PHOTO CREDIT: WrestlingNewsSource.com
Curtis Axel is a guy that deserves more in the world of pro wrestling. The son of “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig and grandson of Larry “the Ax” Hennig, “the Axe Man” has never been given the true opportunity to break out on his own.
Sure, he might have been part of the New Nexus in 2011 and Tag Team champion with David Otunga, but the Tag Team division was sadly an afterthought during that time. Sure, he might have been a “Paul Heyman Guy”, but situations and placement allowed Axel to be THE Paul Heyman Guy. Instead, he was sadly a Plan B. And yes, he might have been a Social Outcast, but management never seemed to allow Axel to shine through, along with Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, and Heath Slater, as a serious threat.
It’s frustrating, especially since in the ring, Axel is, in my opinion, the soundest performer from bell-to-bell. I’ve always felt he’s been due more of an opportunity within the ranks of WWE, especially from a television perspective. That’s why when 2015 rolled around and an organic character trait came into place, I felt it was a chance to take “the Axe Man” to the next level.
That trait: #AXELMANIA.
In spite of what people behind the scenes of WWE thought, AXELMANIA was a tremendous concept that felt incredibly unique in the world of pro wrestling. Although it started off as a joke from social media, Curtis Axel turned #AXELMANIA into a cult following of sorts through the winter of 2015 and really got people believing in him. For a short time, #AXELMANIA was cool.
Sadly, thanks to Hulk Hogan leaving WWE in the summer of 2015 and some behind the scenes issues, all mentions of #AXELMANIA were rubbed away from television and forced Axel off TV. It was a shame to see that the actions of one forced another back into the outskirts of the limelight. Curtis Axel’s hard work was seemingly all for naught.
However, here in the Professional 3, I will highlight the beginnings of #AXELMANIA, the rise, and sad fall of where everything ended up. Hopefully, this will spur interest into why #AXELMANIA ran wild for a short time in WWE and how it can begin again…brother.
THE 2015 ROYAL RUMBLE: It was a very hostile night in Philadelphia, PA, as the Royal Rumble on January 25, 2015 took place and completely spawned a load of news from the night of WWE wrestling. Although some controversy took place regarding Roman Reigns winning the match and headed towards the main event of WrestleMania 31, the BIG NEWS during the night revolved around the epic travesty that happened to one Curtis Axel.
Erick Rowan, who was not an active participant in the match, was brawling around with his former friends in the Wyatt Family. As Rowan was being restrained by WWE officials, entrant #6 made his way to the ring. That man: “The Axe Man” himself. Before Axel made it to the ring, Rowan attacked and laid the #6 entrant out; thus meaning, Curtis Axel was helped to the back and, by the rules of the Royal Rumble, was never eliminated officially from the match.
THE RISE OF #AXELMANIA: Fans, outraged, decided to use the hashtag #CancelWWENetwork towards these actions that were perpetuated by Rowan laying out “the Axe Man”. Axel had a different vision. Through social media, Axel started a simple hashtag to help spread the word of this movement: #AXELMANIA. He officially was never eliminated from the Royal Rumble, thus he deserved a title shot against champion Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Social media accounts from passionate WWE fans grew in momentum due to this movement.
WWE saw this happening and allowed Axel to jump onto television with the #AXELMANIA seemingly running wild throughout February and March. The WWE even made an #AXELMANIA shirt. The sad state of affairs was that WWE management decided to frequently set up #AXELMANIA for failure, setting up Axel to get destroyed, unprepared on Axel’s side mind you, by names such as John Cena, Rusev, and Dean Ambrose.
However, Axel was undaunted. To make more of a mainstream splash, Axel really started to use a lot more of the lingo and catchphrases of the leader of Hulkamania, “the Immortal” Hulk Hogan. More and more, it caught on with fans. Sadly, through the help of hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg, #AXELMANIA ran into the brick wall known as Hulkamania on March 23, 2015 in Los Angeles, CA. Snoop set up Axel for sabotage, using the Hulkster as his muscle, and forcing Axel into retreat from the big right hand and throw over the top rope.
The peak of #AXELMANIA took place at WrestleMania 31 during the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on March 29, 2015 in Levi’s Stadium. Wagers in Las Vegas actually had “the Axe Man” as the odds-on-favorite to win the battle royal. Once the bell rang, Axel walked into the center of the ring and tore apart the #AXELMANIA t-shirt from his body. Almost immediately, the majority of competitors in the ring came and combined their jealousy of the grass-roots #AXELMANIA movement and tossed Axel out like a piece of trash. It was the peak of the movement.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pinterest.com
THE FALL OF #AXELMANIA: Within a few weeks, Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow became friends, courtesy of the old school Mega Powers handshake. However, instead of staying as such, #AXELMANIA turned into a full-fledged spoof, turning into an actual Hulk Hogan spoof. Sadly, fans latched off the movement of #AXELMANIA as fast as they came on. Rumors were abound that management were sick and tired of the fan movement of what Axel had started and forced a Hulkamania spoof on him. Regardless, once Hulk Hogan left the WWE in the summer of 2015, WWE aborted mission and took the #AXELMANIA movement officially off TV.
Curtis Axel has never truly had a break go his way. I feel for the man. #AXELMANIA was cool and hip. Young kids thought it was exciting, solely for the hashtag. Old school fans loved the brash, yet subtle, overtones of Hulkamania. It was a damn shame to see something COOL be taken off television and discarded as something goofy. It was organic.
Although shades of #AXELMANIA show up once in a blue moon, it hasn’t been seen on WWE since.
Curtis Axel, I salute your movement. In spite of what happened, #AXELMANIA is a true revolution. You deserved more. I hope you get your due one day. Whatcha gonna do, when #AXELMANIA runs wild on you??!!