Hall on how he learned from Curt Hennig’s positive mentality: “I got my first exposure to Curt in NWA, and the thing about Curt was… I learned so much from him, some stuff out of the ring too. Once you move big time like by the time I got to NWA, I’m not driving any cars anymore from town to town. Now, I’m flying airport to airport, rental cars, hotels. It’s all a different game and it impacts your life. You know, now, you’re gone from your family, and, aa lot of guys have a wife and kids. You don’t see them as often as when you’re in a small territory, when you can drive and you come home every night. So all that was changing and it cracks a lot of guys, it’s tough. But Curt taught me to have fun, like always make fun and always have fun… even if you have to create your own. [laughter] A lot of guys would be like, “Ohh, we’re going to Boise.” And then Curt’s like, “Yeah, we’re going to Boise! WOO!” It’s just… I don’t know, that’s one of the most important things I learned off him.”
Hall on what he learned from teaming with Hennig in AWA: “We used to study tapes when were AWA champs. He was married with a family. I’m a single guy in Minneapolis, but, when the show would come on, we would talk on the phone and watch it. He called and we would talk about it as we saw it back and he would critique it for me then. It was just great. He was my first experience to what, well, not my first experience ’cause I’d been around Barry Windham and Dusty Rhodes in Florida. But, being like, being what I wanted to be. I rode in the car with those guys but now I just felt like “I’m finally a pro-wrestler. Man, I’m finally, finally going to towns. It’s like I’m a big deal.” And Curt introduced me to that lifestyle and how to do it right, and how to do it and have fun.
Hall on Hennig’s pranks: “Curt is a world-class, world-class ribber. Actually, it really, it really hurt my feelings, because I’d been around when he ribbed a lot of guys. Actually, one time, he did the eyebrow rib to me. I think we were in Philadelphia, and, at the airport hotel and, I don’t know, I woke up the next morning and I had like the Vanilla Ice eyebrow thing going. Just a couple little dashes in your eyebrow. Now, I got to go home and… I’ve been a married guy. Really, it hurt my feelings.”
Hall on watching Hennig rib others: “You know, when we first crossed paths in Minneapolis, during the weekdays, we would wrestle at little high schools stuff. So we’re changing in the locker rooms and Curt would walk around and just pull on all the combination locks. And just, you know, until he found one that wasn’t locked all the way. And then, he would have three or four locks– combination locks in his bag and he would take two guys’ wrestling bags or suitcases and, and lock the handles together, and particularly if it’s two guys who don’t like each other so then they’re forced to, for the rest of the loop, it, uh, you know, it was called buddy bags and now they got buddy bags and walk through the airport with buddy bags. He would put it on the hood ornament of your car and he’d call it “Teakettle Effect”. It’s while you’re driving down the road, it’s just rocking back and forth against your paint-job. He’d take a padlock and put it through the button-hole of your brand new designer shirt or on the little loop of your cowboy boots where you pull them up [laughter.] He always looks for an opportunity to have a laugh. There’s never been a time when I think about Curt and I don’t smile”.
His thoughts on Hennig’s son Curtis Axel: “I was just at the SmackDown taping here in Atlanta and I saw his son, Curtis Axel, and he walks, he walks like his dad, like he moves like his dad, you know. He’s always got this little spark in his eye and he’s got the smirky smile like his dad. It’s really great. I try not to bug him about that too much. I don’t know if I should remind him about that or not when we’re face to face, you know. I start treating him like his old man. I’m sure everybody says, “You’re just like your dad. You’re like your dad.” I don’t wanna beat him to death with that ’cause I don’t know what it’s like to be second generation or he’s third generation. My son is second generation. I’m so happy he’s doing his thing in Japan where he’s not getting that whole ‘your dad’, ‘your dad’ stuff.” You know,Curt & I are basically the same age. If you hear this, Joe, you know, I got nothing but love for you. I think you know that.”
Hall on how Hennig helped the business: “Now that people have the WWE Network and stuff, it’s so cool that you can go back and research this stuff. If there’s up-and-coming wrestlers out there and you’re looking for somebody to emulate, Curt Hennig would be a great guy. He learned at the foot of Pat Patterson who was, who was regard as a genius in our business, and rightly so. There’s just not a lot of footage of Pat Patterson wrestling. You know, there’s some, but I mean his early days out in California, when he was teamed back with Ray Stevens, Curt was exposed to Pat and Ray Stevens, so he learned that style to be, to take entertaining bump as a heel. It takes them to another level when a guy can really perform as a heel, and when you can do that, you can get a job anywhere because people always want somebody to make them look good. And Curt learned that and he wasn’t selfish about it. You have to remember, before guaranteed money, a lot of guys were hesitant to do jobs. Nobody wanted to put anybody over because it hurt their money, it hurt their earning power but Curt was never a mark about that and then you got around big time promoters adn they see what they’re doing, guys like Vince McMahon pay you regardless of winning or losing. It’s paid by performance and attendance and box office, and Curt was a ground breaker on setting that kind of standard for a business. I came up in it at the same time, and a lot of guys would moan and pout and didn’t wanna do jobs, or when they had to. They would go out there and under perform. When that whole steroid scandal hit, business was down. Houses weren’t full and a lot of guys were moping about it because well, before, we hear it was sold out. Well, Curt was the kind of guy who spread around in the locker room, “Let’s go and make the people who came not sorry that they came.” Don’t have these people come and then sit and go, “Wow, that was brutal, that was boring.” Curt would go out there and rock it. He was the one who started that whole mentality… I was with Curt in the AWA and along comes Shawn Michaels, and Martin Smith. Shawn Michaels is rightfully regarded as the best in-ring performer, and he was influenced by Curt’s philosophy of wrestling along with trickle down from Pat Patterson. Curt is responsible for a lot of positive things that happened in the wrestling industry at a real difficult time. That whole steroid scandal and stuff was hard to dig out from under and it was Curt inspiring guys in the locker room to go out there and rock it. Don’t make the people who came sorry they came. Have them walking out in the parking lot telling their friends the next day, “Man, you should have been there. It was great. It was fun.”