Michael McGillicutty has been repackaged as a Paul Heyman guy using the handle Curtis Axel. Given a name that pays homage to Axel's father, Curt Hennig, WWE Superstars were in full-on honeymoon mode in positively reacting to the return of the former Nexus flameout.
Proud & excited for the debut of #CurtisAxel! He’s been waitin for this his whole life. Somewhere Mr Perfect is smiling his mischievous grin— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) May 21, 2013
genuinely proud of @wwemcgillicutty go get em, kid!(curt axel)— Dolph Ziggler (@HEELZiggler) May 21, 2013
WWE may have also manipulated the Internet crowd that has long since lobbied for Michael McGillicutty to have a gimmick that gives a nod to his legendary father.
Curt Hennig became a giant in the pro wrestling industry through a smooth work rate that complemented a charismatic, cool and cocky persona. The problem, however, is that Curtis Axel is not his father.
Not even close.
WWE tinkered with Michael McGillicutty during his run with The Nexus. He was buried in a tag team alongside David Otunga in a quiet championship run that only history remembers. His offense wasn't memorable and he barely spoke, probably due in part to this gem on NXT.
McGillicutty was basically a hand. Nothing spectacular, nothing terrible. He was just there.
Fast-forward to Raw this past Monday and that's still the case. The highlight of his match with Triple H came once the doctors started shining flashlights in Triple H's face.
Sure, Axel stands to benefit from a Paul Heyman alliance, but he was clearly positioned as an accessory in the Heyman-Triple H feud. Besides, nothing Paul Heyman says or does is going to make Axel's dropkicks any more exciting.
Heyman will have to work overtime to get heat on Axel and keep it there. It'll be the manager equivalent to a wrestler working to make Vladimir Kozlov passable in the ring.
And when they part ways, then what? Once the honeymoon stage is over, the world will be left with Michael McGillicutty with a longer beard and an alias. Making a quantum leap in charisma is a tall task, if not an impossible one.
Needless to say, WWE's latest plan for the future is far from perfect.