One Of WWE’s Biggest Issues Is Their Terribly Generic Ring Names
WWE has come under scrutiny for many things, especially in recent years, in regards to their booking, management, releases etc. However, from a talent standpoint, one of the issues which has been present for quite some time is giving wrestlers generic ring names.
WWE Needs to Create New Stars
WWE should be all about making stars who draw money, sell merchandise, and become household names to carry the company forward for years and years to come. Looking at the roster today, it’s hard to imagine that many of the full-time talent could fill the roles that the likes of Brock Lesnar and Goldberg do, coming back as fondly remembered legends from other eras to elevate the current day talent. It’s important for superstars to be remembered, but some of the names in WWE are so bland and generic that it makes this an incredibly difficult task to accomplish.
Looking at the main roster, an issue which has cropped up time and time again is the shortening of names. The longer the name, the more unique it will be, and the easier to remember. The perspective from WWE seems to be that the shorter the name, the less likely the audience will get confused about who is who. It’s an odd conundrum, and one which doesn’t make too much sense, especially since the shortened names are less memorable.
Name Changes For NXT Call-Ups Insult Fan Intelligence
In recent years, the likes of Alexander Rusev, Big E Langston, Matt Riddle, Otis Dozovic, and Antonio Cesaro have been shortened, among others. It’s true that people get used to these names, and they feel normal after a while, but it doesn’t make the initial decisions any less insulting to the audience’s intelligence.
This is also the case when names are completely changed, especially upon call-ups from NXT. It’s a peculiar issue with WWE’s main roster and NXT, as sometimes it’s considered canon, and sometimes the existence of past stories is deleted from existence. This lack of clarity disrupts the continuity of some call-ups, and it allows WWE to change ring names with no rhyme or reason.
Erik and Ivar of the Viking Raiders were Hanson and Rowe in NXT, but with no explanation, both their names and collective team name were changed. The same issue occurred with the members of Retribution, whose established names such as Dio Maddin, Mia Yim, and Dominik Dijakovic were replaced by comically bad names like Reckoning, Mace, and T-Bar. This also insults the intelligence of the fans.
The Greatest Stars Have Nicknames And Grand Presentation
Many of the names in WWE are simply uninspiring. It’s not just their names that cause this, but also a lack of presentation to accompany it. For example, ‘Steve Austin’ is not a flashy name on paper, but ‘The Rattlesnake, Stone-Cold Steve Austin’ adds so much, making the name feel special. Things like nicknames have been stripped back much more than they used to. There are exceptions, such as Roman Reigns given added extras such as ‘The Tribal Chief’, and ‘Head of the Table’; that’s why he feels so significant and ahead of everyone else. When he squares off in the ring against the likes of Cesaro or Finn Balor, they don’t have any special additions to their names, nothing to make them stand out, and this is common throughout most of the roster.
A big thing lacking in terms of presentation and the showcasing of these names, is the ring entrance. Announcers, for the most part, announce everyone exactly the same. In AEW, Justin Roberts gives most wrestlers a different twist with their entrance. For example, Orange Cassidy is billed from ‘Wherever’, weighing ‘Whatever’, and these little details add so much to his entire character and presentation. If WWE followed suit with these extra elements, even the characters with the most generic names might feel different.
The Future Doesn’t Look Promising
WWE’s future of giving their performers generic names doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, with NXT 2.0 premiering with debuting talent like Bron Breakker, Grayson Williams, and Von Wagner making their splashes on the redeveloped third brand. Breakker’s name has been talked about a lot since his appearance, as it’s a step down from the stylish and impactful ‘Rex Steiner’ name he was using.
Bron Breakker is in the same realm as the silly names such as ‘Reckoning’ and ‘Slapjack’, with it being a potential pun of ‘bone breaker’. It doesn’t scream main event, despite his obvious high ceiling and presence. It’s an extra hurdle that a new talent doesn’t need, and it was very easily avoidable. There are things to fix generic ring names, such as adding nicknames and features to the character. If WWE don’t fix this, they will have a large problem in years to come with having superstars that nobody will remember.