Brian Curtis Hildebrand (January 21, 1962 - September 8, 1999) was a 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. 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 and also wrestled occasionally as Kowabunga, fully costumed like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. When SMW closed in 1995, 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 live WCW television match. 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, dropped to the mat, placed the man in a front facelock, and held him there until WCW security could take him into custody. Play-by-play announcer Tony Schiavone and then-color commentator Bobby "The Brain" Heenan found this amusing, with Heenan observing "That guy just got taken down by the smallest referee in the business."
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, WCW, 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 Morris, Les Thatcher, Billy Kidman, Chris Candido, and many others.
Hildebrand died from the disease on September 8, 1999. 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.
Hildebrand inspired the Mark Curtis Fantasy Camp 2001 a training event with Bill Demott (a.k.a. Hugh Morris) on hand. A Mark Curtis Memorial Show would also be held on May 7, 2005 at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. The main event pitted Al Snow and D'Lo Brown against Shane Douglas and Mick Foley.
- Heimi Schwarz
- The Shooter
Championships and accomplishments
- Southern States Wrestling
- Women's Championship (1 time, early 1990s)