With WWE having an alarming penchant for altering wrestlers’ character names in recent years, Dave Meltzer now has an update on a couple of those changes.
From Uncle Dave, the reason that Alexander Rusev became simply Rusev back in 2014 was because a creative meeting saw Vince McMahon express concerns that people would refer to the Bulgarian Brute as Alex. And with Rusev a heel at that point, McMahon believed that Alex was a lame name for a villain.
One other superstar to have seen one of his names cut is Cesaro. Known in WWE as Antonio Cesaro up until February 2014, the Antonio part was dropped after Vince didn’t want fans to start calling the Swiss Superman by the name Tony – again, with McMahon under the impression that Tony was an awful name for a heel.
Elsewhere, Meltzer explained why Babatunde Aiyegbusi saw his name changed to Dabba-Kato upon first appearing on Raw Underground a couple of months ago. That change was a business decision, for the 6’9” monster would be able to use his real name of Babatunde in another promotion should he eventually depart WWE. As for the name Dabba-Kato, that is now the property of WWE.
Others to have seen their names tweaked upon making it to the WWE main roster, of course, include Adrian Neville, Apollo Crews, Andrade 'Cien' Almas, Buddy Murphy, Otis Dozovic, Tucker Knight, Bobby Roode, Elias Samson, and the War Raiders tandem of Hanson and Rowe.