoke Sports Illustrated’s Extra Mustard website about his father, Curt Hennig and WWE. Here are the highlights.
On their relationship:
“Every child is in awe of their father, and I was no different. My father and I were best friends. He was my hero and I just wanted to be around him all the time. I thought it was cool that he was a pro wrestler, but he was just an awesome dad. He really was the perfect dad. People thought it must have been hard with my dad on the road, but it never seemed like he was gone 300 days a year. He still found a way to go to my football games and my baseball games. When he was home, we were either playing catch or doing something. Even when I get home from the road and I’m dragging ass, I make it a point to be there and play with my boys, help them with their homework, and keep their curiosity running wild. My dad taught me everything.”
On if it’s easier getting into wrestling with an established last name:
“It’s a cursed blessing. It isn’t easy trying to live up to what my father accomplished–for Christ’s sake, my dad’s name was ‘Mr. Perfect.’ We’re constantly compared, and I couldn’t be prouder to be his son, but I’m not trying to be my father. It’s a common misconception, because my father is a Hall of Famer and a major star in this business, that the path was paved for me. But that’s the furthest thing from the truth. Some generational guys start their training on the WWE payroll, but I didn’t.”
On his father’s legacy:
“My father’s legacy will forever be sketched in history as one of the greatest performers in not only the WWE, but also the whole world. He is in the WWE Hall of Fame. He could not only talk the talk, but he could walk the walk through his look, athletic ability, and attitude. He had more love for this business than anyone. Even though he’s gone from the world of wrestling, he’ll never be forgotten. People will talk about Mr. Perfect for hundreds of years, and, as for me, his legacy continues as a mentor, teacher and someone I could go to, whether it was good or bad. He was my hero, my best friend and the best goddamn dad a son could ask for. I continue to miss him every day of my life. On a final note, when you watch me on Smackdown or watch me on Raw as Curtis Axel–a name that’s combined together to represent both my grandfather and my father, know this: my dad, ‘Mr. Perfect’ Curt Hennig, lives with me every day of my life. He’s driving me, not only in the ring, but also out of it. And he truly was perfect.”
You can read the entire interview here.