Why These 2 WWE Wrestlers Lost Their First Names

Say hello to Tony and Alex.


Vince McMahon's habit of having his wrestlers drop their forenames is well known, with dozens of WWE roster members receiving the treatment over the years. Mustafa Ali even debuted on the main roster, had the "Mustafa" taken away from him, then got it back a few months later.

Rusev and Cesaro were two such wrestlers. Having originally gone by Alexander Rusev and Antonio Cesaro respectively, Vince chopped the first names. Why? Because the WWE Chairman was worried they'd be shortened.

Per Dave Meltzer on today's episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, McMahon dropped Rusev's "Alexander" because he feared people would start calling him "Alex," which he felt wasn't an appropriate name for a heel. Similarly, Cesaro was made to drop his "Antonio" because Vince wasn't up for people calling him "Tony."


Cesaro originally debuted under his first ring name while working Florida Championship Wrestling in 2011. Rusev worked his first televised WWE match that same year, also in FCW, but was moved up to the old main roster two years after Cesaro in 2014. He left WWE this past April and recently showed up in AEW, adopting Miro as his new stage name.

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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A fan since 1992, still geeking out for everything from WeeLC to mid '80s Jim Crockett Promotions. Give him a follow @andyhmurray. You'll have a great time. Maybe.