How Curtis Axel Trained The Rock & Brock Lesnar For WrestleMania Returns

Hamish Woodward

Curtis Axel is a former WWE Superstar, who had a bigger impact on the company behind the scenes than in front of the camera.

While his main roster career was unspectacular, he helped big stars like The Rock and Brock Lesnar in training to return to the ring.

Curtis Axel Trained The Rock For WrestleMania Return

In the build up to WrestleMania 28, The Rock was getting back into in-ring shape to wrestle John Cena.

His last match took place 8 years ago, when he teamed with Mick Foley against Evolution in a losing effort.

Since then, he had begun to conquer Hollywood, but put that on hold to come back for one last run in the WWE.

To do that, The Rock needed some in-ring training, to get back in the shape he needed to be in to last 30 minutes in the main event of WrestleMania.

In order to do that, WWE hand-picked Curtis Axel to work with The Rock, something both wrestlers involved ended up very happy with.

Speaking to, Curtis Axel revealed why he was chosen by the WWE to work with The Rock, and how he and The People’s Champion share a special bond, both inside and outside the ring.

I think that I gained some trust within the WWE organization, and they picked me because they had faith in me being safe.

Not injuring him and really making him step up his game to get his wind ready, and his body back in shape for all the strenuous activity he was about to endure at WrestleMania.

So I think they just had trust in me, and I think that’s what it boiled down to. Plus, we both come from a pedigree.

Me and Rock have always had that bond, just because of the generational thing. So I think that had something to do with it. He trusted me, and WWE trusted me, so that’s how all that came about.

Curtis Axel learnt a lot from The Rock during these training sessions. While he helped get the former WWE Champion back into in-ring shape, he also learnt about controlling the crowd and getting over in the WWE.

Axel was chosen by WWE, specifically John Laurinitis, to work with The Rock because of the huge trust they had in him.

The former Intercontinental Champion was trusted to be safe, not injure The Rock and get him back into the shape he needed to work a thirty-minute WrestleMania main event match with John Cena.

The Rock later complimented Curtis Axel on his career, during a Twitter conversation in 2018.

On the anniversary of his father (“Mr Perfect” Curt Hennig)’s death, Curtis Axel about how proud he was of his life.

The Rock replied with a heartfelt tweet, stating “You’ve got a lot to be proud of brother. He’s proud of you too. Keep puttin’ in that work”

Curtis Axel vs Brock Lesnar

As well as working with The Rock, Curtis Axel also wrestled against Brock Lesnar upon his 2012 return to the WWE.

Lesnar left the WWE in 2004, moving on to play in the NFL, and fight in the UFC. After becoming heavyweight champion in the UFC, he returned to the WWE as one of the most dangerous men on the planet.

However, having not wrestled for 8 years (outside of a short spell in Japan), Brock needed some tune-up matches before he took on John Cena at Extreme Rules 2012.

Axel was once again chosen, as one of the safest hands in the company, to get Brock back into shape.

He spoke again about facing Brock behind the scenes, revealing that he wrestled the former WWE Champion in 30 minute training bouts.

He admitted that he spent 30 minutes straight in the ring with Lesnar, putting on full matches before Brock Lesnar’s big return to the WWE.

Speaking to, Curtis Axel said;

Nonstop. I mean, we would wrestle a half-hour without a break, just going back and forth and basically doing a whole match.

There was a moment, and he might get mad at me for saying this, but there was a moment where we stopped for a second and he said to me,

“I’m going to beat your ass all the way to the corner, and then I’m going to take a step back. And when I come back to you, I want you to beat my ass all the way back to the other corner. And if it’s not up to my standards, if it’s not sufficient enough and I don’t think you’re aggressive, you know what’s going to happen to you.”

And in my head I’m thinking, “What does this mean?!?” so, it happened. I beat his ass all the way to the corner as aggressive as I could, I got up waiting for him to do something and he said, “That’s good.” And we moved on. I’d love to wrestle Brock in a match.

In recent years, other talent have been chosen to work with returning talent. It was recently reported by Fightful that Drew Gulak worked with both Steve Austin and Vince McMahon for their return to the ring at WrestleMania 38.

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