5 Example Clients That Show Paul Heyman May Not Make Curtis Axel a Star
As great as he has been for so many wrestlers' careers, Paul Heyman is not always King Midas and Curtis Axel is not guaranteed stardom by having him in his corner.
Heyman's list of clients includes impressive names like Steve Austin (before he was Stone Cold), Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker (before he was The Undertaker) and the Original Midnight Express, among others. Having Axel join the growing WWE list of Paul Heyman guys is a great idea, but it's not one that will equal automatic success.
Heyman has also managed wrestlers who haven’t gone on to do great things, who haven't collected championships or become household names.
For every Lesnar, there is a Heidenreich.
Axel is surely hoping to become much more like the former than the latter. Heyman's hands are capable of creating gold, but as you'll see by the careers of the men on this list, the alchemical powers of those hands don't always work.
That lack of success for some of these examples can be at least partially attributed to Heyman's relationship with them not lasting long enough. WWE would be wise, then, to be patient with Axel and let this pairing develop.
Paul Heyman and Heidenreich fall to The Undertaker.
Heidenreich doesn't even have his own profile on WWE.com. He is only mentioned for his brief run as a member of the Legion of Doom/Road Warriors. That speaks volumes about his lack of impact with the company.
In his three-year run, Heidenreich won The Tag team titles once alongside Road Warrior Animal, had a few run-ins with The Undertaker and that's about it. His career highlight reel beyond that is pretty sparse.
In his feud with Undertaker, it was Paul Heyman who was the most intriguing heel. Heyman's weasel ways were entertaining while Heidenreich wasn't highly memorable in any way.
Dark Patriot in an ECW tag match.
As Paul E. Dangerously, Paul Heyman stood by Dark Patriot's side when the character transferred from the Global Wrestling Federation to the ECW with little success.
The Dark Patriot (real name: Doug Gilbert) did win the ECW Tag Team titles with his brother Eddie, but when fans think back to the all the stars of ECW, Dark Patriot's name doesn't often come up. Gilbert was outshined by his brother, among other wrestlers. His career as a whole was overshadowed by Eddie's success.
Eddie Gilbert won more titles than Doug and achieved more acclaim. When Pro Wrestling Illustrated put out its list of Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years in 2003, Eddie was ranked No. 83 and Doug was all the way down at No. 365.
Heyman's managerial efforts simply didn't elevate Dark Patriot the way they did for so many other guys. Axel has to hope he'll outdo what Dark Patriot did under Heyman's wing.
Team Lesnar takes on Team Angle at Survivor Series 2003.
At Survivor Series 2003, Paul Heyman provided management services for Brock Lesnar's five-man team. Two members of that squad—Big Show and Lesnar—are two of WWE's biggest successes. The other members aren't nearly as impressive.
Nathan Jones, Matt Morgan and A-Train (or Sweet T as he is known now), didn't ride their relationship with Heyman to world titles and pay-per-view main events.
Heyman ordered Jones to attack Shannon Moore on WWE SmackDown. The Team Lesnar vs. Team Angle story saw Morgan and Heyman interact briefly outside of Survivor Series, but Morgan was sent down to WWE developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling in 2004.
Morgan has made a name for himself with his work for TNA, but his resume isn't as lengthy and robust as Heyman's biggest success stories.
A-Train has gone on to be a solid midcarder, even if it is with a silly gimmick. Jones has largely been considered a bust.
Had Heyman been their manager longer, maybe his magic would have worn off on them. They had some contact with Heyman beyond Team Angle vs. Team Lesnar, but not to the extent that Lesnar did. Curtis Axel’s relationship with Heyman is likely to be far more extensive than any of those men, something that may help him surpass their level of success.
911 saves Paul Heyman.
ECW's 911 was hugely over, but more as a novelty act than a true star.
Whenever something was happening in the ring that the fans didn't like, 911's music hit and he came down to the ring to deliver a chokeslam. The crowd ate up the routine.
Beyond that, though, 911 wasn't a guy who could have great matches or carry a major championship. He was a prime example of Paul Heyman's deftness in maximizing talent.
He turned 911 into a popular attraction as part of his Dangerous Alliance, but Curtis Axel is likely looking for more than being a one-trick pony from having Heyman as his manager. For 911, the popularity he achieved might be considered success, but Axel is too good of a worker to settle for that.
Hardcore Holly fights Rob Van Dam for Paul Heyman.
Despite the number of title reigns he had, Hardcore Holly was not a top-level star. He was a talented worker who survived the ridiculous Thurman "Sparky" Plugg gimmick in 1994 and went on to carve out a solid career.
Holly served as the go-between in the Rob Van Dam and Paul Heyman rivalry in the reformed version of ECW. Associating with Heyman didn't catapult Holly further than he already was. Most of his championships and accolades came before Heyman.
Holly is the man on this list that Curtis Axel's career will likely most mirror. Like Holly, he's a well-rounded wrestler who can put on good matches. Both men, though, lack that magnetic quality that elevates good workers into stars. Heyman will try to alleviate that armed with a microphone.