Eric Bischoff Defends WWE Name Changes
Bischoff understands why WWE continues to change the names of established stars
WWE Hall of Famer Eric Bischoff has defended the company's recent decision to give new names to already-established stars.
Speaking on his Strictly Business podcast, the former Senior Vice President of WCW noted why it wouldn't make sense for WWE to allow established performers to continue using their names in the company.
Discussing the case of WALTER/Gunther, in particular, Bischoff said:
"If he was WALTER in his indy career and he's going to be WALTER on Monday Night RAW or SmackDown, then there's a cloud over who owns that trademark. WWE doesn't want to have intellectual property, talent, storylines, creativity, promotion, all of the other things that go into the value of building that intellectual property if they don't own it. Who would do that?
"That would be the same thing as you or I deciding we're going to rent a piece of property, a beach-front property, we don't own it, we're going to rent it and then we both decide I know we're only renting that property, we don't really own it but let's build a house on it. We built a big beautiful home on this big piece of beachfront property and then the guy that owns the title to the property shows up and goes, this is awesome, you guys did a great job, built my dream home on the property that I own. See ya, here's your eviction notice. You've invested all of this money on a beautiful home, on a piece of property that you don't even own. In this case, WALTER is the property that they don't really own and in this case, Gunther is the home".
Regarding Austin Theory dropping his first name and simply becoming 'Theory', Eric posited:
"I can assume that there was an attempt to trademark Austin Theory and for whatever reason, it's possible that that trademark was denied and could've been challenged.
"Who knows? We don't know, so they adjusted on the fly and went with Theory instead as a wrestling-related character. I kind of dig it better actually, I like those kinds of names, I like simple brands that aren't necessarily traditional first and last names. I liked it when they did it and in terms of the reason why they did it, too much we don't know to speculate".
Bischoff also noted that he was initially disappointed that WWE decided to go with Bron Breakker instead of the mooted 'Rex Steiner', but that he understands why they did it in order to own the trademark.
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