WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon reportedly issued a recent decree on Superstar ring names.
There have been recent changes to WWE Superstar ring names, and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that the roster recently received a memo that included a decree from Vince, who doesn’t want anyone new using their real names anymore, or names they’ve used before on the indies.
The former WALTER became Gunther because WALTER was his real name and a name he used on the indies. Marcel Barthel’s name change to Ludwig Kaiser is interesting as this was a WWE-owned name that he never used before WWE.
Raul Mendoza was changed to Cruz Del Toro this past week, but there’s no word on if he is being called up from WWE NXT. Pete Dunne was re-named to Butch. Raquel Gonzalez was re-named to Raquel Rodriguez this past week when she was brought to SmackDown, but she kept her real first name.
There are obvious exceptions to this rule, like every rule. It was noted that the decree applies mostly to people just coming to the main roster, but obviously does not apply to Cody Rhodes, or Gable Steveson.
It was announced this past week that Austin Theory is now going by just Theory. There was speculation on this name change being related to WWE Hall of Famer Steve Austin, but that’s not the case. The Observer notes that Theory’s name was changed because his real name is Austin White.
Source: Wrestling Inc.