WWE's Future: Curtis Axel's Inevitable Success
This man wants to make his own legend in WWE. Which is why we have taken his father, Mr. Perfect's given name Curt; and we have paid homage to his grandfather Larry "the Axe" Henning and we have bestowed upon him a new name, a new brand in the WWE Universe as... CURTIS AXEL! - Paul Heyman. Raw 5/20/13
Sometimes all it takes is a new name, new look and somebody like Paul Heyman to take you through the illustrious ride of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Last night on Raw, the link above will show you the clip of the former Michael McGillicutty, turn into a new brand, a new name and a new future in pro wrestling. From this point forward, he will be the newest Paul Heyman guy. Reason being, Punk is out at the moment and Brock Lesnar is gone until SummerSlam. On Leave... if you will.
Hence forth, Heyman needed somebody else to look after and guide to the light of success. Mr. Perfect's son is the perfect choice.
From Champlin, Minnesota, he weights in at 227 pounds and registers at 6 foot 3. If you look at his build, Axel doesn't look like someone that could be world champion down the road, but the bloodline suggests otherwise.
Just the name alone brings up a discussion of this man's past, present and future. He is a third-generation superstar as Heyman boastfully proclaimed. Others include Randy Orton, The Rock and Cody Rhodes.
That is quite the brief history of third-generation guys.
What makes Axel different from the rest is like Orton and Rock, Axel has the support. Dwayne Johnson trained with Axel before his WrestleMania 29 bout with John Cena. HHH is very high on the guy, to justify last night's actions.
If you missed Raw, Axel was introduced by Heyman and HHH made his way out to the ring. He called out Axel and the two had a very brief match as the main event. That was HHH's first match on Raw in three years and it was to a guy who has never wrestled singles matched on Raw on a consistent basis.
This piece is here to show you the brief history of Joe Hennig and provide a prediction as to what the future holds for the future champion.
Let's start out where Joe Hennig got his start: World League Wrestling.
Joe Hennig and the World Wrestling League: 2007-2008
The history of Joe Hennig in the World League Wrestling is very brief to my research.
He made his professional debut on July 13, 2007 in Iowa for the WLW. He teamed up with Ted Dibiase Jr. to defeat Dinn T. Moore and Branden Tatum by disqualification. He later went on a nine-month winning streak before suffering his first singles loss to Wild Wade Chism.
If you want a full rundown of his success in WLW, here is a link that has all of his wins.
Since there isn't a lot of history, let's assume that this is where he got the start in 2007 in the professional wrestling business. Just listening to wrestler's talk about their history, the minors give them a chance to find a character, wrestling style and ability in the ring and on the mic.
Judging by the picture above, he looks like his father Curt and the sadistic smile shows early signs of a prominent heel. Also, looking at last night's performance, his antics and mannerisms during Heyman's promo also showed a lot of promise.
After his stint with WLW was over in 2008, due to his last name and the skill portrayed, FCW and the big stage was up next for Hennig.
Hennig's Stint in Florida Championship Wrestling 2007-2010
Axel's first appearance to the public eye of WWE wasn't the way he would've like to start it. At the 2007 Hall of Fame ceremony, Axel and his family accepted the award on behalf of his father Mr. Perfect. But on October 26th, 2007, he would make his debut onto WWE television.
Axel and and Steve Fender would lose to Jesse and Festus in a tag-team match on Smackdown and it's rumor, but I believe Teddy Long made the match. (Just a joke)
After his match, he signed a developmental deal with WWE and was immediately assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling which is responsible for main event stars like Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. Success began for Hennig immediately.
On September 11th, 2008, Hennig and Sebastian Slater (who is known as Heath Slater of 3MB) captured the FCW tag-team belts from Nic Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler) and Gavin Spears. Even though Slater and Hennig dropped the belts to the Hart Foundation (Tyson Kidd and DH Smith) a month later, gold was not over for Hennig.
A month into the future, Hennig broke away from his tag-team success and made an impact on the singles' scene. Sheamus, then was the FCW Champion, but alas the match turned into a double disqualification.
The rematch for Hennig was scheduled, but he was again disqualified and unable to win the FCW Title. That would be the last time he fought for the FCW Title until February when a new milestone in his career was made.
Axel was scheduled to face Eric Escobar on the February 26th taping of FCW for the FCW Title. Success was found this time around and he was victorious and captured his first singles gold in WWE's camp.
An injury quickly forced Hennig out of action, thus having him surrender the belt. I couldn't find a source for that, but the title was dropped nonetheless. The "injury" kept him out of action until June and he would go through his last phase of FCW for a few years.
He would form a tag team with Brett DiBiase (Ted's younger brother) and they would be known as the "Fortunate Sons". They would defeat the Dudebusters on January 14th, 2010 to win the FCW tag team belts, which would be Hennig's second of his career.
Two months after their win, they lost the belts to Jimmy and Jules Uso (The Uso Brothers), which would cause the Fortunate Sons to break up. Hennig blamed DiBiase for the loss and the two would have a brief feud.
The date in which Hennig changed his name to Michael McGillicutty would be the next big rise for him. He would team up with Kaval and win his third tag-team championship against Los Aviadores (Hunico and Epico).
One day later on July 16th, 2010, Los Aviadores would recapture their belts. It was sweet release for Kaval and McGillicutty, because that would propel to the newest thing in WWE. NXT Season 2 featured both men and McGillicutty would begin the next stage in his wrestling career at age 30.
Michael McGillicuty During NXT and His Part with the Nexus 2010-2011
Before NXT became the new FCW, it was a brand new show to find the newest breakout star in WWE.There were all sorts of challenges, athletic events and even matches against the other rookies or their respective pros.
A poll was taken every week by the WWE Universe to see who would be remaining and the last person on the ballot would be sent home.After seeing Wade Barrett become so dominant with his feud against John Cena, anything was possible from the NXT stars.
McGillicutty would be teamed up with his pro Kofi Kingston and the two would have success on the show. It took seven matches before he would lose to the Miz, pro on NXT, and he was impressing the fans each broadcast.
At one point, McGillicutty became first on the online poll of superstars on NXT, right before Kaval, the eventual winner of the second season.
Upon the conclusion of NXT, McGillicutty turned heel and attacked Kaval. That would eventually set up a date with major WWE programming in the imminent future.
In October of 2010, McGillicutty and member of NXT season 2 Husky Harris (now Bray Wyatt) attacked John Cena at the Hell in a Cell PPV, allowing Wade Barrett to defeat Cena and force him to join the Nexus.
The future was bright for the son of Mr. Perfect and his ride to stardom wouldn't stop there. One week later, they would interfere in the Cena/Miz match, costing John the match and making Barrett grant them an invitation to join the Nexus.
Now a new member of the hottest stable in WWE at that time, McGillicutty was living up to his potential.
After CM Punk took over the Nexus, McGillicutty made the cut after Punk dubbed that each member would have to go through "initiation". The former FCW Heavyweight Champion would get beat down by the other members, allowing him to stay in the New Nexus.
Once Punk was set to face Orton at WM 27, each member of the New Nexus had to face Orton on Raw each week. McGillicutty lost to Orton and then the Viper continued to punt McGillicutty in the head, which was slated to write him off television for an impending return to FCW to be re-packaged.
However, McGillicutty would return the April 11th edition of Raw.
He would interfere in a match Randy Orton was in, costing him a shot at the WWE Championship after Punk's match with Randy at WrestleMania 27. About a month later, teammate David Otunga and he defeated the Big Show and Kane to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship. McGillicutty's first-ever WWE belt.
It would only take a couple of months later to lose the belts to Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne) after one successful defense against the the Usos in July of 2011.
Upon their title loss, McGillicutty was sent back down to FCW for the official repackaging to begin. However, it wasn't overnight that now Curt Axel has made the impact we witnessed two nights ago. Another round of NXT was set to begin.
A Return to NXT Redemption: The Calm Before the Storm 2011-May 19th 2013
Consider this, as the title suggests, the calm before the storm for Joe Hennig. After a successful run with the Nexus and New Nexus, which involved a WWE Tag Team Championship run, there wasn't much to be excited about.
What everybody believed to be watching was a future Hall of Famer, main event star and the reincarnation of his father and grandfather, turned out to be a classification of no direction, gimmick or care from the WWE brass.
There was no denying the talent on McGillicutty. His promo skills needed work, but they were usable. His wrestling ability allowed him to stay atop the WWE programming list for many months, even though if it was with a big stable.
A bad wrestler wouldn't be highlighted like that. No matter what the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) says, NO and I mean NOT a single wrestler on the WWE roster is bad. Some shine over others and that is where the totem poll begins and ends.
It also helps to have the right guys backing you up, but we'll get to that in the next slide.
In late February of 2012, McGillicutty stayed with the heel persona, attacking Tyson Kidd and beginning a feud with him on NXT Redemption. The feud would continue until mid-April as the two went back and forth on the score-sheet, until Kidd won a "triumphant" battle with McGillicutty on the April 11 edition of NXT Redemption.
As soon as that season ended, the transition from FCW to NXT was in full swing. McGillicutty participated on the sixth season of NXT, which would be the first year of it being a developmental territory.
Early on in late June, McGillicutty found himself a tag partner in Johnny Curtis, thus having Byron Saxton, commentator, dub thee as "Aggressively Weird". But, the team would not find success rapidly as they lost quickly to Tyson Kidd/Justin Gabriel and the Usos in two weeks.
From then on, it was singles competition for McGillicutty. He would enter the Gold Rush tournament to crown the first ever NXT Heavyweight Champion. In the quarterfinals, he would defeat Justin Gabriel to advance.
At this point, it was smart booking by WWE. He was a proven guy to be the coming future of the business, putting atop the NXT charts was not a bad idea. On the September 12th, 2012 edition of NXT, he would defeat long-time rival Tyson Kidd to reach the finals of the Gold Rush tournament.
A match with Seth Rollins, current Shield member, would mark the end of McGillicutty's push as he lost to the eventual WWE Tag Team champion and first-ever NXT Champion one month later.
In McGillicutty's last stroke of brilliance and booking, he and Curtis would face Team Hell No on NXT for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but as the story is told, Aggressively Weird would fail.
In February of 2013 after the loss to Team Hell No, nothing was heard of McGillicutty. Like I mentioned earlier in the piece, he would be training with the Rock before his bout with Cena at WM29, which was a good sign for the McGillicutty fans out there.
Another piece of good news circulating, was the backup of Triple H. Usually when two men of that status have your back, the future looks bright. In fact, so bright that over two months later on an edition of Raw, his world would be flipped upside down.
Cue the music and the beginning of..Curtis Axel.
The Debut of Curis Axel May 20, 2013
The Debut of Curtis Axel
If it doesn't sound familiar to you, here is a version of Mr. Perfect's theme music and then you can see the similarities between the two.
Last night on Raw, I can be very honest with all of you and say that I didn't see it coming. I don't think anybody outside of the WWE saw that one coming. If you were like me, I was thinking it would be the return of RVD, Christian, MVP, Matt Hardy (off the wall) or a newcomer such as Bray Wyatt or Kassius Ohno.
Anyone of those men would have been key men in the evolution of Paul Heyman's WWE. We have seen the past and it has been very good for the guys that align themselves with the mastermind of ECW.
Just glance at some of Brock Lesnar's accolades. He has been a world champion, the beast incarnate as they say and most of all, one of the most intimidating forces in WWE history. Another man of Heyman's is CM Punk.
Punk's rise to stardom wasn't as quick as Lesnar's, but when it was time to hit full stride, Punk became a household name and one of the most popular and iconic superstars in World Wrestling Entertainment's long history.
Let's not forget the title reign Punk just accumulated alongside Heyman for those many entertaining months.
The Heyman theory is two for two. That's quite a record in baseball, but in professional wrestling, literally anything is possible. Back in the early 90's when HHH was making his way through WWE, he was a Nancy boy from England that joined the Connecticut Bluebloods.
By the way, that gimmick that began in 1995, was started in WCW.
Now, he is the Game, the Cerebral Assassin and future hall of fame wrestler. Johnny Curtis then, Fandango now. Brodus Clay then, a disco-dancing lovable giant now. But the one true mystery and shocking revelation in my opinion, had to be Cena's rapping gimmick to the fruity pebble he is today.
Curtis Axel is now on top. He defeated (by default) a legend in this business in his first match under his new name. He is entering a feud with HHH. Just like Fandango with Chris Jericho, anything is possible in the WWE.
What Is Joe Hennig's Future: May 21, 2013- ?
Will Curtis Axel be as successful and legendary as his father and grandfather? Only time will tell as his debut was only two days ago, but the wrestling world is buzzing 48 hours later.
There is a lot of hype for Axel, but gigantic shoes to follow. The theme music, antics, wrestling ability, athleticism and charisma of Mr. Perfect will always provide a bar that maybe Axel will never reach. At age 33, there isn't much time for WWE to push the young man to the moon.
I would love to hear your opinion on this debate. As you read through the history of Curtis Axel, make a judgement as to the level of success.
I can tell you now, before Monday evening, I didn't see a future in this kid. WWE forums got me aware of the backing he was receiving, but it was not on WWE programming to witness. It finally is now and it is the current hot topic in wrestling.
Along with your comment, tell me the biggest push/change in a character. I already listed Fandango, Brodus Clay and Cena, but there are many more out there.
Thank you for reading and I'll see you all soon :)