Since CM Punk lost the WWE Championship to The Rock in January, the WWE Universe has not seen a gold belt on a 'Paul Heyman Guy."
That fact could soon change though, as the newly minted Curtis Axel competes in a Triple Threat match at Payback for the Intercontinental Championship.
Axel, a third generation talent, has been the talk of the company in recent weeks, both for his ability to always seem to come out on top of his encounters with his opponents, and his ability to do so under questionable circumstances.
With wins over Triple H, Sin Cara, and WWE champion John Cena, Axel is beginning to amass a winning record that most competitors would kill for.
And frankly, this is a great spot for Axel right now. For weeks now he has been involved in matches with murky finishes, ones that leave fans wondering if he's actually a threat to their heroes, or if he's simply lucky.
By having him compete for a lesser title within the company, it allows Axel to build momentum, as well as compete against top level competition without placing the pressure of main event status on him right out of the gate.
In placing him into the match with the Miz and Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett, where he will replace the injured Fandango, the company has set Axel up on the brink of greatness.
And he has the tools to do it. While not a bodybuilder type or a bonafide seven-footer, Axel possesses several intangibles that many others do not.
First, he has history on his side. His father "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig held the Intercontinental title on two occasions. So his family name and the title may be synonymous.
Second, he is a grade-A worker, and trained with some of the real greats in preparation for some of their most important matches in recent memory.
Axel trained with The Rock to prepare for his WWE title match against Punk at the 2013 Royal Rumble.
He continued by training with another of Heyman's clients, Brock Lesnar to prepare for Lesnar's match against Triple H at Wrestlemania XXIX.
Finally, he has Heyman himself in his corner.
One of the greatest managers in history, Heyman legitimizes any superstar he aligns himself with. Whether it is physically getting involved in his clients matches, or just getting in the heads of their opponents, Heyman may be the biggest and most advantageous intangible of all.
At 33 years old, Axel is not exactly at the end of his career. But at the same time, if the company hopes to have him make any long lasting impression, they'd better get him moving in the right direction pretty soon.
The Intercontinental title is exactly the bauble that can allow him to do just that.
Already with one reign as half of the WWE tag team champions (with David Otunga), Axel has a chance to capture the title that his father held twice.
Regarded as one of the greatest Intercontinental champions of all time, and a WWE Hall of Famer, Hennig was the perfect balance of swagger, skill and intensity.
He was cocky on the mic, but always left the audience believing that he would back up whatever claims he talked about. His in-ring work normally left a statement, which more often than not began with 'Ladies and gentleman, here is your winner, Mr. Perfect."
And let's be honest, Axel's mic work is not incendiary. But that's why he has Heyman.
One of the best talkers in wrestling today, Heyman is the missing piece in today's wrestling scene that was dominated by managers with stables of clients in earlier decades.
With Punk, Lesnar and Axel in the fold, Heyman is beginning to build a faction that could rival some of the best of all time. Axel is the unproven link at the moment.
But a big title victory at Payback on June 16th could very well change that in convincing fashion.
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