Axel was introduced as the (somewhat underwhelming) “new Paul Heyman guy” a few weeks ago, but things have changed, fast. Now, the majority of the WWE Universe does not have the attention span to recall his run as Michael McGillicuty, but for those of us who do, it was fairly obvious that he was one of the few pure talents in his NXT class (along with Bray Wyatt, ironically).
Joe Hennig’s debut as a true third-generation powerhouse was fairly well received, due in part to the tutelage of Paul Heyman and his shelving of Triple H. A quick Intercontinental Title win, on Father’s Day, no less, seemed to seal the deal for this budding start and yet, Axel may already be getting lost in the shuffle.
Lets not lie to ourselves, the story of the summer is going to be CM Punk as the scorned lover, against Heyman and (insert the signature Heyman squeal), Brock Lesnar.
As much as the WWE want us to see Axel as Heyman’s replacement for Punk, it has always been Punk who was the replacement for Lesnar (at least, in Heyman’s mind). With the return of his golden boy, it’s understandable that Heyman has let his relationship with Punk wither, if only just a bit. Punk wants revenge for Lesnar’s attack and for a soured friendship.
So where does that leave Axel? Holding the IC Title and keeping Punk busy until Summer Slam. Some will argue that Axel being exposed to the company’s biggest names so quickly means that he’s definitely the future, and maybe he is, but so far he has not been the focal point of any feud.
He put Triple H away, beginning this cockamamie McMahon vs. McMahon/Levesque vs. Levesque storyline. He is now Lesnar’s stand-in, while Brock is offing train using in a dungeon somewhere, a la Rocky III.
Finally, Axel is just the next in a line of mid-carders that will hold the IC Tile until it rots off their waste. That may be a rather terrifying omen for the son of Mr. Perfect, because if a meaningful story doesn’t come his way soon, he may rot off our TV’s and the roster in general.