What do you think is WWE worst name change of all time? Keep reading to find out if your answer made it into this article.
In WWE, a name can be everything. It helps show the audience who your character is and what you are about, and in certain instances can make or break your character. Someone like Hulk Hogan used their name to get across their incredible size and strength, immediately placing an image in your mind of who they are.
Someone like Stone Cold Steve Austin became one of the biggest stars in wrestling after coming up with the name “Stone Cold”. However, if he had been given one of the other suggestions that had been given, including Fang McFrost and Chilly McFreeze, I doubt he would be remembered as fondly as he is today.
The best wrestling names can help making someone a star. However, some of the WWE worst name changes has killed wrestlers on arrival and almost guaranteed that they will never be a big star in the eyes of the fans. Somebody called “Nathan Jones” will never be a huge star in WWE unless they change their name, whereas a character like Edge or MVP have names that can propel them to the top.
Below are some of the WWE worst name changes in the companies history. They are examples where WWE had the chance to give a talent a new name to help them get over with the audience, but failed horribly and gave them the most ridiculous sounding names they possibly could.
WWE Worst Name Changes
Shane Thorne to Slapjack
Whilst Shane Thorne isn’t the best name in the world, it’s about 4 billion times better than being named Slapjack.
And yes, there really was a WWE wrestlers are recently as November last year named Slapjack.
Thorne was called up to the main roster as part of the incredibly underwhelming stable known as “Retribution”. The group had no real goals aside from ruin the WWE careers of all it’s members with stupid names and awful gimmicks, so in that regard it was an incredibly successful stable.
Slapjack was put out his misery in November 2021 when he was released from his WWE deal. Never again would he have to wear the awful hockey mask and actually answer to the name Slapjack in public again. Calling anybody Slapjack is the WWE worst name change of all time.
Chad Gable to Shorty G
Chad Gable was the next incarnation of Kurt Angle. An Olympian-turned-wrestler who was a supreme in-ring talent who had also mastered the art of comedy in wrestling and owning his own character.
He could’ve been a world champion. But then WWE remembered “haha he’s short” and decided to make him wear a basket ball uniform for unknown reasons and called him “Shorty G”.
Gable just accepted this on TV for no apparent reason. He later turned back to Chad Gable and had success as a Tag Team Champion alongside Otis.
Pete Dunne to Butch
Pete Dunne was one of the stars of NXT and was the second ever NXT United Kingdom Champion. He was one of Triple H and William Regal’s pet project, being handled carefully as to help him transition from the British independent scene all the way to the WWE main roster.
Things seemed to be going well. He was a former NXT Tag Team Champion and a Dusty Rhodes Classic winner alongside Matt Riddle. He seemed destined for greatness.
Then, WWE called him up to the main roster, made him dress like a rejected extra from Peaky Blinders, and named him Butch. Not Butch Dunne, or Pete “Butch” Dunne, which also would have been terrible. Just Butch.
Although, its not the worst name change for a former WWE United Kingdom Champion…
WALTER to Gunter
One of the most egregious name changes in WWE history was when WWE decided to change the name of the longest reigning NXT United Kingdom Champion, WALTER.
WALTER was a huge name on the British and European independent scene, and his signing in 2019 was one of the biggest ones in NXT UK history. He became the star of that show, as well as making appearances in NXT and on the main roster, most notably at Survivor Series 2019.
His name and character were already known quantities to all fans of WWE. He had been WALTER, his real name, on every show on every brand of WWE, and when he was moved to NXT from NXT, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
That was until one of the WWE worst name changes ever occurred. Rather than keep the WALTER brand that he had built up over years, they decided to change his name to that of a Nazi.
No, really. WWE applied for the trademark for Gunter Stark for WALTER, before a huge outrage about the name being most famous for a high-ranking Nazi official. It was an incredibly tone-deaf and idiotic take by WWE, who would have known by a simple Google search that the name was not appropriate for the Austrian star.
Due to the outcry, he was debuted simply as Gunter, which does not invoke the sense of Nazism, is a really stupid name and makes you think about the manager of the coffee shop in “Friends”
Joe Hennig to Michael McGillicutty
You’d think being the son of one of the best technical wrestlers ever and a WWE Hall of Famer would make you immune from an awful name change, wouldn’t you? Well guess again.
Joe Hennig, the son of the legendary “Mr Perfect” Curt Hennig, came into WWE as part of the NXT game show, and fans were curious and excited to see the son of a Hall of Famer make his debut. Well, they soon lost all interest when one of the worst WWE name changes of all time occurred.
There is no way to take the name “Michael McGillicutty” seriously as a top star in wrestling. Curtis Axel, which he later became, was better as it paid homage to his father Curt Hennig and Grandfather Larry “The Axe” Hennig, but it still wasn’t ideal.
Just called him Joe Hennig. It’s not hard.
What do you think is the WWE worst name change of all time? Let us know in the comments or click below to keep reading
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.