Curtis Axel (real name Joe Hennig) needs to establish his own identity away from his father.
The third-generation superstar won the Intercontinental title under the tutelage of Paul Heyman. He won the same title that his father, Mr. Perfect, helped make prestigious. Axel, like father like son, uses some of his dad’s repertoire, namely the Perfect-Plex.
The most obvious comparisons between Axel and his family come from his name. "Curtis" represents a variation of "Curt," the name of his father; "Axel" represents his grandfather, Larry “The Axe” Hennig. His entrance music is an updated version of his father’s. But frankly, he needs to break away from his father in order to create his legacy.
Axel needs to carve out his own legacy, which I think eventually he will. The last thing he wants is to suffer the Rocky Maivia treatment in 1997. The Rock’s old gimmick represented his family’s legacy and won Intercontinental gold under the same name.
The fans booed Maivia even though he was a babyface. Unfortunately for Axel, he’s not getting any kind of reaction from fans.
When Axel’s music hits, the WWE Universe could care less. Axel is doing all he can, but the fans just don’t seem to care, which could spell bad news for the current Intercontinental champion.
Maybe fans don’t appreciate the legacy. In reality, maybe they are too young to remember Mr. Perfect. After all, he was last seen in the WWE in 2002. Let’s not forget that the majority of today’s fans are in that PG audience.
But what does that say about the adult demographic? They should know and respect the legacy of the Hennig family, right? Apparently, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Maybe his father’s legacy is hindering Axel’s growth as a WWE star. If that’s the case, then it’s time to break away from the Hennig legacy and make his name as himself.
Curtis Axel will be a star in time. To all intents and purposes, he just might have to distance himself from his family name.