WWE Superster and Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel spoke with Carroll County Times this week, going into detail about the process of getting rid of his old name, Michael McGillicutty, working with legends like The Rock and Brock Lesnar, and a lot more.
By now it's common knowledge that Axel, third generation pro wrestler and son of Mr. Perfect, has been a training partner for part-time stars like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Brock Lesnar.
"I was so honored. They sent me out to go train with the Rock and that guy is awesome. Training with him, he pays attention to every little detail and crowd reaction. The way he does his moves and he works, it's so fluid. It's amazing the way he thinks and the way he works. And just picking his brain, he actually spent time with me and asked me what I did in the ring and different moves that I did, where I could place them to get more reaction from the people and all this kind of stuff.
"Brock Lesnar, my god, that guy is a beast. I've known him for many years because he started with Brad Rheingans in Minnesota training with my dad, so him and my dad were close friends and all that stuff … He's been up and down on this road back in the WWE for a little bit now. He's been in my head, and he's a Paul Heyman guy, and it's cool to spend time and have him critique little things that I'm still doing and give me some advice."
Axel also spoke about his emotional championship win at WWE's first ever Payback pay-per-view this summer.
"When I got put into that Triple Threat match at Payback, that was the first thing that crossed my mind — that I had an opportunity to win the title that my father made famous in the '90s, the Intercontinental Championship. And if I were to win it, we'd be the first father-son duo to ever hold that title. So that whole week building up to the pay-per-view, that's all I could think about. My grandpa was like, if you win this, it's going to be crazy. So when I did win it, it was pretty emotional. My dad was the first thing I could think of when I grabbed that thing and I held it up. I called home afterward and talked to my wife and my grandfather and I had my whole family at my house, and I guess from what they were saying everybody was crying. It was very emotional just because of how much that meant to me to hold the same title my father held."