Axel’s Debut Greases a Squeaky Wheel

Curtis Axel- the new Paul Heyman guy?


The kid happens to be a third generation performer, with a good look and a competent skill set, but the new Heyman guy?

He could be, but not the way the WWE develops talent today. In this all or nothing style WWE creative tends to have with a performer today, it’s hard to let a superstar find a “sweet spot.” Performers the likes of Mark Henry and CM Punk took years to develop their characters and went through stages of ineffectiveness, hardship and regret, to only develop into the stars they are today. Have the new breed of WWE stars, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, even Sheamus gone through any similar trials and tribulations?

In the WWE, it’s either you’re hot or you’re not. The middle ground is Kofi Kingston, who gets put in matches every week and even in a loss, he gets to go through his signature offense. Antonio Cesaro is in a similar spot. He went from being a champion to essentially a jobber, despite the fact that he’s one of the best workers in the company. Ted DiBiase just disappeared. Tensai went from a wrecking machine to a dancing queen. What ever happened to a guy working up the ladder and establishing a reputation before a real title shot?

This is the real problem. Not Axel. Not Ziggler, not even a guy like Brodus Clay. The WWE has forgotten how to successfully develop talent. The fact that Ryback is even in the title picture presents a huge problem. The fact that his angle with Mark Henry never picked up steam only proves it. Even though they fed him a heart helping of scrubs for months, Ryback never beat a real worker; he never had to struggle. Everything was given to him.

With a three-hour show, the WWE has a serious opportunity to develop and fine-tune the undercard, instead of shooting these guys through to the main event. Because in the end, the result is someone like Ryback, whom the company wants fans to take seriously, but they ultimately don’t. Like a character in a soap opera, fans need to find reasons to become emotionally invested, over time.

Regardless of the how they win, stars need to connect with fans, through intriguing promo and angles, as well as convincing performances in the ring. Ryback hasn’t done that yet. But he isn’t Axel. He hasn’t been touted as Paul Heyman’s new guy. While Axel has ability, a match with Triple H in his “debut” sets the bar unusually high. There’s no margin for error. The fact that Triple H slapped him around and their match didn’t end, why should anyone take him seriously?

Wouldn’t it be better for Axel to feed on the same guys fighting for a spot before he fights Triple H? And why Triple H? He wouldn’t put Sheamus over, why Axel? In the end, it’s just another attempt to make someone capable of filling time and not someone who could steal our imagination. Sad too, considering that Axel, with the right creative decisions, could be just as solid a performer as his forefathers.

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 9735 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

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