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About Axl Rotten

After watching a professional wrestling match on television, Knighton decided to become a wrestler. He trained under retired professional wrestler Jim Leon in a boxing gym in his hometown of Baltimore, receiving supplementary training from former World Championship Wrestling (WCW) jobber Joey Maggs. Knighton debuted in 1986, shortly after Leon was murdered, and adopted the ring name "Axl Rotten".

In the early 1990s, Rotten trained Ian Rotten, who formed a tag team with Axl, masquerading as his brother. The duo, known as the Bad Breed, wrestled primarily in the Mid-Eastern Wrestling Federation. Rotten later opened his own professional wrestling promotion in Maryland called "Universal Independent Wrestling". The promotion featured wrestlers such as the Bad Breed, Bam Bam Bigelow and Scotty The Body, and had a television series that aired on Saturday nights on the local ABC channel. The promotion closed in the mid 1990s.

In 1991, Rotten had a short stint with World Championship Wrestling, where he feuded with wrestler/rapper PN News. After leaving WCW, Axl and his trainee Ian Rotten had a run with the Global Wrestling Federation in Texas, being featured on their daily ESPN show. While in GWF, Axl succeeded in winning both the GWF Commonwealth title and the GWF Tag Team Championship, with Ian Rotten.
Extreme Championship Wrestling

In 1993, the Bad Breed were hired by Paul Heyman, the then-booker of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion. They competed in the ECW tag team division until November to Remember in 1994, when they lost a tag team match to The Pit Bulls with the stipulation that the losing team would be forced to separate. Both Rotten brothers blamed one another for the loss, leading to a rivalry between the two. The former partners wrestled their first match against one another in ECW at Double Tables on February 4, 1995, with Ian pinning Axl. They faced one another in a variety of hardcore matches over the subsequent seventeen months, fighting in "hair versus hair" matches and "barbed wire baseball bat, barbed wire chair" matches. Their feud finally ended at Hardcore Heaven 1995 on July 1, 1995 when Axl defeated Ian in a "Taipei Death match" (a match that saw each man coat their taped fists with shards of broken glass) which turned out to be one of ECW's bloodier matches. The Bad Breed eventually reconciled and teamed together once again in early 1996.

Rotten competed in the ECW heavyweight division as a singles wrestler throughout the remainder of 1996. In 1997, he formed a tag team with Balls Mahoney known as The Hardcore Chair Swingin' Freaks and teamed up with Spike Dudley and New Jack to take on their main rivals, the Dudley Boyz. Mahoney and Rotten teamed together until 1999, occasionally wrestling one another. Rotten eventually left ECW in 1999, and appeared with Xtreme Pro Wrestling and the Japanese Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling promotion. Rotten then wrestled on the independent circuit throughout the early 2000s.
World Wrestling Entertainment

On the June 6, 2005 episode of Raw, Rotten debuted in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), storming the ring with several other ECW alumni. Rotten went on to appear at the two ECW reunion shows taking place that month. At Hardcore Homecoming on June 10, 2005, the Bad Breed reunited, participating in a wild brawl with The Gangstanators although this was not announced as an official match due to Bad Breed sticking to a stipulation never to team again after losing a feud to the Pit Bulls. At ECW One Night Stand on June 12, 2005, Rotten, Mahoney and Kid Kash attacked the Blue World Order after they interfered in the main event tag team match. Following the events, Rotten and Mahoney wrestled several dark matches for WWE, but were not signed to contracts. At the second Hardcore Homecoming event on November 4, 2005, Axl defeated Ian Rotten in another "Taipei Death match".

Axl Rotten was listed as an ECW wrestler on the official website, however events put his future with in the new ECW Brand in jeopardy. Rotten failed to show for the June 5 edition of Raw in an angle involving several other ECW wrestlers. WWE management was not happy with Rotten no showing at Raw. Furthermore, it was confirmed that Rotten was not backstage at the WWE vs. ECW Head to Head special that aired on USA Network on June 7. Rotten also did not appear at the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view event that was held on June 11, 2006. He was then removed from the roster on the website. Rotten was released before he could even compete in the new ECW. After the release, he made a few appearances in Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South in tag team matches