In the days after WWE announced that it had released dozens of wrestlers and other employees due to budget cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic, the company confirmed that a few more roster members had also been let go, including longtime lower- and mid-card fixture Curtis Axel. While Axel was oftentimes booked as a comedy act during his time in WWE, one of his former tag team partners recently predicted that he could have a future if he joins All Elite Wrestling and is allowed by the rival promotion to portray a more realistic character.
In the latest episode of his Conversation with the Big Guy podcast (via WrestlingNews.co), Ryback commented on the releases of Axel and Heath Slater, admitting that he felt “a little bit upset” upon hearing that they both got cut by WWE. After saying that he believes the timing of WWE’s mass releases was “horrible,” he focused mainly on Axel — aka Joe Hennig in real life — and opined that AEW could use someone like him on its roster.
“I truly mean this, like with Joe? If he could be Joe Hennig? I think AEW can get some great great stuff out of him. I think he could add to that roster in one way or another.”
Although Ryback seemed to hint that Axel would be better used in a more serious role, he did look back on the time they teamed together on WWE television as RybAxel, noting that the third-generation superstar knew how to entertain audiences. He then discussed The B-Team — Axel’s tag team with Bo Dallas — and pointed out that the duo “got [their gimmick] over to a degree” despite their comedic nature.
Ryback also suggested that WWE may have punished The B-Team for becoming crowd favorites and exceeding expectations as a lower-card act, as Axel and Dallas were barely used on television after they lost the Raw Tag Team Championships in 2018.
“They’re just victims, no matter what they do,” he added.
As the coronavirus crisis has affected various businesses and industries across the world, it’s still far from certain whether AEW will capitalize on the fact that Axel and many other recently released WWE superstars are currently unemployed. However, a few of these wrestlers have been linked to the upstart company since WWE’s massive job cuts were announced. These include the likes of Zack Ryder, who is close friends with AEW executive vice president Cody Rhodes, as well as EC3, who has seemingly been referencing a few wrestlers from the promotion in his newer Twitter videos.