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   Thu, March 6, 2003



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Perfectly sad
By TJ MADIGAN -- Calgary Sun


On Monday morning, Curt Hennig checked into the Homestead Suites hotel in Tampa, Fla.

He was scheduled to wrestle later that night at an event promoted by Jimmy Hart and had arranged to meet several wrestlers for lunch in the early afternoon before their workout session.

Hennig never showed up at the restaurant. At 1:30 p.m., he was found lying motionless in his hotel room and pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

It was another tragic loss for an industry that has already suffered far too many premature deaths.

Best known for his role as Mr. Perfect in the then-WWF, Hennig was one of the biggest names in wrestling during the late \'80s and early \'90s.

His work-rate was phenomenal, with matches such as his 1991 classic against Bret Hart ranking among the best of the era. He is widely acknowledged as one of the key players in opening the door for smaller, more-athletic wrestlers to enter the main-event picture.

To this day, when a whole generation of wrestling fans spit out their gum, they\'re tempted to reach out and slap it away in mid-air, just like Mr. Perfect used to do. I\'m proud to say I\'m one of those fans and feel lucky to have been watching when Hennig was in his prime.

He will be missed.

Tampa police have ruled out suicide or foul play but are conducting an investigation while they wait for autopsy results, expected to be released in six to eight weeks. Hennig was 44.

D\'LO-DOWN: The talent cuts continue this week, as WWE exercised an opt-out clause in D\'Lo Brown\'s contract.

Brown will be phased out of storylines over the next few weeks and should be a free agent by Wrestlemania.

The sudden decision to release Brown came as a surprise, especially considering the amount of effort the company has put into building his character, even bringing back Teddy Long as his mouthpiece.

Brown has been highly underused throughout his run and will probably jump ship to NWA TNA at the first opportunity.

The past few weeks have seen several big names released from the WWE roster, including Bull Buchanen, Raven and Justin Credible.

HE\'S JOE WRESTLER: Vince McMahon has approached Evan Marriott, the star of Fox\'s hit reality series Joe Millionaire, about working a wrestling angle with the WWE.

Marriott spent several years as an aspiring wrestler in the California independents, before dropping out of the business when McMahon bought out WCW.

He shed 35 lb. of muscle to make the cut for Joe Millionaire but still has a deep respect for the industry and is open to the idea of returning.

McMahon was hoping to cast Marriott as an exaggerated version of his Joe Millionaire persona, aligning him with Ric Flair and working a program with Trish Stratus.

Marriott was opposed to the idea of wrestling women and turned down the offer.

Given the crossover potential of the angle, I wouldn\'t be surprised if McMahon suggests another scenario soon.

COUNTING OUT: As if the Goldust character wasn\'t controversial enough, the WWE is about to take the gimmick one step further. After being electrocuted on Raw last week, Goldie (played by Dustin Runnels) will return with a disorder similar to Tourette\'s Syndrome ... Torrie Wilson has completed her Playboy photo shoot, which will appear in the March issue ... Former NFL running back Kimble Anders made his pro-wrestling debut last Saturday night and was arrested minutes after he won his first match. The former Kansas City Chief was confronted by police backstage at the CSW show regarding an outstanding warrant for contempt of court. Anders was released later that night.