WWE Hall Of Famer Eric Bischoff has defended WWE in relation to the recent spate of name changes that have recently taken place in the company.
Speaking on Strictly Business via AdFreeShows.com, the former President of WCW discussed WWE’s trademark deals as part of a wider conversation around recent name changes in the promotion.
The likes of WALTER, Marcel Barthel, Pete Dunne, Austin Theory, and now following Raw, Tommaso Ciampa are among those to have had their names changed or shortened by WWE.
According to Eric Bischoff, he thinks the changes are a smart piece of business by WWE to protect their intellectual property:
“If he was WALTER in his indy career and he’s going to be WALTER on Monday Night RAW or SmackDown, then there’s a cloud over who owns that trademark. WWE doesn’t want to have intellectual property, talent, storylines, creativity, promotion, all of the other things that go into the value of building that intellectual property if they don’t own it. Who would do that?”
“That would be the same thing as you or I deciding we’re going to rent a piece of property, a beach-front property, we don’t own it, we’re going to rent it and then we both decide I know we’re only renting that property, we don’t really own it but let’s build a house on it.”
“We built a big beautiful home on this big piece of beachfront property and then the guy that owns the title to the property shows up and goes, this is awesome, you guys did a great job, built my dream home on the property that I own. See ya, here’s your eviction notice. You’ve invested all of this money on a beautiful home, on a piece of property that you don’t even own. In this case, WALTER is the property that they don’t really own and in this case, Gunther is the home.”
As far as Austin Theory losing his first name to become Theory, Eric Bischoff says he doesn’t know why the change came about but he likes the non-traditional name:
“I can assume that there was an attempt to trademark Austin Theory and for whatever reason, it’s possible that that trademark was denied and could’ve been challenged. Who knows? We don’t know, so they adjusted on the fly and went with Theory instead as a wrestling-related character.”
“I kind of dig it better actually, I like those kinds of names, I like simple brands that aren’t necessarily traditional first and last names. I liked it when they did it and in terms of the reason why they did it, too much we don’t know to speculate.”
Eric Bischoff also recently discussed why he won’t return to AEW television and says he doesn’t think Tony Khan would invite him back to the company.