Joseph Curtis "Joe" Hennig, born October 1st, 1979, is a professional wrestler currently working for WWE as Curtis Axel. He debuted in 2010 in the second season of WWE NXT as Michael McGillicutty, where he was the runner-up, and later joined The Nexus. After the Nexus angle had run its course, he and Otunga still tagged together, as they were the Tag Team Champions during the demise of The Nexus, until they lost their Tag Team titles to Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston, and he returned to NXT.
Two years later, he returned with a new look and a new ring name, Curtis Axel, with Paul Heyman as his manager. He quickly surged to relevance by capturing the Intercontinental Championship, joining his father as the only father/son pair to have held the Intercontinental Championship.
He is a one time Intercontinental Champion and a two time WWE/Raw Tag Team Champion, with David Otunga (although this reign was under his Michael McGillicutty moniker) and Bo Dallas.
The other Wiki has more details about his career.
To apply to me, these Tropes have to be better than perfect!
- Aborted Arc: His "Axelmania" gimmick (along with a "Meta Powers" gimmick with Damien Sandow as "Macho Mandow") was dropped when WWE severed ties with Hulk Hogan over his racist remarks.
- Affectionate Parody: Of Hulk Hogan at one time. No, seriously.
- Alliterative Name: Michael McGillicutty.
- Badass Boast: "To beat me, you have to be better than perfect!"
- Beard of Evil
- Breakup Breakout: Zigzagged with his former tag-team partner, David Otunga. After they lost the titles, Otunga was granted a high level of TV exposure (some would say overexposure) as John Laurinitis's stooge and occasional in-ring worker, while McGillicutty (whom most judged to be the more talented performer) was sent back to NXT for nearly two years. By 2013, though, Otunga was hardly on TV at all, and Axel had a lengthy reign as the Intercontinental Champion and aligned himself with the highly visible Paul Heyman.
- Butt-Monkey: He spent the vast majority of his feud with Punk losing... and that was just the beginning. Nowadays, he's barely on TV, and usually when he is, he's either getting his ass kicked or something humiliating is happening to him, like getting eliminated from a battle royal in comically short order, or trying to use Loophole Abuse to claim that he's the rightful winner of a Royal Rumble several months after it ended, or being the last superstar drafted in the latest brand extension (and we mean period - even behind TV jobbers and announcers.)
- Combat Pragmatist: The running lariat is probably one of the most dodged moves in professional wrestling. Axel's one of the few in-universe to figure this out and use it to set up a follow-up lariat to the back of an opponent's head (the technical name is Enzuinote or Northern Lariat.)
- Demoted to Extra: After he and Otunga lost the Tag-Team titles, he all but disappeared from Television. While Otunga aligned himself with John Laurinaitis, Michael ended up (back) on NXT, then after a stint there, was repackaged as Paul Heyman's client, Curtis Axel. After a few feuds including an IC Title run and a short pairing with Ryback, he was sent back to NXT. The 2015 Royal Rumble changed all of that thanks to Axel's insistence he never got eliminated and eventually becoming Axelmania.
- Finishing Move: The McGillicutter / Turning Heads, a running swinging neckbreaker.
- As Axel, he's had three: The "Axehole" hangman's facebuster, the Perfect-Plex in homage to his father, and, during his "AxelMania" gimmick, a "leg drop of doom" that mimiced Hulk Hogan's famous leg drop finisher.
- Five Moves of Doom: Already as Axel, he's used several "legacy" moves that his father and grandfather used, including Curt's rolling neck snap and Perfect-plex.
- The Evil Genius: During his time in the New Nexus.
- The Generic Guy: Tends to be tagged with this brush, unfortunately - despite his obvious wrestling skill, his persona just doesn't stand out much. This was the main reason he was aligned with Paul Heyman.
- He's become a lot more distinctive after the 2015 Royal Rumble. He never entered the ring, so he technically never went over the top rope. He's now insisting that he was never eliminated from the Royal Rumble and has become a delusional Hulk Hogan impersonator, complete with Axelmania.
- Homage: His new name is a combination of his father's first name (and by extension, his own middle name) and his grandfather's nickname. His theme and some of his moves are also a homage.
- It Runs in the Family/Wrestling Family: Both with his father, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig; and grandfather, Larry "The Axe" Hennig. His sister is also a professional wrestler.
- Odd Friendship: With Ryback. They were both Paul Heyman's clients before Brock Lesnar became more important. One would think they would go their separate ways, but no, they still tagged together for a while before quietly splitting up.
- Power Stable: A member of The Nexus back when he was Michael McGillicutty.
- Rearrange the Song: His entrance theme is a reworking of his father's Mr. Perfect theme song.
- Tag Team:
- The Runner-Up Takes It All: Kaval was released 4 months into his NXT victory. Axel is the only contestant from NXT season 2 to have won singles gold, until Bray Wyatt's WWE Championship run. Axel is easily the most successful rookie off of his season (although a certain bearded fellow is considered to have surpassed him due to frequent brushes in the main event scene).
- Underwear of Power
- What an Idiot!: What did Axel honestly think was going to happen by trying to ambush all three members of The Shield by himself on the 10.17.17 RAW?