No Widgets found in the Sidebar

When you watch enough wrestling over the years, at some point you are going to see something that makes your head tilt to the side and your mouth drop open a little bit. Oftentimes these are some of the most memorable things you see, albeit for all the wrong reasons. WWE has a tendency to make a lot more of these decisions that any other promotion and they have done it again, this time in a pretty had way.

Let’s get straight to this. At some point over the last few weeks, WWE filed a trademark application for Gunther Stark, a new wrestling name. The company certainly has a history of coming up with one strange name after another, but this was a bit out there even for them. Then this week on NXT, Walter announced that his new name was Gunther, with the name change being made official the next day. That might seem fine enough as it goes, but there is one major detail:

Gunther Stark is the name of a Nazi U-boat captain who served in World War II.

Now, before we get going, one thing should be made very, very clear: as of Thursday afternoon, WWE has dropped the trademark application for Gunther Stark, meaning that the name will not be used on WWE television. Neither WWE or Walter have NOT use the name Stark on any of its shows or its website. Walter’s name has been changed to simply Gunther, with no mention of the Stark last name. There is a very real chance that the name Stark will never be mentioned, which does change a few things. Anyway, back to everything else.

You can look at the problems here from a few different ways, but let’s start with Walter (er, Gunther), because he is where everything comes from in the first place. WWE has a bad tendency to try and control their wrestlers’ names, presumably because they don’t want them to take the name elsewhere and become the biggest star in the world. It’s an idea that makes sense in theory, until you realize that people are probably going to like a wrestler no matter what their names are, especially because their WWE names tend to be stupid.

The other problem is that, as simple as it sounds, we know who Walter is. I know he hasn’t been around NXT very much, but he was the United Kingdom Champion for over two years (which I believe is the longest title reign in WWE since the original Hulk Hogan title run). He has also been on Monday Night Raw, SmackDown, NXT and Survivor Series, had an action figure and appeared in WWE video games. Heck he was wrestling as Walter on national television THIS WEEK, as the Gunther name was only revealed after he won in the main event.

In short, we know who Walter is, through a combination of what he has done before he came to WWE and the things he has done in the company. There aren’t many people who look like Walter anywhere in the world and odds are the name change isn’t going to result in people calling him Gunther. Odds are it is going to lead to people still calling him Walter and laughing at the Gunther name, because he is a heck of a lot more famous by his former name.

This isn’t like Kana coming in to WWE having her name changed to Asuka. Yes she had a long and successful career elsewhere, but only the hardest of hardcore fans were going to know who that is. She was a very talented and accomplished wrestler but almost no one knew who she was. It wasn’t quite the same thing as Asuka winning the Women’s Royal Rumble and getting ready to challenge Asuka at WrestleMania 34, only to say “NO ONE IS READY FOR CAROL!”

While Walter might not be the name that WWE prefers (for one reason or another), it is the name that fans know him by. Changing the name out of nowhere feels rather random and far too late as Walter is established, but never let logic get in the way of WWE’s decisions. I’m not sure how much of a difference it is going to make, but it is WWE’s latest change that makes them feel like they are far more of a business than a wrestling company. That is indeed the case, though it doesn’t make their decisions seem rational or thought out.

Then there is the other side of the whole thing, which has nothing to do with what happens in front of the camera. No instead, this has to do with what happened behind the camera and almost caused something to happen in front of it. Despite the Stark name not being mentioned on television, the fact that WWE seemed all but ready to use it until the news started spreading isn’t a good sign.

Now to be clear, I don’t think WWE knew the background of the name before they were ready to put it on television. Stark is a big name in both Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe so it isn’t like it is some obscure point that no one has thought of in years. Having a character with a name that means “strong” isn’t a stretch and I can buy that WWE just thought it sounded cool.

That’s where things kind of fall apart though. How in the world did they NOT look into this? WWE is a company that changed a referee’s name from Chloe Christmas to Paige to Blair Baldwin. This is because A, CHLOE CHRISTMAS isn’t unique enough and B, WWE was worried that fans would get her confused with another woman who doesn’t look like her and ISN’T EVEN ON TELEVISION. This company is that obsessed with having unique names and they couldn’t even look up the name they were assigning the biggest name one of their brands has ever had?

This actually makes me think of last year’s releases. One of the biggest criticisms was that WWE seemed like they were making everything up as they went, to the point where someone would be called up to the main roster and then released weeks later. How could WWE be that confused about what two branches of the company is doing at the same time? How could WWE’s department of looking up names (because THAT is a thing they need to have) be on such a different page than the people running NXT?

The whole thing is a problem that didn’t need to happen in the first place and almost got a lot worse than it did. The good thing for WWE is that most fans aren’t going to know what happened because it got stopped before everything went on national television. What makes it worse is that it almost did, as WWE continues to seem like they have no idea what they are doing day to day. That doesn’t exactly bode well for the long term.

I would hope that the problems here are pretty obvious, but somehow the details escaped WWE. There are all kinds of issues with this mess and we’ll sum it up with the big one: there wasn’t someone available to Google this? A billion dollar company can’t find the time to check on something like this and save themselves a big headache? You would think that would be the case and they could manage to make this something dumb instead of their latest bad idea that makes the company seem like they are out of touch, no matter what they are called.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books

Keep up with the LATEST WRESTLING RUMORS! Click here to sign up for the exclusive Wrestling Rumors daily newsletter, delivered right to your inbox.

The post KB’s Review: That (And THAT) Is In A Name appeared first on

Facebook Comments

By media

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.