‘That was the biggest mistake’

Curtis Axel’s 13-year stint in the WWE came to an end when he was released in April 2020. The legendary Curt Hennig’s son could sadly not live up to his father’s legacy, but who was at fault?

Arn Anderson provided his insights on Curtis Axel’s WWE career during the latest edition of ARN on AdFreeShows.com with Conrad Thompson. Arn Anderson and Conrad Thompson reviewed the Fastlane 2016 PPV, which had a match between Curtis Axel and R-Truth. Axel was a part of the Social Outcasts stable with Bo Dallas, Heath Slater, and Adam Rose at that time.

Anderson believed that a big mistake was made when WWE didn’t let Curtis Axel use his real second name. Anderson felt that Curtis Axel should have been introduced as Joe Hennig, the son of Mr. Perfect.

Arn saw no harm in Curtis Axel using his father’s success to draw some hype during the initial days of his WWE run. Anderson said that Curtis Axel was a good worker and could have been packaged much differently for the audience. 

“Well, that kid could work. Under any circumstances, he could work. Now, what sounds bigger to you? Joe Hennig or Curtis Axel? Why not let a guy, and that’s the problem with second-generation wrestlers. When you have a dad or a grandad, for that matter and you are third-generation, they have all achieved great things in this business. Why not build on that? Day one, walking out of the gate, this is Joe Hennig, son of Mr. Perfect, and that’s who he is. Day one. You don’t want to tell people he is somebody else with a different name and that whole flimsy excuse that well, he is never going to be as good as his dad, so it’s going to hurt him. Bu******.”

The guy was very talented: Arn Anderson on Curtis Axel

Anderson explained that WWE might not have seen Curtis Axel as a major Superstar, which hurts a talent’s prospects. If the company doesn’t see someone as a big star, it directly affects the fans’ reactions to the said talent. 

Curtis Axel’s alliance with Paul Heyman also didn’t last long, and it gave fans the impression that WWE wasn’t entirely behind Mr. Perfect’s son.

“Let’s say my dad is John Wayne, and I’m in a cowboy movie, and let’s see how I do. We’re going to have a lot more jumpstart, more interest. That was one of the mistakes because the guy had talent, and he just did, but when you start him as someone else, you are always digging a hole. You let Heyman manage him for what had to be a very short time, right? It’s almost like, in the audience’s mind, ‘Well, Heyman gave up on the guy, the guy must not have all the things that it looks like he had. But the guy was very talented, and you have to bring him in; when you have new talent, you have to bring them in and introduce them as stars. If the company doesn’t look at them as stars, the audience is not going to look at them as stars. I think that was the biggest mistake that was made with Joe.”

Curtis Axel is 41 years old, and he has not wrestled a match since leaving the WWE.

If any quotes are used from this article, please credit ‘ARN’ and give a H/T to SK Wrestling, and link it back to this article.

Published 06 Feb 2021, 17:35 IST

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