Backstage Update On How WWE Decides Wrestlers' Names

Former NXT wrestler Alex Zayne outlines how his "Ari Sterling" moniker came about in WWE.

Ari Sterling Alex Zayne

Former WWE wrestler Alex Zayne has outlined the process that went into deciding his old ring name in the company, Ari Sterling, with Fightful Select.

Zayne claimed that WWE asked him to make a list of names he would like to use prior to his televised debut. After submitting the list, he was told that the company required more, with the two parties eventually settling on "Ari" as his forename.

The 34-year-old attempted to get "Zayne" cleared as his surname after that, only to be told that potential confusion with fellow NXT newcomer Zayda Ramier meant WWE couldn't consent to that. They eventually decided on "Sterling", completing a ring name similar to Jeremy Piven's Entourage character, Ari Gold, which is where much of the inspiration came from.


Per Zayne, "Ari Sterling" was cleared a few hours before his televised debut. He described the process as "hectic" but acknowledged that many others had it easier than him.

Signed to WWE in December 2020 after over a decade on the independent circuit, Zayne made just 10 televised appearances across 205 Live and NXT before being released in August 2021. He has since appeared on shows for both IMPACT Wrestling and Ring Of Honor.

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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter, Presenter and Editor. Formerly Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @andyhmurray.