Monday's WWE Raw featured a major surprise when Paul Heyman introduced a repackaged Michael McGillicutty as his newest client.
Fans, writers and WWE Superstars reacted to the unexpected move on Twitter with surprise, excitement and, for those hoping it would be Rob Van Dam, disappointment. Heyman introduced the son of Curt Hennig and grandson of Larry "The Ax" Hennig as Curtis Axel:
Axel joins Brock Lesnar and CM Punk as the third member of Heyman's growing stable. Kudos to those with clairvoyance enough to see that coming.
WWE recently hinted at a possible new client with a speculative article on WWE.com. The piece said that, "WWE Superstars and Divas are still abuzz over the possibility of Heyman's ranks increasing by one."
That buzz became a reality when Axel walked to the ring to a fantastic remix of his father's old entrance music. The discussion then crackled on Twitter.
Cageside Seats tweeted that going with Axel was the right move:
Cageside Seats @cagesideseats
I mean, totally the right call to make it a young guy like this. Love that theme song too.2013-5-21 00:57:28
Choosing Axel is certainly bold. It puts a man who has rarely been seen in a position to succeed. Having Heyman in his corner gives Axel momentum aplenty.
Fighting Spirit Magazine made a great point about how selecting Axel is a move that builds for the future even if it doesn't get an immediate response:
Fighting Spirit Mag @FSM_Editor
@WWEMcGillicutty isn't going to get a great response tonight. But he can work in this role with a proper push. @WWE #Raw2013-5-21 00:57:10
The mostly silent fans in attendance may have either been shocked about Heyman's choice, or they could have simply forgotten who Axel/McGillicutty was. Regardless, WWE can't live off part-timers. The company has to roll with newer guys and see what sticks.
Whether Axel fails or flourishes, it's worth giving him a shot.
He has the right music now, and his name is certainly an improvement. Kaitlyn weighed in on the name change:
Whoa how can you be mad at a guy with the name of "Curt Axel"? It's almost as good as #MaxPower #RAW2013-5-21 00:57:49
As Podswoggle.com pointed out, typing Curtis Axel is infinitely easier than typing Michael McGillicutty:
We are 100 times happier with Curtis Axel because I don't have to go to Google to spell his name anymore. #Raw2013-5-21 01:09:19
Not every fan was happy with the choice. Lance Storm tweeted something to mull over for those wishing Heyman's new client was someone else:
Lance Storm @LanceStorm
Anyone who thinks Curt Axel as new @HeymanHustle guy is a miss, doesn't understand building to the future. #RAW2013-5-21 01:06:30
Too often, WWE fans spend too much time critiquing the product rather than enjoying it. No one knows how pairing Axel with Heyman will work out. It's more fun to sit back and see how things turn out than second-guessing the move.
Axel later faced Triple H in the night's main event.
He weathered Triple H's initial attack and then began to stomp on and wear down his foe. The match ended when Triple H seemed to still be suffering the effects of his Extreme Rules match with Brock Lesnar.
Sure, the story became more focused on The Game than Axel, but being in the WWE Raw main event seemed impossible for him before the show started.
If he rides this night into something big, fans can look back at this WWE Raw as the moment it all began. Heyman's newest client at the very least has folks talking.