Professional wrestling is all about larger-than-life personalities doing things ordinary people cannot even hope to. To make it easier for them to get over with the audience, these wrestlers often adopt different and sometimes wacky ring names or stage names to draw more attention to themselves.
This is a key aspect of pro wrestling. You cannot expect a wrestler with a generic-sounding name like 'Braden Walker' or something ridiculous like 'Buddy Peacock' to resonate with wrestling fans. That's why some of the best wrestling names have some elements of badassery in them; they're like the foreward to a great book in that they give a sample of what's to come.
Some of history's greatest wrestlers had unique 'stage names' that were completely irrelevant to their birth names. Hulk Hogan, for example was the Irish name Hogan with the impressive-sounding word 'Hulk' instead of a first name. The Undertaker sounded more like a title, but that ring name became synonymous with the most legendary wrestler of all time.
Other wrestlers, meanwhile, chose to wrestle under their own names for one reason or another. So now, the question is, who are these wrestlers when the cameras are off? Can you match the following wrestlers to the legal names they use outside of wrestling?
Which of the following wrestling names is not a wrestler’s actual name?
As mentioned earlier, some wrestlers perform under their own names. But in WWE, it's become increasingly common for their top wrestlers to have regular names instead of theatrical 'character' names, i.e. without any 'THEs', without random one-word names, etc. Most WWE superstars get new first and last names upon entering WWE, unless they perform under their true names. One of these names isn't actually a real name, but a WWE-ism of someone's name.
Rhyno’s birth name is:
Rhyno wrestled in WWE during the first half of the 2000s, mostly in the undercard and in tag team matches. His ring name comes from his finisher, the Gore, which is basically a Spear with his own unique name added to try and distinguish it from every other wrestler that did the same move, of which there have been many. Rhyno returned to WWE fairly recently had achieved a bit more success than his first run by winning the SmackDown Live Tag Team Championships.
Which of the following wrestler is not an actual member of the extensive Anoa’I family?
The Anoa'i family is one of the most extensive wrestling families in history. It began with two Samoans, Tovale and Amituanai, who had nine children. Because wrestling has always been huge in Samoa, many of these children went into the wrestling business, and many of them had children that have also gone into wrestling. What's more, there's also the Maivia family, who, though not true Anoa'is, are considered 'blood-brothers' to the Anoa'i family. In total, at least 17 members of this extensive family were/are wrestlers.
Randy Orton’s RKO finished is based on his initials. What does the ‘K’ stand for?
Randy Orton has used the same finisher for over the decade. Somehow, the RKO has managed to become and remain one of the most popular moves in WWE. Through careful presentation and booking, the phrase 'RKO outta nowhere' has become something of an internet joke, with many videos existing of Randy Orton edited into various scenes RKO-ing people as they fall. This sort of wacky nonsense has been a major factor in Randy maintaining his popularity for such a long time.
Which of the following wrestlers changed their legal name after they started wrestling?
It's common for wrestlers to become so used to their ring names that their colleagues, fans and closest friends start calling them by those stage names. Take the Undertaker, for example. Virtually everyone refers to him as 'Taker' when talking to him, and few people, if any, refer to him even by his real-life first name. For some wrestlers, it becomes so difficult to separate the wrestler from the person that they eventually change their legal names to match their ring names.
Which of the following is Triple H’s birth name?
The man known as Triple H is one of the names that's most synonymous with WWE. He was first known as Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a Connecticut-blueblood type snob. But this character grew stale rather quickly, so he soon shortened it to Triple H, to the point that very few people recall what those letter meant. Even now, most people call him 'Hunter', completely ignoring his real name. Which makes sense, because his real life name doesn't sound as intimidating as Triple H in any way.
What is Hideo Itami’s real name?
Hideo Itami, known as KENTA prior to his WWE signing, has been one of the most unfortunate wrestlers in recent memory. He was a big deal at first, but then suffered two devastating injuries that put him on the shelf just as NXT's popularity was truly exploding. Since then, several of his peers and people that came after him have eclipsed and surpassed him. Which is sad, since he was the protégé of one of the greatest Japanese wrestlers ever.
What is Vader’s real name?
Vader is one of the greatest big men in wrestling history. Despite weighing over 400 pounds throughout his career, Vader was incredibly agile. He moved very quickly in the ring and one of his signature moves was the Moonsault. That's right, a 400-pound man could perform a diving Moonsault from the top rope like someone half his size. Unfortunately, his size and reputation weren't enough to save him in WWE, as he became another victim of backstage politics while there.
What is the Undertaker’s real name?
The Undertaker is THE most respected and revered wrestlers in WWE history. A man with unquestioned loyalty, 'Taker has been a WWE guy through-and-through for over 25 years, and has done everything there is to do there. But unlike the majority of wrestlers, Undertaker is very quiet about his private life and his dedication to protecting his gimmick is unmatched. His presence on social media is nonexistent, and even his relationship with Michelle McCool has never been mentioned directly by WWE.
What is Kane’s real first name?
Kane has been one of the most loyal wrestlers in recent WWE history. He has been more than willing to take part in what terrible gimmicks and storylines, which have tarnished his reputation as a wrestler. However, this loyalty of his has been praised many times over. Kane's also one of the smartest and most articulate WWE superstars, as seen by his videos on politics and economics. In fact, outside of wrestling, he runs his own insurance agency and is now running for mayor in Tennessee.
Allen Jones is the real name of which current WWE Superstar?
Today's WWE is at a crossroads. On one hand, there has been an enormous influx of talent that made names for themselves elsewhere, only to be signed by WWE at the peak of their popularity. On the other hand, WWE's own system has failed to create a genuine megastar apart from John Cena or Randy Orton. In fact, the only two 'pure WWE guys' that have some degree of sustained popularity are Roman Reigns, and Bray Wyatt; the rest are 'outsiders'.
Which of the following wrestlers’ real name is/was Rodney Anoa’i?
The Anoa'is are probably the single-most successful family in wrestling outside of the McMahons. Various members of their family have done everything from promoting wrestling to main-eventing WrestleMania. A lot of them have been World Champions, and some have even convinced some more naive fans they were Japanese and not Samoan. One very common trait among these Samoan wrestlers was that they were often given one-word names that made them more easily identifiable, especially since their real names must've been hard for the average American wrestling fan to pronounce.
Which of the following wrestlers also wrestled under an alter-ego ring name?
There are a few wrestlers that manage to find success by simply wrestling under their own names. This is exceptionally difficult because one has to have the right gimmick for this to work properly. This has worked for a few people. John Cena wrestles under his own name and hasn't needed much of a gimmick for over a decade; he's a straightforward WWE superstar, simple as that. Randy Orton's another example, whose family ties were the reason for his early success.
Which of the following wrestlers shares the same last name as Booker T?
It might not happen very often, but there are times when wrestlers with similar appearances or names end up in the same place. One such an instance happened with Steve Williams. At one point in the Texas wrestling scene, there were two wrestlers named Steve Williams that wrestled under that name instead of under different ring names. One of these Steve Williams kept wrestling under that name (today he's known as 'Dr. Death' Steve Williams), and the other has since become 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin.
What was ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage’s real name?
Randy Savage is still one of the most iconic wrestlers of all time. Everything about him makes him one of the most easily-identifiable wrestlers ever. His unique look and attire covered in bright, strong colors. His unique, gruff voice and signature 'Ooh Yeah' catchphrase. His entrance theme being 'Pomp and Circumstance'. Finally, he was also an excellent worker in his prime, which made him one of the most complete performers of his day. All of this made his shocking death a few years ago all the more tragic.
The name ‘Guerrero’ translates into which word in English?
The Guerreros are another famous wrestling family that has spanned generations. The patriarch of the family was Gory Guerrero, a famous Latino wrestler that invented the Camel Clutch, a move that, ironically, is now more associated with 'Arabian' wrestlers and a Bulgarian than the Latino that created it. By far, this family's greatest wrestler was Eddie Guerrero, a spectacular workhorse of a wrestler that oozed charisma and became the poster boy (poster man?) for overcoming adversity and achieving one's dreams.
Paul Wight is the real name of which current WWE Superstar?
WWE's roster is growing like never before. There are over 30 male wrestlers on each roster, and twenty women between both brands. Then there's the more than 30 talent in NXT and the 16 men in the RAW-exclusive Cruiserweight Division. Add to this all of the non-wrestling on-screen figures and you have an extensive crew of men and women that's far more than what's expected of a wrestling promotion. How is anyone, especially a casual viewer, supposed to remember and care about so many people?
In the famous ‘chef HBK’ skit, Shawn Michaels ‘boss’ called him by his real-life last name. What name did he say?
There's a famous skit involving Shawn Michaels in mid-2009. After months off, Shawn reappears on WWE programming as a chef in a kitchen of a corporate building. Triple H tries to convince Shawn to come back to WWE, but HBK remains hesitant. Then, after considerable prodding from his friend, and annoying yelling from a child, HBK superkicks his new 'boss' and then superkicks the annoying brat that kept screeching. What was funny was that this 'boss' called Shawn by his real name, which HBK insisted was a fake name.
Which of the following wrestlers has a Polish last name?
As mentioned earlier, the majority of WWE wrestlers get Anglo-Saxon ringnames when they debut. These names are often given so that they're easy to chant and remember. Foreign names are few and far between because the audience needs something that can roll of the tongue very easily. This isn't the case often with Polish names, which tend to have strange spelling and even stranger pronunciations (for example, former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzerzinski). Good luck pronouncing that.
What is Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat’s real last name?
Ricky Steamboat was one of the greatest workers of the Territories era. He was an outstanding worker during a period when there was still a strong regional divide and wrestling still wasn't truly global. Yet even then, Steamboat was a fine worker with a knack for putting on some of the best matches anywhere. Even in those days, Steamboat was one of a handful of American wrestlers to have multiple matches that were rated 5-stars by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Which of the following wrestlers has a ‘Jr.’ as part of their real name?
There have been times in wrestling when members of the same family or those with similar gimmicks have adopted similar names. The Rey Mysterio of WWE was known everywhere else as Rey Mysterio Jr., because there was another wrestler before him with that name. Similarly, Chavo Guerrero, Sr., was called' Chavo Classic' during his short WWE run. In other cases, when a new wrestler adopted an existing gimmick, they added numbers to it (e.g. Tiger Mask, Tiger Mask II, etc.)
True or False? The Ultimate Warrior’s legal name prior to his death was ‘Warrior’?
The Ultimate Warrior was one of the most high-profile stars in WWE during the late 1980s and 1990s. He was the embodiment of what Vince McMahon saw in a top star: an insanely-chiseled physique, a crazy gimmick, and immense charisma. He was pushed to the moon despite his limited moveset and often-incoherent promo style. He also had several high-profile issues backstage, including one famous argument with Vince McMahon that ultimately led to his dismissal. He wouldn't return to WWE until his Hall of Fame induction in 2014.
Which of the following famous Japanese wrestlers was actually Korean?
Japan is one of the most ethnically-homogeneous countries in the world. There is relatively little immigration into that country, and Japan has a huge sense of national identity. As a result, people of Asian origin that aren't ethnic Japanese aren't very common. In Japanese puroresu, most wrestlers perform under their birth names, because wrestling is treated more as a sport than as theatre. However, there have been a few instances where a Japanese wrestler that was actually Korean was given a more Japanese-sounding name.
Which member of the Anoa’I Wrestling Family has the birth name ‘Leati Joseph Anoa’I’?
WWE's biggest market is, of course, the United States, so whenever they bring in new wrestlers, they get rechristened with English-sounding ring names, even if they themselves have names coming from a different culture. This is done for wrestlers from virtually all ethnicities and backgrounds, and the Samoan Anoa'i family is no exception. Because many of their original names would be difficult for Americans fans, especially children, to pronounce and cheer, they were, more often than not, given short names or new, more 'American' names altogether.
Which of the following is Seth Rollins’ real last name?
Like most WWE superstars, the man once known as Tyler Black was given a new name upon signing with WWE. Upon his debut in Vince McMahon's promotion, Tyler Black was rechristened Seth Rollins, and was a member of the popular stable known as The Shield (of Justice). As a member of that trio, Rollins was the agile high-flyer and technician of the group. Later on, Rollins betrayed his Shield brothers, turned heel, and became WWE Champion due to his alignment with the Authority.