The Cauliflower Alley Club is pleased to announce that Larry “The Axe” Hennig will be honored at the upcoming CAC Reunion with the 2015 Iron Mike Mazurki Award!
The Iron Mike Mazurki Award is a very prestigious honor and one of the capstone awards of the CAC Reunion each year. Started in 1995, this award pays tribute to individuals who are immediately recognizable both to those in wrestling and to many people outside the business. This individual must have achieved success in more than one field, all while displaying high moral character at all times. Previous winners of the Iron Mike Mazurki Award include Terry Taylor, Steve Austin, Nick Bockwinkel, Bret Hart, Terry Funk, Jesse Ventura, Dick Beyer, and Stu Hart, among others.
Larry Hennig is certainly a worthy addition to this list! Larry is well remembered for his work in the American Wrestling Association, National Wrestling Alliance and World Wide Wrestling Federation promotions. Even after retiring as a full-time competitor, Larry stayed involved in wrestler as a promoter, which continues to this day. Larry has been very successful in the business world as well. He and his wife own the profitable “Larry Hennig Real Estate Company” in St. Cloud, MN, and he is also a very popular auctioneer!
Here is a brief biography of the great Larry “The Axe” Hennig:
Larry Hennig spent many years as a star working for the AWA, NWA, and WWWF. However, before getting into professional wrestling, Hennig had a stellar amateur background, and even won the Minnesota State High School Heavyweight Championship in 1954.
In 1963, Hennig entered the AWA under the tutelage of Verne Gagne where he eventually found success and shared a tag team championship reign with Duke Hoffman. During the summer of 1963, Hennig left the AWA for a stint in the Texas territories. It was here in Texas that he adopted his trademark brutal style of wrestling and won the Texas Heavyweight Title. He also became fast friends with Harley Race. Moving on to Minneapolis, “Handsome” Harley Race and “Pretty Boy” Larry Hennig became tag team partners where they broke a lot of rules but won a lot of matches!
On January 30, 1965, they defeated the legendary tandem of Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher to capture the AWA world tag team championship, becoming, at the time, the youngest tag team champions ever. Race and Hennig continued to feud with the Bruiser and Crusher and other top teams for the next several years, amassing three title reigns. Verne Gagne, in particular, was a hated rival of the team, and they had many great matches together. Race and Hennig would then embark on a tour through New Zealand, Japan, and Australia where they became the first tag team champions of the International Wrestling Alliance.
A serious knee injury would contribute to Hennig’s semi-retirement from wrestling. On November 1, 1967, during a tag team match in Winnipeg, Hennig was in the middle of lifting Johnny Powers as another opponent rammed into him from the front. As he dropped Powers to the mat, Hennig found that his knee had bent inward. Despite severe damage to the cartilage and tendons, he refused to go to the local hospital and instead had Race drive him 500 miles (gasp!) home to Minneapolis.
In March 1968, Larry Hennig would return to once again wrestle alongside Race. After several years at the top of the tag team division, however, Race would leave in December 1968 to pursue a singles career in the NWA. Hennig was immediately partnered with Lars Anderson for the next three years. On August 14, 1970, in Comiskey Park, Larry Hennig defeated CAC’s beloved Red Bastein. In the mid-1970s, while competing in Florida, Hennig once again teamed for some matches with Harley Race.
Larry Hennig made a face turn on August 10, 1974 at a TV taping in Minneapolis. Now sporting a full red beard and calling himself “the Axe”, he saved the High Flyers, Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne, from an attack by former allies Nick Bockwinkel, Ray Stevens, and manager Bobby Heenan. This moment is featured on WWE’s Spectacular Legacy of the AWA DVD released in 2006. During this time, Larry Hennig also appeared in the independent film, “The Wrestler”, where he faced his nemesis Verne Gagne at the Cow Palace. In 1976, Hennig formed a semi-successful team with Joe LeDuc and continued to wrestle at the top of the card everywhere he went!
When Harley Race returned to the AWA in 1984, he wrestled Hennig’s son, Curt (WWE’s future Mr. Perfect) – a match that was fueled by Larry Hennig’s confronting his former tag team partner at the end of the match. The following year, Curt’s first major push would be alongside his father in a feud with the Road Warriors.
Many of today’s fans may know him more as “Curt’s father”, but Larry Hennig is a true legend in this business. Known as much for his muscular neck (which, to this day, measures 22 inches) as his toughness and physicality, Hennig carved out a legacy he can be very proud of.
His career has been recognized on several occasions before. In 1997 Hennig received a special CAC Recognition Award! Then, on July 15, 2006 Larry Hennig was inducted into the International Wrestling Museum Hall of Fame in Newton, Iowa. Now, in April 2015, Larry “The Axe” Hennig will be honored with the 2015 CAC Iron Mike Mazurki Award!
CAC Executive Vice President – elect, Morgan Dollar:
“Larry “The Axe” Hennig is a household name in professional wrestling. From being a high school champion to holding many championships at the professional level, “The Axe” has done it all. As Larry once said, “If you’ve ever seen a Hennig wrestling you never forgot it!” That statement to this day still holds true. The CAC is truly honored to present Larry with the 2015 Iron Mike Mazurki Award.”
CAC General Board of Directors Chairman, Jason Deadrich:
“A favorite memory of mine was when Larry “The Ax” Hennig returned to the AWA ring to partner with his son, Curt in a wonderful feud with the Road Warriors. When Larry made the big save, the building would erupt and you knew you were watching something special. I’m very thankful to honor Larry in return for the excitement and entertainment he provided me and so many others.”
Congratulations again to Larry “The Axe” Hennig, the 2015 Iron Mike Mazurki Award recipient! It is truly an honor to have Mr. Hennig attend the CAC’s 50th Reunion celebration in April.
Read more about Larry Hennig’s great career here:
Watch some of Larry Hennig’s career highlights, including a great video from the 2002 CAC Reunion: