Wrestlers getting renamed upon signing with WWE is nothing new. For decades the practice in WWE has been for wrestlers to take on new names so that the company can control marketing, merchandising, and other intellectual property-related matters.
But this practice hasn’t always been appreciated, either externally by fans or internally by WWE’s employees. There have been many examples over the years of the creative minds in the company coming up with less-than-thrilling names for its performers.
Vince McMahon originally wanted Mick Foley’s masked masochist to be called “Mason the Mutilator”. Vader was supposed to be renamed “The Mastodon” even though the entire wrestling world knew him as Vader. KENTA was renamed “Hideo Itami”. One of Bryan Danielson’s proposed WWE names was “Buddy Peacock”. And Steve Austin once received a list of proposed names which included “Chilly McFreeze”.
This issue with questionable WWE names has remained a widespread issue, to the point that even celebrated Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes lost his composure at some of the ideas coming from WWE’s corporate office.
“It’s bull****” – Dusty Rhodes on Summer Rae’s original proposed ringname
During a recent interview with Golden Ring Collectibles, Summer Rae shed some light on what WWE’s process was when it came to re-naming talent.
She explained wrestlers in developmental had to submit ten names to WWE’s corporate head office and then those higher-ups would select which ones they liked the most.
In Rae’s case, her initially-chosen name was “Kylie Summers”, which Dusty Rhodes hated when he first heard it.
“”Mine came back and I said I wanted the name ‘Kyle,’ like a boy’s name. I didn’t say Summer and they just put ‘Kylie Summers’ as my name. And Dusty Rhodes said, ‘What the hell is a Kylie Summers?’ He’s like, ‘I f***ing hate it.’ In front of everyone, he made me stand up in front of the class and was like, ‘Tell them what they named you, it’s bulls***.’ “
Summer Rae went on to explain that Dusty Rhodes had a particular way of naming people.
“He believed a wrestler’s name should have the first letter of the last name and should match the last letter of the first name so it can roll off the ring announcer’s tongue.
And he wanted everything one or two syllables so when people chant your name it’s not anything crazy,” she recalled. “So, I think I said ‘R-a-y,’ like a summer ray, like a ray of sunshine, and they came back ‘R-a-e’ because they’re difficult.”
h/t WrestlingInc for the transcription