What's in a Name?

Jason IovannaCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2008

Names are just one of the many factors that can make or break superstars in wrestling.  Names like "The Rock","Stone Cold Steve Austin", and "Hulk Hogan" have become household names that anyone, including non-wrestling fans, have grown to know and become familiar with.  However, ask someone who Dwayne Johnson (before he started using his real name), Steve Williams, or Terry Bollea is, and most likely they will look at you like you have five heads.  It is for this reason that Vince McMahon loves to use character names and not birth names for the wrestlers he employs.  He wants those names to be only synonymous with the WWE, and not with the wrestlers themselves.  Also, anytime those names are used, royalty payments find their way into his pocket.

However, I am asking wrestling fans to look at this from another angle.  If I were Vince McMahon, which I most surely am not claiming to be, I would probably keep the names of at least the superstars who I lured from other promotions.  Stars like Colt Cabana (now Scotty Goldman), Ron "The Truth" Killings (now R-Truth), and Matt Sydal (now Evan Bourne), should be allowed to use the names which have made them famous.  This is not only beneficial for the wrestler, but also beneficial for the company if you ask me.  Fans of these wrestlers will now tune in to catch a glimpse of the stars they watched grow.  Stars like CM Punk and Samoa Joe are prime examples.  WWE and TNA have easily reaped the benefits of utilizing these superstars because an audience came with them (they don't cheer their names and get the biggest pops for nothing).

These names that WWE is coming up with are really cheesy.  To try and change the names of already established wrestlers is just awkward, takes too much getting used to and causes confusion.  Not only is it weird now calling them by their new names, but it is also reduces the bragging rights the company gets.  I would say "Hey, I got Colt Cabana!" or "Remember seeing the crazy moves of Matt Sydal?  He's working for me now!  Come watch!"  I could see if people they groomed in Florida Championship Wrestling received a name change because they haven't really established a run yet.  However, if I were a fan of Ring of Honor or TNA, I would think "Wait, they changed his name!?  What else are they going to change about him?"  The risk here is WWE losing a whole new audience and by doing this are thinking with their pockets instead of their minds.  WWE needs to keeping the names of wrestlers away from their corporate umbrella if they hope to expand to an even wider audience than they have currently.