Some wrestlers are much less without a great name. Rocky Maivia was solid, but it's no The Rock. The Ringmaster is pretty bad but Stone Cold Steve Austin is cool as hell, no pun intended. Some wrestler's names would be odd for anyone else but are perfect for them, like Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, and Balls Mahoney. In short, naming in WWE, whether it's a WWE call or chosen by the wrestler themselves is all at once vital and integral to their success. If you can't imagine the name associated with being a World Champion level main eventer in some way, maybe a rethink is in order.
Mick Foley said it in his first book, "a great name won't make you but a bad one can sure break you". He wasn't necessarily wrong but wrestling is an odd beast and sometimes a talent is too good to ignore despite a horrifically bad name. Sometimes they're quirky enough or funny enough to make it stick regardless, and sometimes they'll just hang around so long that common sense gets eroded day by day until we're happy to call them by whatever ridiculous thing we've gotten used to.
Humans acclimate to their situation, and in that way we sometimes forget that something totally strange and unbearable a month ago is just hanging around waiting for us to get used to it and ignore the absurdity. These names are totally that situation, with nonsense and weirdness slipping under the radar and now, somehow, is just another small note in the world of WWE and wrestling at large.
He's English you say? Let's give him two of the most English-y names we can think of and call it a day. Vince doesn't like it? Let's drop the less English-y one then and go with that since it's English as all hell all by itself! Somewhere this conversation took place and you can't convince me otherwise.
Perhaps only saved by the fact that the former Pac is ridiculously good in the ring and also had two of the coolest nicknames to fall back on, Neville was struck hard by the WWE name generator or his own lack of creativity in that department. 'The Man That Gravity Forgot', and 'King Of The Cruiserweights' are top shelf tags though.
At least when his name came up on the tron it had 'EVIL' right in the middle of it. That was cool even if unintentional.
14 Triple H
Sacrilege you say? Blasphemy? Well, there are a few things about this name where the more you think about it the stupider it gets. Firstly, it's never 'HHH' in WWE. Seriously, if you type that into their search engine nothing comes up. It's always 'Triple H' like it's a formal title. Secondly, it stands for two-thirds of the least badass of names imaginable.
Hunter is a good start, but Hearst and Helmsley are straight out of the Vince school of thought. They wanted preppy and snobbish for their Connecticut Blueblood, and they nailed it, which as time went on reflected exactly zero of the guy playing the part. Now it's a trivia question WWE hopes nobody asks, but it's right there to this day.
This one is purely given a pass based on tenure alone since saying the initials out loud is pointless (huhuhu?) and Triple H himself knew it and so went about giving himself the best nicknames his relationship with Stephanie could achieve like The Cerebral Assassin or King Of Kings. What game is Triple H anyway?
We got used to it, but we really shouldn't have had to. There were so many other names that Hornswoggle could've had stick but we ended up with this silliness for the majority of his career. When he first debuted as Finlay's leprechaun (WWE is an odd universe sometimes) he had the way cooler name 'Little Bastard', which fit him great because he was doing dastardly things to help his friend (at the time) and, well, he was little.
That all changed a few months after his debut when activist groups complained about a Little Person being presented with the name Little Bastard so WWE gave in and went right over into fairytale names with Hornswoggle. It was all downhill from there, with his antics getting goofier and eventually he was shoehorn(swoggl)ed in as the answer to every dumb storyline you never wanted him near. He was Vince McMahon's illegitimate son, then he was Finlay's son, then he was the Anonymous Raw General Manager. Maybe he lifted up the briefcase too and drove the hummer.
12 Kelly Kelly
When we first heard this we weren't sure if it was a mistake or a typo or a mean parent's idea of a joke, but we soon didn't care as Kelly Kelly debuted on WWECW with a smoking hot (for PG) striptease show. As with many things in wrestling the power of a beautiful woman is a sure distraction. We all would've been rolled up for the pin after watching that.
Kelly Kelly not only stuck around with the name but was the face of the Diva's division in many ways, and so even though she was the definition of the problem with the lack of wrestling talent in the division at that time, we heard her strange name so much that it just began to wash over us until we didn't register it as weird at all.
But there's one wrinkle to this tale that doubles the oddness, and that's that her real name is Barbie Blank, which whenever someone hears it for the first time, they ask how it's possible that wasn't her ring name too. It was so perfect for her.
What is it with Ron Killings and his single letter hyphenated names in WWE? In Impact Wrestling he had the infinitely cooler name Ron 'The Truth' Killings which is up there with some of the great name-nickname combos in all of wrestling, so why did he go back to his former style of name with R-Truth. Is it supposed to be a play on the words 'Are Truth'? As in, 'We Are The Truth' only shortened into a nonsense structure? It's infuriating every time this guy comes out even years later when we're kind of just used to it and give it a pass despite how silly it is.
It's not alone in the Ron Killings 'terrible name Hall Of Fame' either. His former name in WWE the first time around was K-Kwik, which sounds like chocolate milk mix or a short explanation of his speed. Apparently, he's 'K' levels of quick.
All in all, it's odd and bad and somehow we just let it slide based on time lapsed. But still, even 'Pretty Ricky' is an actual pair of full words in a name and that was his joke persona!
One of those pun or metaphoric names that was never explained and so just sat there being a weird name. You couldn't call him Test Jones or anything since that only raises more questions, so Test it was forevermore. He even changed his real life middle name to Test so he could use it outside of WWE, so he either loved it or knew he had to use the one he was known for.
You could assume it was some play on the phrase 'pass the test' and that's fair enough but beyond that little attribute, it was a name that had to be explained to newcomers whenever it came up. At least Edge is a name another megastar is using so it has some credibility just from the mainstream.
We'll never find out more due to his untimely passing but Test was a unique name that may not have been 'good', but it was something.
9 Johnny Impact
A lot of fans loved the former John Morrison even back when he was the less well-named Johnny Nitro. Then he went to Lucha Underground and became the cooler Johnny Mundo. Now he's in Impact Wrestling and he's Johnny Impact? Why? Because Eric Bischoff once named him Nitro and that was the name of that guy's show or something? Is his name just Johnny and he surnames himself after whatever show he's on? So many questions for such a great wrestler!
If Johnny came back to WWE he'd have to fight Johnny Gargano for the title of 'Johnny Wrestling' it seems, and that's too many Johnnys already. Whether it's licensing issues between companies, Johnny himself changing things up and fixing what isn't broken or just a bad idea that got through the filters, it needs to be shelved for anything better but more likely we'll just accept it as the cost for watching such an awesome grappler.
Another former 'Johnny' as Johnny Curtis, Fandango was saddled with this lackluster name right from the off and it sunk him until very recently when The Fashion Police picked up some steam. Yes, we get it. Fandango is a dance, and he came in primarily as a dancer, hence dance name. Come on WWE, it's not like you'd name a racecar driver something like 'Sparkplug' or.... nevermind.
Tyler Breeze doesn't even really call him this name either, going with the shorter, better 'Dango when they're chatting during their skits. It's going to end up as one of those names that even though people are used to it, hampers him down the line. If Fandango ever gets super popular and might challenge for the main event you know Vince is going to see this name that he came up with himself and just reject it out of hand.
Fandango is too funny and talented to be stuck so low on the totem pole due to a name forever. Let him use 'Dango as a base and come up with a surname or a new nickname, just something so there's a chance he's not stuck with this one. Carl Dango? Bill? Try some stuff out.
7 Kassius Ohno
The first name is cool and clearly inspired by Muhammad Ali's original name, but how did that last name make it through any meetings at all? That is a little kid's version of a name that could exist, and unless that's what he was going for, and it can't be that, it's going to be an anchor on him his entire WWE stay.
Surely the first name was the great idea starting point and then someone had the notion to go with a 'KO' combo name for the obvious knockout implication. With Kevin Owens sowing up that market on Raw and SmackDown the name now practically prevents him from ever moving up anyway, making it even worse the more you think about it. He had all the time between his WWE stints to come up with a replacement and yet, nothing.
This name is only getting a pass nowadays because it gave us an unreasonably fun theme song for him to walk out to, so silver linings.
6 Justin Credible
This is the ultimate pun name that should've been shelved a week after it debuted, or better yet discarded before making it into the announcer's mouth. Yes, Justin is a regular name, but once that fact is conceded it isn't carte blanche to abuse us with the godawful pun for eternity.
He used it to the hilt though, first as one-half of the Impact Players with Lance Storm (a badass name by the way) and then as an ECW World Champion. By that point, the pun and his "It's not just.." catchphrase got it past the point of oddness until we just accepted it. Sometimes with wrestling, you have to just roll with it otherwise you lose your mind, and this name is one of those times.
5 Dolph Ziggler
Is it a play on the Boogie Nights character Dirk Diggler? Is it a prank or rib on Ziggler himself? Why couldn't he use his pretty decent real name Nick Nemeth like he almost did twice before? WWE must've known how strange it was because before his in-ring debut he spent months upon months just approaching random people backstage and repeating "Hi, my name's Dolph Ziggler". None of that matters anymore and it's in the record books that a guy named Dolph Ziggler is a two-time World Heavyweight Champion.
Ziggler has done his damndest to overcome the oddness of his name, becoming one of the best wrestlers WWE has at their disposal at several key times. Now chants of "let's go Ziggler" are common when he's a good guy and ignore the fact that anyone new to wrestling does a triple-take when hearing the name.
4 Percy Watson
His nickname was 'Showtime' when he was still wrestling but now as an announcer, he's stuck with that super bad first name. Just imagining the chants of thousands of people simultaneously trying to make 'Percy-Percy-Percy' happen is rough. As the NXT commentator 3rd on the totem pole behind Mauro and McGuinness he's making a decent impression as he is improving along with the superstars down there, but without the 'Showtime' part of the name Percy is out on its own making him seem as if he is a, as Luke Gallows would say, 'Nerd'.
It's almost like his last name knows how bad the first name is. Percy. What, son?! You could even skip Percy all together and just have Showtime Watson, which is ok. Either way, each week he's announced on NXT it reminds us that we let one of the odder wrestler names off the hook this whole time.
3 Oney Lorcan
Formerly the slightly better named Biff Busick, Oney Lorcan is such a weak name that when you first hear it you're not even sure what you actually heard. Only? Owning? Oh, Knee? No amount of explaining or justification can make this odd name work for the underrated guy plying his wrestling under the moniker.
Even if it's a family name or a historical name repurposed for his in-ring career it makes little sense and lacks a lot of what makes a great ring name. It sounds soft, it has no hard consonants to hit, and he'd be better off just going with the last name Lorcan since that is likely what'll happen on the off chance he's ever called up by Vince under this gimmick. Vince is notorious these days for shortening guys names when he believes it's less marketable and Oney is exactly that.
This Impact Wrestling and ROH wrestler's real name is Quinn Ojinnaka which is so badass and ripe for a nickname to top it off that the fact he comes out to the substandard 'Moose' is top-shelf baffling. A former NFL player until 2012 when he transitioned into wrestling, the fun chant that goes along with this only slightly hides just how brutal the name is and why he cannot be taken seriously with it.
Whether it's supposed to be something like 'strong as a Moose' which is not a common phrase doesn't matter because if anyone said to you "hey, wanna go see that moose guy?' you'd expect to be going to a circus or freak show rather than a wrestling match. It's a shame too because like a lot of guys on this list Moose is quite good in the ring, especially for someone his size whose only got 5 years experience under his belt.
I mean, Quinn 'The Moose' Ojinnaka is better and it's right there and took zero seconds to think of.
1 Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake
Brutus is a cool name, there's that. Classic gladiatorial feel to it and could almost work on its own. However, 'Brother Bruti" then becomes insane with the addition of 'The Barber' Beefcake. The Barber is one of those old WWE relics from the 'wrestlers also have side jobs' era, so as dumb as it is it's excusable. But Beefcake? Beefcake? Come on.
If you don't hear Eric Cartman screaming about "BEEFCAKE" from early South Park than you're not enjoying this name's one redeeming factor. Beyond that, it is unexplainable to anyone first experiencing it. But with Brutus being a WWE staple all through the 80s and with his barbershop segment normalizing it further, we just got used to this terrible name despite itself.
Hard to tell if it was better than The Booty Man or Zodiac though.