Following news of WWE filing a trademark for a controversial name with WWII ties, WALTER seemingly declared he has a new name upon his arrival in NXT 2.0.
After years of dominance in NXT UK since joining the brand in NXT UK, former NXT UK Champion WALTER announced that he was exiting the brand earlier this month. The former champion is a record-holder as by the time that Ilja Dragunov handed WALTER his first ever loss in NXT on August 22nd at NXT TakeOver: 36, the giant Austrian had reigned over NXT UK for an incredible 870 days.
On the January 18th episode of NXT 2.0, WALTER made his way to the former black and gold brand to take on Roderick Strong, a match that came about after the Austrian leader of Imperium got into a confrontation with Diamond Mine manager Malcolm Bivens and shoved him against a set of lockers.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) January 16, 2022
The match was every bit as hard hitting as one might expect, with brutal chops being exchanged in addition to incredible power moves from the Austrian to counteract Roderick Strong’s technical proficiency. In the end, WALTER was victorious after a vicious powerbomb to Strong, pinning him in the middle of the ring.
After the match, the former NXT UK standout, who is more known for his in-ring power than his promo skills, surprisingly asked for a microphone and made a declaration, stating “The winner of this match is Gunther!” before slamming the microphone down and defending himself against an attack from the members of Diamond Mine. His Imperium stablemates came to his aid.
— WWE (@WWE) January 19, 2022
The declaration of the star’s new name comes after news emerged that WWE had filed a trademark for the name Gunther Stark for the category of entertainment services. While trademark filings are standard fair in the WWE, this particular name sparked controversy as Gunther Stark is the name of a U-Boat commander who served in World War II in the Kriegsmarine, the navy of Nazi Germany.
It should be noted that only the name Gunther was used on NXT 2.0 and not Gunther Stark, so it looks like WWE may be opting to use only the first name after learning of the controversial ties associated with the name in full.
As of this writing, WALTER’s name has not been announced by WWE or changed on their roster pages. It’s unclear at this time why WWE would choose to rebrand WALTER after he’s built such a legacy for himself under their umbrella of brands, but Inside the Ropes will continue to report as more information becomes available.