Rumors are running wild that the name Viking Experience was not the first name change thrown out by WWE when they moved Hanson and Rowe off of the War Raiders gimmick.
During the first half of the Superstar Shake-up on Raw, the War Raiders made their debut with the main roster of WWE. Only, they weren't known as the War Raiders any longer. Coming to Raw without the NXT Tag Team Championships, the former duo of Hanson and Rowe had become Erik and Ivar, and were being labeled The Viking Experience.
It was a name change that, for the most part, got chewed up and spit out by the WWE Universe on social media, including by former members of the WWE roster.
So maybe #VikingExperience wouldn’t have been my first choice, BUT, had there been social media in 1996, I’m guessing the name #Mankind would not have been greeted with much happiness either. Enjoy this match with Fergal ....um, Finn Balor.— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) April 16, 2019
However, a recent report suggests Viking Experience almost didn't happen. Before WWE settled on the name, they tossed around another idea. That idea was to call the team The Bezerkers.
According to PW Insider, "At one point, the duo was slated to be billed as The Bezerkers but it changed as they moved closer to debuting." While it's uncertain as to why the company chose not to go with the alternate name, it's not hard to make logical assumptions.
In the '90s, WWE had a character on their roster named the Berzerker. Much like the current team of The Viking Experience, he too was a Viking, often known by fans as the big guy who would say "huss, huss, huss" all the time and managed by Mr. Fuji. He didn't last long, probably because he was a stereotype and just recently, he made headlines for a DUI arrest.
WWE thought better of the Bezerker name change and went instead with the name fans saw and hated on Monday.
What This Means
Knowing the two choices were Viking Experience and Bezerkers, you have to wonder why WWE even changed The War Raiders’ name in the first place. It was a popular name on a popular team that was tearing up NXT.
Some are assuming the change is reflective of WWE not wanting the word "War" on WWE programming, but if that's the case, someone needs to remind Vince that for years, Raw was literally War thanks to the "Raw is War" tagline and the name of the tv show is war spelled backward.