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WRESTLING COLUMNS

An Angel of a Referee
September 14, 2006 by Mike Gardner


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Seven years ago one of the most loved and honorable names in wrestling was taken from us. I am of course speaking of Brian Hildebrand. (Most of you may remember him as Referee Mark Curtis from the WCW days.) While I never had the pleasure of meeting him, I have read many articles on him written by wrestling columnists, wrestling personalities, and even wrestlers themselves. How many articles have you seen written by a wrestler for someone else" Personally I have seen very few. This in itself should show you how loved Brian was by everyone who knew him. In this (my first article) I hope to give you a little insight on the man I call An Angel of a Referee.

Brian was born on January 21st, 1962 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Born to father Regis who was a police officer and mother Juanita who was a secretary, Brian mostly attended boarding schools including (this idea is new to me) a military academy ran by Catholic Nuns! Despite his small size, Brian held several records in his physical education classes. These records may not have come from his physical strength but his sheer determination and heart, which always shined throughout his career and his life in general.

Brian got involved in wrestling at first doing photography. After doing this for about fifteen years, Brian began writing articles for Big Book of Wrestling. Brian began actually wrestling out of college around 1981 and began managing around 1984-5, managing such names as Cactus Jack. Backing up a bit, in 1979 Brian met Jim Cornette who was also a photographer at the time. This eventually led to Brian wrestling under the name Kowabunga (A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle) and also refereeing for Smokey Mountain Wrestling from 1992-1995. In 1995 Brian began refereeing in WCW under the name Mark Curtis. It was here that Brian was given the nickname "The Shooter" after a fan jumped the guardrail, entered the ring, and Brian grabbed the fan in a front facelock UFC style and held him there until security got to him. Brian was a referee in WCW until he died of cancer on September 8th, 1999.

Brian was known for his love and passion of the wrestling business. Brian will never be forgotten by folks like me, who never had the pleasure of knowing him but can feel the love that everyone who did know him had for him. (Wow now that Wizard of Oz quote "A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others" really makes sense.) I personally would like to think that Brian is now refereeing matches featuring the likes of Curt Henning, Rick Rude, John Tenta, Brian Pillman, Eddie Guerrero, The Public Enemy, and many others. One thing I do know is that Brian was and still is An Angel of a Referee.

by Mike Gardner..


Jose Perez wrote:
The thing is, despite never ever being in the WWE, when he passed away, even the WWE paid their tribute to him.
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