While the basic goal of a manager never changes—to give the wrestler a push—how he goes about it will depend on several factors, especially alignment. A heel manager, for example, may have his wrestler constantly duck tougher opponents while cheating to help him win when he does actually wrestle.
On Monday night, we saw again how brilliant Paul Heyman is and how his connection to Curt Axel (Joe Hennig) not only gives Axel the push he needs to be a true star in the WWE, but also reminds us just how great his father, Curt Hennig, and his grandfather, Larry “The Axe" Hennig, truly were in this business.
It also speaks to the genius of Paul Heyman, a man who, whether on camera or behind the scenes, seems to touch gold wherever he lands.
Axel’s “alliance” with Heyman proves the WWE is relying on newer talent to push through this rougher time within the company. While wrestlers like Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Triple H and Mark Henry are on the downside of their careers, wrestlers like Cody Rhodes, Hennig and members of The Shield are the future of this business, and they are being counted on to step up.
Rhodes role is still to be determined.
The last time we saw Axel (or Mike McGillicutty) was on Raw two years ago as a WWE Tag Team champion with David Otunga (yes, remember that?). We also remember him asking Jerry Lawler if he knew who he was and who his daddy was.
Sorry, Hennig, you are still no Curt Hennig. Maybe in time, but right now, you are not even close. Maybe your connection with Heyman can get you there.
And all of this is in addition to the mastery of Heyman. He is a newer version of Bobby Heenan with the crafty side of Playboy Gary Hart and the smarmy side of Jimmy Hart, all catapulted in one body.
And for a manager who has been associated with the likes of Mark Callous, Adrian Adonis, Eddie Gilbert, Sabu, RVD, Brock Lesnar, Big Show and CM Punk among others, there is no reason to believe Curt Axel will not be a success.
Actually, he has to be.
If Axel is anything less than a success, then the WWE failed miserably.
But the move is so incredibly right at the moment, we cannot help but think it is another win for the WWE's greatest mind.