Skip to main content

The Rock, Goldberg lead the tributes to Minnesota's Larry Hennig

The wrestling legend died at the age of 82.

News of Larry Hennig's death has prompted a flood of tributes from the pro-wrestling world.

The Robbinsdale native and University of Minnesota alum turned world-renowned pro-wrestler died this week at the age of 82. According to the WWE, he had a "long illness and kidney failure."

Known at various stages of his career as "Pretty Boy" and "The Axe," Hennig was trained by another Minnesota pro-wrestling legend, Verne Gagne, and went on to success in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF – which later became WWE).

He had five children, among them the late Curt Hennig, who was known as "Mr. Perfect" in WWE and WCW, and 28 grandchildren including current WWE star Curtis Axel (Curt's son).

Axel paid tribute to his grandfather after his death was announced, saying: "No one has had a bigger impact on my wrestling career than my Papa Axe. He has been my biggest supporter since day one! Another father when I lost mine.

"We lost our King of the Jungle today ... never thought I'd see this day. But he's with my dad now so everything will be ok."

Axel's statement prompted an outpouring of tribute tweets from the great and the good in the pro-wrestling community, among them international superstars "The Rock" Dwayne Johnson, Bill Goldberg, and "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 8.43.09 AM
Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 8.43.03 AM

The WWE published a tribute article listing Hennig's achievements in American pro-wrestling, noting he was a 5-time tag team champion in the AWA, notably alongside Harley Race.

He was also among the challengers to WWWF champion Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden during Sammartino's 8-year reign as champion.

Other notable wrestlers (and David Arquette) expressed their condolences to Axel on Twitter.

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 8.43.52 AM
Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 8.43.46 AM

Next Up

Nicholas Kraus

Man sentenced for fatally striking woman during Uptown protest

Nicholas Kraus, 36, of St. Paul drove into a protest in Uptown last year, killing Deona Marie Knajdek.

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Fleeing suspect crashes into vehicle in Woodbury, 2 injured

The crash occurred Friday afternoon after a pursuit with Woodbury police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 2.34.44 PM

Yes, that's MN native Jenny Taft in a State Farm commercial

Jenny Taft got her broadcasting career started in Minneapolis in 2011.

crime scene tape - police tape

23-year-old woman critical after shooting in Plymouth

A 23-year-old woman was shot Friday night in Plymouth.

white Christmas

2 MN towns among most 'magical' winter locations in the country

The list was compiled by Trips Discover and published earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 8.27.12 AM

St. Olaf football player charged after fatal crash in Chicago

The 18-year-old is accused of speeding and going the wrong way when he crashed into a vehicle that may have been attempting to flee police.

Screen Shot 2022-11-26 at 7.41.18 AM

Woman 34 weeks pregnant injured by drunk driver in Cottage Grove

The 49-year-old suspected of DUI was booked into jail around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

ambulance

2 dead, 5 injured in Thanksgiving Day crash near Alexandria

The crash involved two people from Alexandria and five from Bloomington.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Lengthy standoff in Prior Lake ends late Friday night

The suspect allegedly assaulted an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Related

Animal_-_Raw_1000

Wrestling legend Joseph Laurinaitis, aka Road Warrior Animal, dies at 60

He was half of the famous tag teams known as the Road Warriors and the Legion of Doom.

Screen Shot 2021-09-27 at 11.19.01 AM

AEW to debut in Minnesota with Rampage, Full Gear PPV

The upstart wrestling promotion has soared in popularity.

Screen Shot 2021-07-22 at 10.27.35 AM

WWE SummerSlam will be shown live at movie theaters, including 6 in MN

It's the first time the WWE's second biggest pay-per-view has been shown in theaters.

Thief breaks into WWE wrestlers' rental car in Minneapolis

It was a cold ride to the airport for Lince Dorado and Cedric Alexander.