Curtis Axel is the new WWE Intercontinental champion. He won the title on Sunday night, June 16, at the Payback pay-per-view in a Triple Threat match against Wade Barrett and The Miz.
Though Axel is still somewhat an unproven talent in the company, I believe that putting the gold on him was definitely the right move.
As we all know, Axel is the latest client of Paul Heyman, a man who has been aligned with champions a few times over the years in WWE. From Brock Lesnar to CM Punk, Heyman’s influence has been undeniable.
From a storyline perspective, Heyman is the man who does nothing but lead talented WWE Superstars to the Promised Land.
And now we have seen the same with Curtis Axel.
From the moment that Heyman introduced Axel, the debate among fans has been raging. The fact is that Curtis is the son of the late Curt Hennig, known as Mr. Perfect in WWE, and that very well could have been the deciding factor when determining who should be given the spot with Heyman.
And the question that has been asked more than once is does he deserve it?
We are all aware of Axel’s past as Michael McGillicutty, a name that many of us have been trying very hard to forget. He honestly did not seem able to accomplish all that much the first time around, so how would that fairly unsuccessful past justify him being given this opportunity now?
For me, the question of whether he should be in the prime position next to Heyman was virtually a non-issue.
Axel is a talented guy, a third-generation Superstar who is skilled in the ring and in a company that thrives on men just like him. And the fact is that I personally did not see why he should not be afforded a chance to prove himself. He may have been in the right place at the right time, but he also was the right man for the spot.
He has a family history in the business, he has all the physical attributes to succeed, and he has been loyal to WWE. At any given point in his career as McGillicutty, Axel could have taken a walk, deciding that perhaps he was better off taking his chances with another company.
But he weathered the storm and now he is the new Intercontinental champion.
And for Axel to win the belt on Father’s Day is just icing on the cake. This also adds to his character and while fans may have a huge amount of respect for Axel’s father, the fact is that Mr. Perfect was a great heel. His son is now merely following in his footsteps.
For the championship itself, there was no better move at Payback. The truth is that despite how many times it appears as though Wade Barrett may be getting a bit further up the ladder, he always seems to go right back down to where he was before. He just does not seem to be able to keep his feet under him.
As for The Miz, I for one still do not see his babyface character being half as strong as his heel persona was. Combining that with the on-screen alliance with Ric Flair that I feel did not do very much for him, and we’re left with only one man who legitimately should have went over in this match.
This is just the beginning for Curtis Axel. Not only is he under the direction of Paul Heyman, he now has a championship belt to prove WWE’s commitment to him. He has the biggest opportunity of his career, and I cannot wait to see what will happen next.