WWE Stars Most Likely to Receive a New Gimmick And/or Name ChangeApril 18, 2022
WWE Stars Most Likely to Receive a New Gimmick And/or Name Change
As WrestleMania is the end of the spiritual season, WWE Creative is refreshing some characters and making tweaks to the roster.
In just a few weeks, we've seen Lacey Evans return with vignettes to cast her in a babyface light, Elias is now Ezekiel, Drew Gulak is apparently now an interviewer and several Superstars have received new names, such as Cruz Del Toro and Raquel Rodriguez. Even Kay Lee Ray is now Alba Fyre, and Kacy Catanzaro couldn't use her American Ninja Warrior fame to keep her from being renamed Katana Chance.
Some characters rarely change once they find a groove. Rey Mysterio isn't going to turn heel after all this time and drop the mask. Nor will an established name like Natalya start going by the name Betty.
But with Walter being changed to Gunther and Pete Dunne becoming an angry toddler named Butch, clearly WWE is looking to make some adjustments.
Looking at the roster, here are some Superstars to watch out for who may receive a new gimmick, a name change or a character overhaul in the near future.
Superstars Who May Have Name Changes but Keep Their Characters
A running theme of late is that if someone has the same first or last name as their character, it seems that's going away. It would explain why Raquel Gonzalez (Victoria Gonzalez) had to become Raquel Rodriguez and why Austin Theory (Austin White) is now just Theory, which will only hurt his upward momentum.
It can be assumed the same philosophy will stretch to others who haven't already reached the point of being untouchable like Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre, but that they won't receive changes to their characters to coincide.
Rick Boogs (Eric Bugenhagen) might very well become Boogs upon his return from injury, as WWE has been obsessed with one-name characters for a few years. See Elias/Ezekiel, Harland, Erik, Ivar, Omos, Reggie, T-Bar, Mace, Shanky, Boa and even Apollo as examples.
The same is likely for Josh Briggs (Joshua Bruns), who will either be just Briggs or receive a brand-new name he didn't use in Evolve just so WWE can own the trademark.
Humberto Carrillo had his named shortened to Humberto, but since that's his real name, watch out for him to get something similar to Angel that is more fitting with the gimmick of Los Lotharios.
Joe Gacy (Joseph Ruby) will undoubtedly just be Gacy or have it switched up where Gacy becomes his first name and he's given a new surname.
Last but certainly not least is Chad Gable. As he was given the awful rebranding of Shorty G in the past, it's guaranteed WWE won't want him to be Gable when Gable Steveson comes to the roster full time. He may still say "shush" and "a-thank you" while heading up Alpha Academy but just go by something more obnoxious like Professor Chad or Coach Chad.
Tommaso Ciampa is an interesting case. He's built up more than enough stock that WWE could be willing to let it slide, especially since he's one of Triple H's main proteges. But that didn't fly for Pete Dunne, so anything is on the table.
As his real name is Tommaso Whitney and he's been using the Ciampa name for years, WWE is likely to want him to switch it up.
Don't be surprised if he joins Edge's faction and WWE pulls another name change like The Major Brothers dubbing themselves Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder instead of Brian and Brett Major. Upon joining Edge's faction, The Rated-R Superstar might "rechristen" him, with the storyline being that he's abandoning the fans and no longer using the name they once cheered.
That would be accompanied by a heel turn and more of a darker character that fits with Damian Priest and Edge, bringing The Blackheart persona more to the forefront.
Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin
Baron Corbin has gone through a few gimmick shifts over the years, but Happy Corbin has to be the worst nickname he's had yet.
The obnoxious character has worked at times for heel heat, especially with Madcap Moss by his side. That is no longer a thing, though, meaning it is time for both to go their separate ways now that they are feuding with one another.
Corbin should drop the "Happy" part and revert back to Baron. Maybe he can start wearing some normal clothes again too.
Moss should never use the Madcap name again and drop the suspenders immediately. It makes no sense for him to keep that going if his character regrets being Corbin's underling and doing that job.
He doesn't necessarily have to be Riddick Moss once more, but if WWE owns the trademark, that's as good a name as any and a much better alternative than making him simply Moss. At that point, he might as well get a new tag team partner named Mulch.
How WWE went through weeks of vignettes revolving around Alexa Bliss being cured of her Bray Wyatt knockoff character, only to keep the gimmick going for Elimination Chamber and then disappear again is baffling.
Now is the time to do what should have been done in the first place and move on with a new gimmick that isn't so dependent upon copying The Fiend. She should be her own character once again, ditch the puppet and stop being WWE's knockoff version of Harley Quinn.
Ideally, the name Alexa Bliss should stick. Several years into her career isn't the time to try something brand new when she's a multi-time champion who has accomplished almost everything she can in WWE.
Whether she returns to a previous character like The Goddess heel or the glittery Tinkerbell babyface from NXT or creates something else new is up to Bliss and WWE Creative to decide, but the era of Alexa's Playground needs to be over.
The Hurricane got two sidekicks in Rosie and Mighty Molly. Is Nikki A.S.H. going to get a tag team partner to suit up in similar fashion?
The answer may revolve around WWE's plans for Doudrop.
Right before WrestleMania, when WWE was scrambling to create new tag teams for the women's division to shoehorn a few more Superstars on to the roster, Doudrop and A.S.H. became associated with one another. However, they failed to factor into WrestleMania and haven't been seen since.
With a name like Doudrop and how WWE has already had her shift gears from Piper Niven to Eva Marie's reluctant bodyguard to a happy babyface who dances and sings boppy music and then a bitter heel, going with the comedic superhero sidekick in a silly gimmick change seems right up this alley.
Perhaps the reason this duo hasn't been seen is because WWE is finalizing the look of her superhero outfit.
Even if this isn't the direction WWE goes, Doudrop needs something to change. She won't stay relevant if all she's doing is being the girl Bianca Belair picks up for a KOD for the umpteenth time.
After Imperium lost the NXT Tag Team Championship, Fabian Aichner walked out on Marcel Barthel and left the group.
Barthel was renamed Ludwig Kaiser and called up to SmackDown to accompany Gunther, taking a step up in their careers, while Aichner hasn't been on television.
As Fabian Aichner is his real name, it's almost certain he will be called something new upon his return. WWE may try to act like he isn't the same person, even though the commentary team will still make remarks about how he's a former tag team champion, just as Solo Sikoa isn't allowed to be an Uso and Bron Breakker isn't a Steiner, but they won't let you forget that familial connection.
He may get a reworking of his character to ditch the ties to Imperium or he could just be another guy in trunks who wrestles under a different name.
LA Knight and Mace
In a dark segment prior to SmackDown, WWE tested out a new gimmick for both LA Knight and Mace, as seen above.
Now a mouthpiece for the big man under the faction Knight Model Management, it seems this will be SmackDown's version of The Robert Stone Brand, with a charismatic talker acting as a manager to those who don't have much character but a commanding presence.
Where this leaves Knight's in-ring career remains to be seen, as well as if WWE will rename Mace to something more befitting, memorable and easier to trademark.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.