"He didn't wanna be Curtis Axel" - Ex-writer on the difference between Joe Hennig and The Usos in WWE (Exclusive)
Brian Gewirtz recently recalled how Joe Hennig did not want to be known as Curtis Axel in WWE.
Hennig, the son of WWE Hall of Famer Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennig, performed as Michael McGillicutty between 2010 and 2013. He was then repackaged as Curtis Axel, a character he portrayed until his release from the company in 2020.
Gewirtz, WWE’s former head writer, spoke to Sportskeeda Wrestling’s Riju Dasgupta about some superstars’ struggles to live up to their family’s wrestling history:
“I remember Joe Hennig, all he wanted to be was Joe Hennig,” Gewirtz said. “He didn’t wanna be Curtis Axel, and you could kinda tell that. For Joe, being Joe Hennig probably would’ve been better because we know he wanted to do that. There are some talents that wanted to craft their own identity.” [5:55-6:15]
In the video above, Gewirtz also discusses the challenges facing The Rock’s daughter, Simone Johnson, in WWE.
Brian Gewirtz explains how The Usos had a different approach to Curtis Axel
While Joe Hennig wanted to use his famous family surname, not every second or third-generation performer has the same mindset. For example, it is no secret that The Usos are the sons of Rikishi, but their characters are not defined by the WWE Hall of Famer’s success.
Brian Gewirtz added that WWE Superstars should be allowed to decide for themselves whether their on-screen persona pays homage to their family history:
“The Usos proudly point out being Rikishi’s sons and everything, but they’re not defined by that. They’re their own characters and human beings, and they’ve evolved as characters and performers so much since when they first started. I think that’s the fun of it, taking what’s in front of you and making it your own and seeing how it goes from there.” [6:17-6:39]
Gewirtz also spoke about David Sammartino’s struggles to live up to his father’s success in the wrestling business. David, the son of the iconic Bruno Sammartino, only spent a year in WWE between 1984 and 1985.
Do you think Joe Hennig should have been allowed to use his real name? Let us know in the comments section.
Brian Gewirtz’s new book, “There's Just One Problem...: True Tales from the Former, One-Time, 7th Most Powerful Person in WWE,” is available to buy on Amazon.
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