Curtis Axel. Get used to the name. Because if you’re a WWE fan and have not heard it by now, you will surely hear it from this point on. And if you’re a WWE fan who is online quite a bit, then you will also surely read about it.
A lot. You know, like you’re doing right now.
The wrestling world is still buzzing about the May 20 edition of Monday Night Raw, when a young man with the aforementioned name of Curtis Axel made his WWE debut on live TV. Why? Did he slide in, attacking Kane and Daniel Bryan, ultimately being revealed as the fourth member of The Shield?
Did he sit cross legged in the ring and cut a promo about how he has not been given a fair shake since he began with the company?
No, no pipe bomb dropped.
Did he viciously attack John Cena in the ring, then hoist him up and plow him straight through the Raw set, as sparks flew around them?
No, no miracles or walking on water, that happened on Sunday night after Extreme Rules.
Curtis Axel was introduced as Paul Heyman’s newest client. That’s it. So what’s with all the buzz, you ask? Does anyone really care?
You better believe it.
This was a huge moment for Axel, the son of the late great Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig. He had not been seen on mainstream WWE programming since 2011, when he and partner David Otunga lost the tag team titles. Since then, he has been down in Florida, getting back to basics with NXT.
And now that he’s back, he’s back with a vengeance. After all, who saw this coming?
Last week, when WWE.com posted a story about Paul Heyman looking to recruit a new Superstar, the net was flooded with every name from Ryback to Rob Van Dam to Batista. A plethora of talents, past and present, all supposedly vying for the opportunity to be represented by WWE’s resident evil genius.
And not one time was the name Curtis Axel mentioned. Go figure, right?
But now that the name change has happened-and thank God it did-we as fans are now dealt the possibility of infinite possibilities with the man formerly known as Michael McGillicutty. Basically, the sky is the limit for him and if you’re Axel, you have to be the happiest guy in the company.
Try on the planet.
Let’s face it; Axel has been given the chance of a lifetime. Going from relative obscurity on a program that is not even aired in the States to being managed by Paul Heyman live on TV? That is the pro wrestling equivalent of living in a cardboard box, then hitting the Powerball.
From the outhouse to the penthouse. But this prime spot is merely an open door. Now it’s up to Curtis Axel to walk through it.
He has to make an impression. He has to work harder in the ring now than he ever has before, to prove that he deserves to be on the main roster and that he belongs on the same program with John Cena, Triple H, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. This opportunity is only as good as the man that has received it.
Axel must impress. He must do everything he can to get better and carve out his own place in the minds of WWE fans. And as far as getting over?
Leave that to Heyman. That’s his job and he’s very good at it.
And the good news for Axel is that fans are ready for him. They can’t wait to see what will happen next. After all, his presence on WWE programming is new, it’s different. New and different are good. Because nothing compares to old and boring. We hate old and boring.
For Axel, this may very well be the case of right place, right time and definitely the right manager. This could be falling into place just the way it needs to.
So get used to it.
Follow Tom on Twitter @tomclarkbr
Tom Clark is a WWE Featured Columnist & Consultant for Bleacher Report and a Contributor for JBL’s Layfield Report
[amazon_link id=”B00BNADZT4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: Extreme Rules 2013 DVD[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”B00BCMT2CC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: WrestleMania 29 DVD[/amazon_link]