Less than 48 hours after WALTER's controversial rebranding on NXT 2.0, WWE has abandoned its trademark application for "Gunther Stark."
The promotion had filed its application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on 13 January, doing so for the following purposes:-
IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Entertainment services, namely, wrestling exhibitions and performances by a professional wrestler and entertainer rendered live and through broadcast media including television and radio, and via the internet or commercial online service; providing wrestling news and information via a global computer network; providing information in the fields of sports and entertainment via an online community portal; providing a website in the field of sports entertainment information; fan club services, namely, organizing sporting events in the field of wrestling for wrestling fan club members; organizing social entertainment events for entertainment purposes for wrestling fan club members; providing online newsletters in the fields of sports entertainment; online journals, namely blogs, in the field of sports entertainment
WWE then filed an express abandonment on 19 January, ending its pursuit of the mark.
Gunther Stark was identified as a Nazi U-boat commander who served as a Captain Lieutenant in Adolf Hitler's Kriegsmarine during World War II shortly after news of WWE's trademark application first broke. WALTER then rechristened himself "Gunther" on 18 January's episode of NXT 2.0, not mentioning the surname.
Whether or not WWE abandoning the trademark is related to the understandable backlash is currently unclear.