When I lived in a garden apartment complex in the late nineties, I had a douchey downstairs neighbor who would always push his way in when WWE was on, because I liked to watch pro wrestling and so did he.
In his mind, that made us broskis.
One of his finer moments came during the return of Solofa Fatu Jr., who after a couple of lame-duck gimmicks, emerged as "Rikishi Fatu," to which my half-wit interloper shouted out, "Rikishi Fatu? More like Rikishi Fat-ass! Am I right?" Then I got the ol' punch-to-the-arm, marking the end of our budding bromance.
Dumping him was akin to Shawn Michaels dumping Marty Janetty, but luckily for my neighbor, my plate glass window was three floors up, so I resisted the "Barber Shop" temptation.
Not long after, the "Fatu" was dropped and the agile Samoan became "Rikishi," which tells me the ass joke was not exclusive to my confines in "The Garden State," which I suppose can be expected when you sport a posterior the size of the Great Pumpkin.
Fatu had a great run as a babyface and the shortening of his name was an indication that WWE was evolving his character, much like it is now with Antonio Cesaro, who recently became just "Cesaro." The timing is not coincidental, either, as the former United States Champion has caught on with fans (Cesaro Section!) and earned a spot in the upcoming Elimination Chamber pay-per-view (PPV).
So, what's in a name?
I guess that depends on how you market it. I had trouble adjusting to WCW when it started using wrestler's real names because I was still stuck in the eighties, when most guys (and gals) went by a goofy stage name. Not that I was celebrating "Disco Inferno," but I always liked a little showmanship in wrestling.
Today, I think we have an adequate balance of both.
Even the stage names, for some folks, are snappier hybrids of real-life names, like Curtis Axel, Kofi Kingston, Heath Slater and Daniel Bryan.
But for every genuine birth name like John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar, we have Big Show, Sheamus and Goldust. Orton, I think, is a great example of having the best of both worlds, because you can also refer to him as "The Viper" or "The Apex Predator."
But how will we refer to Big E. Langston?
If the "E" has its way (the other "E"), then just Big E., which doesn't pack the same punch as "Cesaro." In this case, I think it's a downgrade, particularly when I try to envision Justin Roberts stumbling over the inflection. Do you go up and short on the "E," or scream it like you're being murdered, a la Lenne Hardt?
And does that make his finisher "The Ending?"
Like I mentioned earlier, the fact that Creative is even tinkering with it at all is a great sign, since the finishing touches and whatever other polish they want to add to his character is likely a precursor to a "push" in the coming months. For Cesaro, it's probably a split with Jack Swagger (great name, average performer) and a run at the World Heavyweight Championship.
For Big E., perhaps the oft-rumored title unification bout that combines the U.S. gold and the Intercontinental strap.
I have a name for that: Awwwe-sommme.