WWE’s moved away from branding every wrestler they bring into NXT with a company-owned name, especially ones who’ve built a brand internationally and on the independents. But when they signed Ring of Honor and New Japan’s War Machine, a lot of folks figured they’d have to revert to their old ways.
Sure, the former ROH and IWGP tag champs have a following under the gimmick they worked prior to signing. But it also has connotations the publicly-traded WWE might not want in their PG era... among them that Triple H’s “Google test” might bring up the former MMA fighter who legally changed his name to War Machine before being convicted to life in prison for brutally assaulting his ex-girlfriend.
While there’s no guarantee a name change won’t come before they arrive on our screens via WWE Network, Hanson and Raymond Rowe have started on the NXT house show scene. A week after showing up in Florida for a promo, they worked a match at the Jacksonville show on Thursday, Mar. 22 where they were apparently introduced as “War Machine”:
“First we’re gonna shake your hands. Then we’re gonna kick your ass.” - @RAYMONDxROWE #NXTJacksonville pic.twitter.com/BbaqW9wVit— FL Wrestling Fan (@FLWrestlingFan) March 23, 2018
M4 - WAR MACHINE (@RAYMONDxROWE and @WarBeardHanson) defeated Eh Nois (@adrianjaoude and @cezarbononi_wwe) w/ @TaynaraContiWWE #NXTJacksonville pic.twitter.com/keaSs6wEei— FL Wrestling Fan (@FLWrestlingFan) March 23, 2018
And then they kick your a$$! Like gentlemen welcome to NXT! #NXTJacksonville pic.twitter.com/dZdmSehqyB— Josh Kristol (@figure22leglock) March 23, 2018
I have been told that the announcer tonight did in fact say:— JJ Williams (@JJWilliamsWON) March 23, 2018
"Hanson & Rowe... WAR MACHINE!"
Hanson and Rowe’s win highlighted what seems like an awesome show, featuring a Ricochet appearance and a Pete Dunne vs. Velveteen Dream main event.
Back to the subject at hand, however - there’s been speculation about War Machine getting involved in either the NXT or main roster tag scene as we approach WrestleMania weekend. If that’s happening, WWE is either keeping their old names, or keeping their new ones under wraps until a televised debut happens.
Let the guessing continue...