Paul Heyman surprised WWE fans on the May 20 edition of Monday Night Raw when he introduced Curtis Axel as his newest client. WWE’s resident evil genius made the announcement to a somewhat shocked audience who may have been expecting someone from Heyman’s ECW past to walk down the ramp and join him in the ring. But for me, Axel is the perfect choice.
First off, the name change is very well done. Let’s face it, Michael McGillicutty was just awful. We’re talking Repo Man kind of awful. Leave it up to WWE to take the son of Mr. Perfect and saddle him with such an imperfect and instantly forgettable name.
But Curtis Axel, in homage to his father Curt and his grandfather Larry “The Ax,” now has a name that is immediately recognizable. WWE all but ignored Axel’s family history during his first stint, but with this new take on his character, it has been acknowledged. And now that it has, we can move on and allow him to build on the opportunity.
And what a huge opportunity it is.
Axel went from zero to 60 in virtually no time, and while many fans believed he deserved a chance, no one saw this coming. Now, Axel has a chance to show what he can do. And he will do it under the tutelage of perhaps the best manager WWE has ever seen.
Heyman is crazy good at what he does. With one promo, he can completely change the tone of the night and truly have you hanging on every word he says. He is so naturally talented on the mic and just makes it look so easy.
Heyman is the epitome of what a great pro wrestling manager should be. When he speaks, he gets your interest. He makes you care. More importantly, he makes you believe. He is an expert in getting over and could teach a heel psychology course that every WWE Superstar should be required to take.
Let’s hope his newest pupil is ready to take notes.
Axel now has the benefit of standing shoulder to shoulder with a 26-year veteran of the business. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw from with Heyman, and though the manager role is usually just a work, I have to believe that Paul will speak up to help Curtis in his new role.
But with Heyman, there is a certain amount of pressure for Axel that he will have to deal with if he is to succeed in WWE. After all, Paul is basically a legend in the eyes of many fans, so for him to do business with a newcomer must mean that he sees something in the young man that WWE did not exploit the first time around.
In other words: Don’t screw it up, kid.
Curtis Axel must step up to the plate and take advantage of this opportunity. He has a great mouthpiece in Heyman, a renewed spotlight that is shining like it never has before and a clean slate in terms of what he’s done in his WWE career.
Are there other Superstars in the WWE locker room who are still waiting for their shot? Yes. Are there other veteran stars, in the same vein as CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, who could have been paired with Heyman? Of course there are.
But those are safe choices. There are no chances being taken with an existing Superstar who has already had mainstream WWE exposure. There are also no chances taken by featuring an established star that we have seen countless times before.
But we have the great unknown with Curtis Axel. We have a younger Superstar who has not already had an opportunity like this to shine and could not get over. With Axel, there is the feeling of a new start, a new day, one that could potentially bring not just a good career but perhaps even a great one.
Right now, the sky is the limit with Curtis Axel. And he has not even started yet.
That is the power of Paul Heyman’s influence. He has already made fans believe in Axel and the havoc that they could wreak together in the very near future. Heyman is the right man for this job because he is the only one in WWE who could sell this kid to the masses and not only get him over but truly make him a star.
And Curtis Axel is the right talent to represent Paul Heyman in WWE because he is young, talented and hungry. He wants it right now and has all the tools necessary to get where he wants to be. With hard work and commitment to his craft, the son of Curt Hennig should excel in his new role, proving that he is the best choice that WWE could have made.
In fact, he is the perfect choice.