One of the biggest stories in pro wrestling this week is WWE’s decision to change WALTER’s name to Gunther in NXT.
When I initially heard about the name change, I thought it was even dumber than WWE’s decision to take away Matt Riddle’s first name. And that’s before I was aware that WWE trademarked the name “Gunther Stark” on Jan. 13, which happens to be the name of a Nazi military commander back in World War 2. It’s not the first time WWE failed to use basic due diligence before settling on a very bad idea for a name. Kyle O’Reilly saw this coming from a mile away.
WALTER’s official name change on television and on WWE’s web site did not include the full “Gunther Stark” name that WWE trademarked. Not surprisingly, WWE abandoned their registration for that trademark yesterday (Jan. 19), per PW Insider.
So WALTER will still be named Gunther going forward, but WWE presumably hopes everyone will stop associating that name with a Nazi commander now.
We’ll see how that goes.