A new report has offered an update on why WWE have decided to change the names of a number of Superstars.
In recent weeks and months, a number of WWE Superstars have undergone name changes. While it had become expected that wrestlers changed their name when they signed with WWE, the changes concerning established stars have taken some by surprise.
On the most recent episode of Friday Night SmackDown, Gunther arrived on the main roster after dropping the WALTER name in January. For his debut, the Austrian star was flanked by Marcel Barthel, who it was announced is now known as Ludwig Kaiser.
Meanwhile, former NXT Women’s Champion Raquel Gonzalez debuted in the show, although is she now called Raquel Rodriguez.
The changes came after Pete Dunne was controversially given the name Butch for his own SmackDown debut.
Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer has noted that the changes have come directly from Vince McMahon. A memo was recently sent to the entire roster, with an order from the WWE Chairman which said that stars were no longer allowed to use their real names, or names they had used on the independent scene.
However, there are exceptions to the rule, notable Cody Rhodes and Gable Steveson. There had also been speculation that Austin Theory’s name change was due to the similarity to Stone Cold Steve Austin, but this is seemingly unfounded. Meltzer added that the change was because his real name is Austin White.
Cody Rhodes recently returned to WWE after six years away, making his comeback at WrestleMania 38 where he defeated Seth Rollins. It has since been confirmed that the pair will go toe-to-toe one more time at WrestleMania Backlash.