Axel in March 2015.
|Birth name||Joseph Curtis Hennig|
October 1, 1979 |
|Professional wrestling career|
|Billed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Billed weight||227 lb (103 kg)|
|Billed from||Champlin, Minnesota
|Trained by||Curt Hennig
|Debut||July 13, 2007|
Joseph Curtis "Joe" Hennig (born October 1, 1979) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs under the ring name Curtis Axel. Hennig debuted in WWE in 2010, joining The Nexus under the ring name Michael McGillicutty. He had previously wrestled at their developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) and was part of the second season of NXT. In 2011, Hennig won the WWE Tag Team Championship with David Otunga as a member of The New Nexus. In May 2013, Hennig reignited his career under his current ring name Curtis Axel, paying tribute to his father "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig and his grandfather Larry "The Axe" Hennig and won the Intercontinental Championship.
- 1 Professional wrestling career
- 2 Personal life
- 3 In wrestling
- 4 Championships and accomplishments
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Professional wrestling career
World League Wrestling (2007–2008)
Hennig made his professional debut on July 13, 2007 in Waterloo, Iowa for World League Wrestling (WLW), teaming with Ted DiBiase, Jr. to defeat Dinn T. Moore and Branden Tatum by disqualification. Hennig later went on a nine-month winning streak in WLW before suffering his first singles loss to "Wild" Wade Chism.
World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling (2007–2010)
On March 31, 2007, Hennig along with his mother, siblings, and his grandfather represented his father "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig at the 2007 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony by accepting the award on his behalf. On the October 26, 2007 episode of SmackDown, Hennig teamed with Steve Fender in a loss to Jesse and Festus.
Hennig signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment and was assigned to its developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). On September 11, 2008, Hennig and Sebastian Slater defeated Nic Nemeth and Gavin Spears to win the Florida Tag Team Championship. On October 30, Hennig and Slater lost the Tag Team Championship to The New Hart Foundation (DH Smith and TJ Wilson).
On November 20, Hennig challenged Sheamus O'Shaunessy for the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship, but the match ended in a double disqualification. A rematch was made, but Hennig was again disqualified. Hennig had another chance to win the title on December 11 when he participated in a fatal four-way match for the championship, but Eric Escobar won the match and the title in the process. Hennig defeated Escobar on February 26 at a television taping and won the FCW Florida Heavyweight Championship. On the April 5, 2009 episode of FCW it was announced that Hennig had suffered a serious injury and therefore he had surrendered the Florida Heavyweight Championship.
After recovering, Hennig made his return to FCW in late June. Soon afterwards, he formed a tag team with Brett DiBiase known as The Fortunate Sons. On January 14, 2010, The Sons won the FCW Florida Tag Team Championship by defeating The Dudebusters. On March 13, The Fortunate Sons lost the championship to The Uso Brothers (Jimmy and Jules). At the April 8 FCW television tapings, Hennig blamed DiBiase for the loss, and in a match at the tapings, the two fought to a double disqualification. At an FCW event on April 29, DiBiase faced Hennig again, but suffered a knee injury during the match, ending their feud. On July 15 Hennig, now using the name Michael McGillicutty, teamed with Kaval to win the tag team titles for the fourth time from Los Aviadores (Hunico and Epico). The following day, on July 16, Los Aviadores regained the championship.
The Nexus (2010–2011)
Hennig took part in the second season of NXT, using the ring name Michael McGillicutty, with Kofi Kingston as his pro. He made his NXT debut on the June 8 episode, but did not compete in a match. He made his in-ring debut on the following edition of NXT, teaming with Kingston in a tag team match, where they defeated Mark Henry and Lucky Cannon. In the first poll on June 29, McGillicutty was ranked third, behind Kaval and Percy Watson. On the July 20 episode of NXT, McGillicutty earned immunity from elimination in the next poll by completing an obstacle course in the fastest time. On the following episode of NXT, he moved up to first place in the second poll. After six consecutive victories, McGillicutty suffered his first loss on the August 3 episode of NXT, when he was defeated by pro The Miz. On August 9, the rookies appeared in a six-man tag team match on Raw, in which McGillicutty teamed with Husky Harris and Alex Riley to defeat Lucky Cannon, Kaval and Percy Watson. The following night on NXT, his team lost a rematch when McGillicutty was pinned by Kaval. In the next poll later that night, McGillicutty relinquished the first place ranking back to Kaval, slipping to second place. In the season finale on August 31, McGillicutty ended the competition in second place, being beaten by Kaval. At the end of the show, McGillicutty turned heel by attacking Kaval with the other eliminated rookies.
In October 2010, at Hell in a Cell, McGillicutty and Husky Harris disguised themselves as fans and interfered during the match between John Cena and Wade Barrett. This allowed Barrett to pin Cena and win the match, forcing Cena to join The Nexus per the pre-match stipulation. McGillicutty's and Harris' identities were revealed on the following day's episode of Raw, though Barrett claimed he had not asked for their help and refused to make them full-time members of The Nexus. The following week, McGillicutty and Harris interfered in a match between Cena and The Miz, costing Cena the match and prompting Barrett to give them the opportunity to win membership in The Nexus. On the October 18 episode of Raw, McGillicutty and Harris were unable to earn a place in The Nexus when they lost to Cena and Randy Orton in a tag team match. Despite this, Barrett confirmed both he and Harris were members on the October 25 episode of Raw.
In January 2011 CM Punk took over The Nexus and had each of its members put through an initiation. McGillicutty passed his initiation, a beatdown from the rest of the group, and was allowed to remain a member of Nexus, alongside Punk, Harris and Otunga. The following month, Punk was announced as the WrestleMania XXVII opponent for Randy Orton, and as a result, each member of The Nexus was scheduled to face Orton in the month prior to WrestleMania. McGillicutty faced and lost to Orton on the February 28 episode of Raw, and after the match Orton punted McGillicutty in the head. The angle was used to write McGillicutty off television as he was scheduled to be sent back to Florida Championship Wrestling to be repackaged. Despite this, McGillicutty returned on the April 11 episode of Raw with the other New Nexus members, preventing Orton from earning a WWE Championship match.
On the May 23 episode of Raw, McGillicutty teamed with fellow Nexus member David Otunga to win the WWE Tag Team Championship from Kane and The Big Show with the help interference from fellow New Nexus members Ryan and Punk. They made their only successful title defense against The Usos on the July 29 edition of SmackDown. After CM Punk left the New Nexus when his WWE contract expired on July 17, Otunga and McGillicutty competed against Santino Marella and Zack Ryder on the August 1 edition of Raw without any Nexus gear or armbands, and with all Nexus logos removed from their TitanTron, effectively signaling the end of the New Nexus. On the August 22 episode of Raw, Otunga and McGillicutty lost the Tag Team Championship to Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne). After a minor feud with Jerry Lawler, the duo parted ways.
Return to NXT (2011–2012)
After his dissociation with Otunga, McGillicutty from late 2011 to mid-2013 would largely be confined to wrestling on the Superstars and NXT shows. On the October 20 episode of Superstars, McGillicutty and Drew McIntyre lost a non-title match to the WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom (Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne). In late 2011, McGillicutty and Alex Riley had a series of matches on Superstars which Riley won 2-1. On the February 23, 2012 episode of Superstars, McGillicutty defeated Riley, which would be his last televised win on a non-NXT show until he was repackaged as Curtis Axel in May 2013, resulting in McGillicutty losing more than twenty non-NXT matches in a row, mostly on Superstars but also on WWE Main Event and WWE Saturday Morning Slam.
Meanwhile, McGillicutty made his return to NXT, appearing from January 2012 on the fifth season NXT Redemption, but not as a Rookie. In late February 2012, McGillicutty mocked Tyson Kidd's lack of wrestling heritage, starting a feud on NXT Redemption. McGillicutty then beat Kidd on the February 29 episode of NXT Redemption. McGillicutty continued to insult Kidd by claiming that Kidd would never be a true 'Hart', and Kidd received a rematch on the March 21 edition of NXT Redemption, where he defeated McGillicutty. Kidd and McGillicutty faced off in a third match on the April 11 episode of NXT, resulting in Kidd triumphant over McGillicutty. McGillicutty then formed an occasional team with Johnny Curtis for the rest of 2012. On the final episode of the fifth season of NXT on June 13, Curtis and McGillicutty lost to the Usos.
After the conclusion of NXT Redemption, NXT transitioned into the renamed Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory. McGillicutty continued appearing on the rebooted NXT, losing to rival Tyson Kidd on the first episode on June 20. McGillicutty then pinned Kidd in a six-man tag match on the July 4 episode of NXT. Two weeks later, McGillicutty's and his occasional partner Johnny Curtis defeated Bo Dallas and Derrick Bateman. On the August 8 episode of NXT, McGillicutty was inserted into the Gold Rush Tournament to crown the first NXT Champion, where he defeated Justin Gabriel in the quarter-finals. However, McGillicutty was eliminated in the semi-finals on August 15 when he lost to eventual tournament winner Seth Rollins. On the next episode, Kidd heaped more misery on McGillicutty as he and Gabriel defeated Curtis and McGillicutty, but on the September 12 episode of NXT, McGillicutty gained revenge by defeating Kidd to become the #1 contender to the NXT Championship. On the October 10 episode of NXT, McGillicutty lost the title match to champion Seth Rollins. Then on the November 28 episode of NXT, Curtis finally cashed in his promised tag title shot from winning season four of NXT with McGillicutty as his partner against Team Hell No (Kane and Daniel Bryan), but Team Hell No won the match.
In 2013, McGillicutty turned face (but only within NXT) after saving Bo Dallas from a beating at the hands of Primo and Epico. On the next episode, Primo and Epico defeated Dallas and McGillicutty, though Dallas and McGillicutty would gain revenge when they defeated Primo and Epico in the first round of the NXT Tag Team Championship Tournament to crown the inaugural champions on the January 30 episode of NXT. On the February 6 episode of NXT, Dallas and McGillicutty were eliminated in the semi-finals when they lost to the Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan).
Intercontinental Champion (2012–2013)
On the May 20, 2013, episode of Raw, Hennig was repackaged under the ring name Curtis Axel, with Paul Heyman as his new manager. The name is a derivative of his father's first name, Curt, and his grandfather Larry's nickname "The Axe". Later that night, Axel wrestled Triple H in his re-debut match, which ended with a victory for Axel via knockout after Triple H suffered concussion-like symptoms and collapsed outside the ring. On the May 24 edition of SmackDown, Axel defeated Sin Cara. Over the next two weeks on Raw, Axel scored back-to-back non-title count-out wins over WWE Champion John Cena due to distractions and an interference by Ryback. Axel defeated Chris Jericho with a roll-up after Jericho was distracted by CM Punk's music playing, but was attacked by him following the victory on the June 7 SmackDown. Three days later on Raw, Axel defeated Triple H twice in one night when during their first match of the night Vince McMahon appeared and ended the match with Triple H losing by disqualification. Moments after, however, Triple H demanded the match be restarted, but - like the first time - McMahon came back and ended the match with a Triple H forfeit, despite Triple H having no such intentions. On June 16 at Payback, Axel defeated Wade Barrett and The Miz in a triple threat match to win the Intercontinental Championship, his first singles title in WWE. Axel's win saw him join his father "Mr Perfect" as the only father-son pair to have won the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Axel made his first televised title defense on the following episode of SmackDown, defeating Barrett in a rematch. On the June 24 Raw, Axel saved Paul Heyman's former client CM Punk from an assault by the Prime Time Players, at the request of Heyman and to the dismay of Punk. This led to a tag team match the following week on Raw, where Axel won the match the for his team after he tagged himself in following Punk delivering the Go To Sleep on Darren Young and pinned him for the victory. Axel suffered his first loss since becoming Heyman's client on the July 8 episode of Raw, when he was pinned by Chris Jericho in a non-title match. Six days later at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Axel defeated The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Axel made another title defense on the following episode of SmackDown, defeating Chris Jericho.
Axel then feuded with CM Punk alongside Paul Heyman. Axel was set to team with Heyman in an elimination handicap match against Punk at Night of Champions. During the pay-per-view, Heyman begged Triple H to cancel the match, but Triple H refused, not only confirming the match, but making Axel defend his Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston, who had beaten him twice. Axel would defeat Kingston and retain the title, but he would be eliminated by Punk later in the night, leaving Heyman alone to fight Punk by himself. Ryback would then later interfere in the match by slamming Punk through a table. On the September 30 episode of Raw he was defeated by R-Truth in a non-title match, which gave him a title match at Battleground. On October 6 at Battleground he would defeat R-Truth and successfully retained the Intercontinental Championship. The next night on Raw Axel teamed up with Ryback to face R-Truth and CM Punk. R-Truth picked up the victory for his team, pinning Axel. On the October 11 SmackDown Axel once again retained the Intercontinental Championship against R-Truth. At Hell in a Cell, Axel was scheduled to defend his title against Big E Langston, however the match was cancelled due to Curtis' legitimate hip injury. The match was rescheduled for the November 18 episode of Raw, where Axel would lose the title to Langston, ending his reign at 155 days. At Survivor Series, Axel would challenge Langston to a rematch in a losing effort.
On the October 7 episode of Raw, Axel and Ryback formed as a team, after they both ended their alliance with Paul Heyman. That same night, they were defeated by CM Punk and R-Truth. They would then begin to go under the name, RybAxel. On the December 6 episode of SmackDown, RybAxel would defeat Goldust and Cody Rhodes in a non-title match, earning themselves a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championship. At TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, RybAxel would compete in a Fatal Four Way tag team elimination match for the WWE Tag Team Championship, but they were the first team eliminated by Goldust and Rhodes. At Elimination Chamber, RybAxel were accompanied to the ring by Axel's grandfather, Larry Hennig, in a losing effort against Goldust and Rhodes. On the March 28, 2014 episode of SmackDown, RybAxel, along with other tag teams, attacked The Shield under orders from Kane and were rewarded with a WWE Tag Team Championship shot on the WrestleMania XXX pre-show which they lost. On the April 14 episode of Raw, along with nine other superstars, they would attack The Shield again under orders from Triple H. On the April 28 episode of Raw, RybAxel would challenge The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championship in a losing effort. RybAxel would continue their short feud with Goldust and Rhodes from earlier in the year at Payback, which RybAxel won, before losing the rematch at Money in the Bank. Shortly after, Ryback took time off for surgery, leaving Axel to compete by himself. At Battleground, Axel competed in a 19-man battle royal for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship which was won by The Miz. On the November 6 episode of Superstars, Ryback, after returning from injury, would tell Axel that he needs to focus on his singles career, officially ending the team. On the November 28 episode of SmackDown, Axel competed in a 20-man Battle Royal for the WWE United States Championship in a losing effort.
On the December 18 episode of NXT, Axel would approach NXT General Manager William Regal, telling him that he "wants in", with Regal ensuring Axel that he may have a spot for him in the future. On the January 8, 2015 episode of NXT, Axel was defeated by Hideo Itami.
At the Royal Rumble, Axel was set to enter the Rumble match at #6, but was attacked by Erick Rowan on the entrance ramp, rendering him unable to compete. As a result of not being eliminated (having never officially entered the match), Axel trended on Twitter following the event, and also received supportive tweets from former WWE Superstars Lance Storm and Tommy Dreamer and then later from current WWE Superstars Xavier Woods, Zack Ryder and David Otunga, the latter offering his legal services. Axel was defeated by Rowan on the following week's episode of Main Event.
Axel then began an angle where he began referring to himself as "the true winner of the Royal Rumble", claiming that he still hadn't been eliminated from the match and that he deserved a shot at Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as a result. This involved Axel interrupting segments involving the likes of Dean Ambrose, John Cena and Rusev to protest his cause, and also led to Axel starting his own hashtag, #AxelMania. On the May 11 episode of Raw, Axel turned face when he shook hands with Damien Sandow (dressed as "Macho Mandow"), similar to the handshake of The Mega Powers when they formed a tag team. Being billed as Axelmania, Axel began impersonating Hulk Hogan while teaming with Sandow. "The Mega Powers" were defeated by the Ascension at Payback kickoff.
Hennig is a third generation professional wrestler; his grandfather Larry "The Axe" Hennig and his father Curt Hennig were both professional wrestlers. His sister Amy is also a professional wrestler. He has two other siblings who are not wrestlers. Hennig and his wife had a son, Brock, in June 2009. He enjoys ice fishing and fantasy football. He won WWE Magazine 's Fantasy Football League for the 2011 NFL season.
- Finishing moves
- As Axelmania
- As Curtis Axel
- As Joe Hennig
- As Michael McGillicutty
- Signature moves
- Belly to back suplex
- Big boot - parodied from Hulk Hogan
- Diving pointed elbow drop
- Diving crossbody
- Feint clothesline transitioned into a clothesline to the back of the opponent's head
- Rolling neck snap, sometimes from the second rope – adopted from his father
- Running knee smash to a bent over opponent
- Saito suplex
- Sliding clothesline
- With David Otunga
- Entrance themes
- "We Are One" by 12 Stones (October 3, 2010 – July 21, 2011; used while a part of The Nexus)
- "This Fire Burns" by Killswitch Engage (December 27, 2010 – August 22, 2011; used while a part of The New Nexus)
- "Death Blow" from VideoHelper Production Library (July 22, 2011 - August 22, 2011; used while teaming with David Otunga)
- "All About the Power" performed by S-Preme and composed by Jim Johnston (July 29, 2011 – August 22, 2011; used while teaming with David Otunga)
- "And the Horse He Rode in On" by Reluctant Hero (October 6, 2011 – May 16, 2013)
- "Reborn" by CFO$ (May 20, 2013–present)
- "Meat On the Perfect Table" by Jim Johnston (March 31, 2014 – August 26, 2014; used while teaming with Ryback)
- "Real American" performed by Rick Derringer and composed by Jim Johnston (May 17, 2015–present; used as Axelmania)
Championships and accomplishments
- Florida Championship Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
- Official MySpace
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Axelmania and Macho Mandow faced Heath Slater and Adam Rose in a tag team match
- Martin, Adam (May 22, 2015). "WWE Smackdown Results - 5/21/15 (Ambrose vs. Wyatt)". wrestleview.com. Retrieved May 26, 2015.
The retrofitted combination of Macho Mandow and AxelMania proved victorious on SmackDown
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Macho Mandow made his way to the ring, followed by Axelmania to form the Meta Powers
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Michael McGillicutty made his entrance, high fiving people on the way down ... ... The point I want to make is why is McGillicutty now a face, and getting cheered? I put the cheering down to this being the first match of the tapings, but the pro-McGillicutty shift can only be explained if we presume there are 'applause' and 'cheer' signs just out of view in the arena.
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- "When it comes to the main event of @WrestleMania 31, does @RealCurtisAxel have a case after #RoyalRumble controversy?". WWE's official Twitter account. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
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The big issue on a lot of people's minds is Curtis Axel. [...] Curtis Axel was actually trending on social media throughout much of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
- Wortman, James (2 February 2015). "Raw Five-Point Preview: Feb. 2, 2015". WWE. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
Heck, will Curtis Axel have a chance for Rumble redemption after Erick Rowan ambushed him on the entrance ramp, preventing the former Intercontinental Champion from officially entering the fray?
- Storm, Lance (25 January 2015). "What about Curtis Axel? #RoyalRumble". Lance Storm's official Twitter account. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
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- Woods, Xavier (25 January 2015). "The #RoyalRumble isn't over @RealCurtisAxel was never eliminated.... #GameOn". Xavier Woods' official Twitter account. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
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- Otunga, David (2 February 2015). "You have a legitimate case against @WWE @RealCurtisAxel. Give me a call. I'll give you the friends & family discount. #OtungaLaw". David Otunga's official Twitter account. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Curtis Axel reacts to his confrontation with Dean Ambrose - Raw Fallout - February 2, 2015". YouTube. 2 February 2015. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
I still wasn't eliminated, no matter what Dean Ambrose did, I still was not eliminated from the Royal Rumble match, and regardless of what The Authority said tonight, I still deserve a shot at Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship!
- Benigno, Anthony (2 February 2015). "WWE Raw results, February 2, 2015: Curtis Axel demanded a WrestleMania title match". WWE. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
... the non-exit of Curtis Axel, who was jumped before he could officially enter the over-the-top-rope fracas and was therefore never eliminated and therefore has grounds to demand a WWE World Heavyweight Title Match at WrestleMania.
- "8 controversial Royal Rumble Match exits". WWE. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
Though the rules say the only way to lose a Royal Rumble Match is an ignominious exit over the top rope...
- "8 controversial Royal Rumble Match exits (Page 8)". WWE. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
... the Internet helpfully pointed out that means Axel was never technically eliminated and Roman Reigns’ victory therefore does not stand.
- WWE Raw Results, WWE.com
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Axel came out to Hulk Hogan’s theme. Both were dressed up as the men they were imitating.
- Caldwell, James (May 17, 2015). "CALDWELL'S WWE PAYBACK PPV REPORT 5/17 (pre-show)". PWTorch.com. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
Hulk Hogan's music then played to bring out Curtis Axel dressed in all red & yellow with the bandana, fake mustache, sunglasses, boa, and red & yellow trunks and shirt
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Decent back and forth match that Axel won with his hangman's facebuster.
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McGillicutter out of nowhere (his spinning neck-breaker)
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Michael with a snap mare and the leap frog neck snap and gets a near fall.
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Michael ... goes to the turnbuckles for a neck snap on Cena and gets a near fall.
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Axel with a running knee to the head and he gets a near fall.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Joe Hennig.|
- Curtis Axel's profile on WWE.com
- Curtis Axel on Twitter
- World League Wrestling profile
- Online World of Wrestling profile