The wrestling world was all up in arms last night during WWE NXT when it was revealed that Walter had changed his name to Gunther, though as we would go on to learn, it could've been worse. The trademark filed by WWE actually included the last name Stark, but it seems WWE has dropped that from his official name and just went with Gunther. While this is the most recent example, this is far from the only time WWE has changed someone's ring name, and while some turn out great, others don't fare very well. We've collected 7 of the more infamous examples of a name change by WWE right here starting on the next slide.
As for the trademark itself that got this discussion going, you can find the trademark request filed by WWE below.
"Mark For: GUNTHER STARK trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibitions and performances by a professional wrestler and entertainer rendered live and through broadcast media including television and radio, and via the internet or commercial online service; providing wrestling news and information via a global computer network; providing information in the fields of sports and entertainment via an online community portal; providing a website in the field of sports entertainment information; fan club services, namely, organizing sporting events in the field of wrestling for wrestling fan club members; organizing social entertainment events for entertainment purposes for wrestling fan club members; providing online newsletters in the fields of sports entertainment; online journals, namely blogs, in the field of sports entertainment."
Which name change is your favorite and which is your least favorite? Let us know in the comments!
This change is one of the more recent ones, and it is also one of the more disliked. Sure people have come around to saying Doudrop (well, most people), but most fans (including any and all who saw what she could do during her NXT UK run) would take Piper Niven back in a heartbeat.
To her credit, Doudrop has continued to showcase her talent in the ring despite the name, but most people would say that the Doudrop name change isn't one in the win column.prevnext
The whole faction is in here because there wasn't really a win across the board. WWE drafted NXT stars Dominik Dijakovic, Dio Maddin, Shane Thorne, Mia Yim, and Mercedes Martinez to become a masked group named Retribution, but they didn't just shorten their names, because that would have probably been too easy.
Instead, they gave them T-Bar (Dijakovic), Mace (Maddin), Slapjack (Thorne), Reckoning (Yim), and Retaliation (Martinez). Then they got ridiculous masks that obscured their faces and killed any momentum they had coming from NXT, especially since the group was pretty much booked to lose right from the get-go.
Also, really, T-Bar and Slapjack? To their credit, the group had some fun with their new titles on social media, but eventually, the group was disbanded and it was all pushed aside.prevnext
Another recent example is Keith Lee, who went from being a North American Champion and NXT Champion at the same time in NXT to being released by WWE in 2021. The way their was full of twists and turns, but one of the bigger signs that things were going badly was when WWE changed Keith's name to Keith "Bearcat" Lee...for some odd reason.
Lee got a new logo and some tweaked gear to support the name change, but it wasn't too much longer before Lee was gone. This still boggles my mind, as Lee was an absolute star, and his name wasn't at all what was holding him back.prevnext
The NXT 2.0 era brought a host of new talent into the mix, and WWE is certainly hoping they have several future stars on their hands. That is clearly the case with Bron Breakker, who since debuting has become the new NXT Champion. Bron, real name Bronson Rechsteiner, is the son of legendary star Rick Steiner, so many were surprised to see him with the Breakker name in WWE.
WWE likes to have a name they can trademark, so more often than not they'll have you tweak or pick a new name when you get there. In this case, though Bron had a hand in picking his new name, crediting his time playing football for the inspiration.
Bron Steiner does have a ring to it, though truth be told, I am already used to saying Bron Breakker, so oh well.prevnext
Roman Reigns is on top of the world in WWE these days as the Tribal Chief and Head of the Table over on SmackDown, but there was a point where he had a different name. Back in his days in FCW, he was wrestling under the name Roman Leakee, and then his name was shortened to just Leakee...though not sure how that was looked at as cooler than just Roman.
In any case, luckily he started going by the name Roman Reigns in 2012, and ever since he's been moving up the ranks of WWE as he transformed into the superstar we see today. In this case, WWE looks to have gotten it right.prevnext
Glenn Jacobs has gone by several names over the years, and each name featured a completely different gimmick. The first two were, well, let's just say WWE missed the mark with Mike Unabomb and Dr. Isaac Yankem, with the latter being a crazy dentist character. Also, don't get us started on when he became the fake Diesel.
The good news is that they finally hit the mark when they changed his name to Kane and had him return as The Undertaker's long-lost brother, complete with fire powers and creepy mask. Kane is one of the most well known legends in WWE to this day, so we think this worked out quite well.prevnext
In another case of a few tries to get it right, Bray Wyatt was one known as Alex Rotundo, and then that changed to Duke Rotundo. His real name is Windham Rotundo, and both are not as cool as his real name when you compare. In any case, he was then renamed Husky Harris, which once again didn't capture what made him so unique and cool.0comments
That wouldn't happen until he was rebranded as Bray Wyatt, and that's when the birth of the swamp living cult leader truly began. Wyatt would then recreate himself as The Fiend, a supernatural evil character that was a different personality from Wyatt, though they would interchange during his WWE run.
Wyatt was released by WWE last year and is likely back to using his real name. That said, you just never know what Windham will do with a character, so we won't truly know what he will return as until he actually makes his way back to a wrestling ring.prev