WWE’s new trademark filing for the name “Gunther Stark” has sparked controversy as the name has ties to a WWII U-Boat commander.
On January 13, WWE filed to trademark the name Gunther Stark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for entertainment services. A partial description of the trademark filing is listed 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…
While trademark filings are commonplace for the WWE, this particular filing raised the eyebrows of readers who typed the name into Google and found that Gunther Stark is the name of a historical figure with ties to the Nazi regime in WWII. Stark was a U-Boat commander in the famous Olympia Crew in the Kriegsmarine, the navy of Nazi Germany.
Fans were even more surprised when on the January 18th episode of NXT 2.0, former NXT UK Champion WALTER took to the microphone after his match with Roderick Strong and made a declaration, stating, “The winner of this match is Gunther!”
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.