January 21, 1962|
|Died||September 8, 1999
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Mark Curtis
Hymie P. Weiss
|Billed height||5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)|
|Billed weight||145 lb (66 kg)|
|Trained by||Dominic DeNucci
Brian Curtis Hildebrand (January 21, 1962 – September 8, 1999) was an American professional wrestling manager, wrestler and referee who sometimes went by the name of Mark Curtis. Although trained in brawling, technical, and high-flying wrestling techniques, he spent most of his career as a manager and referee.
Hildebrand started out as a manager in 1984 in the independent territories in the northeastern United States. He was a heel manager, and he managed Cactus Jack at one time as an evil Jewish character named Hymie P. Weiss. In 1986, he began training at Dominic DeNucci's wrestling school in Freedom, Pennsylvania.
He went on to Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) in 1992, where he was a referee under the ring name Mark Curtis and also wrestled occasionally as Kowabunga, fully costumed like a Ninja Turtle. Throughout his tenure in SMW as a referee, Hildebrand was known for wearing suspenders with his outfit. He also had brief heel work where he was allied with Jim Cornette, and made appearances in USWA along with Cornette. When SMW closed in 1995, he went on to work as a referee in Extreme Championship Wrestling, under his real name. After leaving ECW he went on to work as referee Mark Curtis in World Championship Wrestling. During his time in WCW, he earned the nickname The Shooter after a fan attempted to interfere in a match between Psychosis and Dean Malenko on the September 8, 1997 edition of Nitro. As the invading fan slid under the bottom rope to enter the ring, Hildebrand, who happened to have glanced over just as the man jumped the guard rail, kneed the fan in the face and placed the man in a guillotine choke, and held him there until WCW security could take him into custody. Play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone and color commentator Bobby Heenan found this amusing, with Heenan observing "The smallest referee in the world just took him down."
Hildebrand's likeness is used for the cartoon referee in WCW/nWo Revenge.
Death and memorials
Hildebrand was diagnosed with stomach and bowel cancer in October 1997. After having surgery in attempt to remove it, he continued refereeing for WCW throughout the following months. During the final stage of his disease in 1999, a Curtis Goes Home benefit was held in his hometown of Rostraver Township, Pennsylvania. Cody Michaels developed and promoted the event, which is viewed by wrestling insiders and experts as one of the truly memorable events in history that actually brought together the major companies at the time, World Wrestling Federation, World Championship Wrestling, and Extreme Championship Wrestling, in support for one of the most genuinely loved workers in the industry. The major stars that worked and provided support that night included Mick Foley, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, Shane Douglas, Bruno Sammartino, Dominic DeNucci, Terry Taylor, D'Lo Brown, Al Snow, Hugh Morrus, Les Thatcher, Billy Kidman, Chris Candido, and many others.
Hildebrand died from the disease on September 8, 1999 at the age of 37. He refereed one last match at a local independent show mere days before his death. Hildebrand's death was briefly acknowledged on the following edition of WCW Thunder, but the first WCW event to have taken place after his death was a house show on September 11 at the Baltimore Arena, which was held in his honor with a ten bell salute. Late in the show, friends Shane Douglas, Chris Benoit, and Dean Malenko (known as Revolution) shared heartfelt words about Hildebrand and dedicated the show to him.
Southern States Wrestling held the Mark Curtis Memorial Weekend of Champions, an annual fundraiser for the Children's Miracle Network, from 2000 to 2003. Hildebrand also inspired the Mark Curtis Fantasy Camp 2001 a training event with Hugh Morrus on hand. A Mark Curtis Memorial Show would also be held on May 7, 2005 at Freedom Hall in Johnson City, Tennessee. The main event pitted Al Snow and D'Lo Brown against Shane Douglas and Mick Foley.
- Finishing moves
- Two handed choke Biel throw – as Kowabunga
- "The Shooter"
- Wrestlers managed
- Mick Foley (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. p. 511. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.81)
- "AS I SEE IT: Brian Hildebrand 1962-1999". Online World of Wrestling.