The WWE is a wacky company, especially when you assess the fact that they hold the rights of your very own ring name. Take Cody Rhodes for example, there’s a reason he’s only known as Cody on the indies and that’s due to the fact that the WWE holds ownership of the word 'Rhodes' in his last name. Born Cody Garrett Runnels, Cody was not born with the Rhodes family name. If he was, the WWE would have likely changed his name to something that they can hold ownership of. Instead, they own the Rhodes name which is quite baffling and truly laughable.
Superstars using their actual name is a rarity in the field, if they do have the luxury of using their real name, they can use that name freely wherever they go without restrictions.
On this list, we take a unique look at certain performers you might have thought use a real name, however, that’s not the case as you’ll see in this article. From Enzo Amore to Dana Brooke, you’ll be surprised at how many names the WWE rebranded. Enjoy the article folks and like always, be sure to share it with a friend. Without further ado, here are 15 current WWE stars you likely didn’t know use a fake name. Let’s begin, ring the bell!
15 Randy Orton – Randal Orton
Okay, so Orton’s name might not be completely different, however in his real-life, Orton goes by the name Randal Keith Orton. Just imagine Michael Cole screaming at the top of his lungs: “Randal just hit an RKO out of nowhere”..... No. Just no!
The 37 year old is still going strong with World Wrestling Entertainment nowadays. Nearing his 40s, his schedule isn’t what it used to be as the WWE has pulled him off from live shows in the past to facilitate his schedule a little more, although he is on television on a weekly basis. Today, Orton’s appreciating his time in the ring and that’s in large part due to his life outside of the ring as a happy family man, taking care of multiple children alongside his new wife, Kimberly Kessler.
14 Jeff & Matt Hardy – Jeffrey Nero Hardy & Matthew Moore Hardy
Like Randy, the tweaks to their names really aren’t that shocking, however Matt and Jeff use abbreviations to their ring names. Jeff, is actually known as Jeffrey Nero (hence the Brother Nero gimmick), while Matt, is Matthew Moore Hardy and not Matthew “Broken” Hardy...
Hard to believe the two broke into the WWE in 1994... let that sink in for a minute. Small in stature, the two began at a young age with the company serving as enhancement talents. For the youngsters, it was a way to get their feet inside the door. Making his debut as a pushover type of wrestler, Jeff used the name Keith Davis (yeah, that’s pretty lame).
The brothers would officially breakout in 1998 becoming an iconic tag team duo. Who could have predicted that two decades later, they’d still be more over than ever before with the WWE in their 40s!
13 Enzo Amore – Eric Arndt
A lifelong fan of the WWE, Enzo was a long way away from becoming a WWE Superstar just years ago. He had no prior experience in the industry; all he really was, was a super-fan that knew how to run his mouth. It was that mouth of his that earned him a job with the company after his trainer showed Triple H a compilation of Amore cutting promos. Fast forward to now and it’s pretty clear that the company made the right decision.
They also made the right decision in changing his name. Known as Eric Arndt, that kind of name certainly doesn’t scream out “Certified-G.” The Jersey boy would end up changing his name to Eric Anthony while at the Performance Center. Now that’s a lot better than his real name, however the company wisely chose to rebrand his name once again before he began with NXT. We can’t think of a better suited name than Enzo Amore for the current Cruiserweight Champion.
12 Jinder Mahal – Yuvraj Singh Dhesi
Yes, we could have lived in a world that featured Y2J, RVD and YSD (a play on Jinder’s real initials). However, the WWE instead wisely opted for Jinder Mahal because like, just imagine a WWE commentator having to say Yuvraj over and over during a WWE telecast. Nope, that just won’t happen, even if it is an authentic Indian name.
As many fans know by now, Mahal’s ride to the top wasn’t the smoothest as his pro wrestling journey began way back in 2002. He wasn't gifted with natural in-ring talent, however his size alone was enough to get him recruited by the company. His first run was quite disastrous and his second run looked to be headed in the same direction. However, Mahal would receive the push of a lifetime by the company and he continues to thrive as the champion up until this point since the Backlash PPV. Thankfully, Jinder Mahal is the name on the championship plate and not his previous alias, Tiger Raj Singh.
11 Titus O’Neil – Thaddeus Michael Bullard
Yes, we do in fact live in a world in which Titus O’Neil uses a fake name. Seriously speaking, did you really know that wasn’t his actual name? Well, if you followed his football career, you knew he was rebranded by the WWE as he previously went by the name Thaddeus Michael Bullard. Easily, he could have been branded as Notorious TMB.....
He ended up changing his name to Titus, which is much better than Rufus Patterson, a name he once used. Rufus Patterson sounds more like a mechanic or something, not a WWE Superstar by any means...
At the age of 40, Titus’ days in the ring are limited nowadays as he serves a more 'managerial role' for his Titus Brand faction. A gifted public speaker, O’Neil has served a tremendous purpose as an ambassador for the company.
10 Bobby Roode – Robert Roode Jr.
He began his wrestling journey in the late 90s and who would have thought that at the age of 40, not only is he still wrestling but he’s enjoying the run of a lifetime with the WWE after spending more than a decade with TNA?! Roode finally decided to roll the dice and took a leap of faith leaving TNA. His decision worked out perfectly as not only did he become NXT Champion, but his popularity reached new heights with the company. Whether it be his epic theme song, perfect robe or precision skills in the ring, Roode has fired on all cylinders thus far.
Throughout his lengthy career, he’s undergone several name changes. Roode once went by the name Mark Rude and even, Lee Awesome, which really aren’t all that bad. He even used his real name Robert Roode, at one point in his career as well.
9 Dana Brooke – Ashley Mae Sebera
Dana Brooke is another WWE Superstar you likely thought was actually named Dana in real-life. However, avid followers of bodybuilding know her as Ashley Mae Sebera, her actual name.
In a rarity of sorts, Triple H recruited the bodybuilder from the Arnold Classic. Nowadays, most NXT talents have somewhat of a wrestling background, but Dana was an exception as she joined the company based off of her image. Usually, Triple H’s judgment is right on the money but in this case, it missed the mark quite a bit. Dana wasn’t ready for a call up but instead, the WWE chose to call her up despite the short-lived stint down in development. With talent at an all-time high on the main roster, Brooke has become a big time afterthought. At this point, a stint back in NXT wouldn’t be the worst thing for the 28 year old.
8 Eric Young – Jeremy Fritz
After graduating from high school, Young began his pro wrestling journey in the late 90s. He found a stable position with TNA in 2004 playing to his Canadian roots as a member of the Team Canada faction. With a name like Jeremy Fritz, you’d think he was German and not Canadian.
He feuded with “Robert Roode” in TNA back in 2006; who would have thought that a decade later both talents would be in the WWE? Like Roode, the veteran spent his entire career with TNA from 2004 all that way till 2016. After 12 years with the company, he departed, debuting with NXT, however he was not under contract during his first appearance. Young would eventually sign and he’s now thriving as the leader of the Sanity group. A main roster call up seems inevitable for 2018.
7 Pete Dunne – Peter Thomas England
At the age of 23, it’s hard to believe that we can reference Dunne as a veteran in the business. After all, by the age of 12 he was already training for a career as a pro wrestler. By 2011, his career was already in full force joining Attack! Pro Wrestling. The future is brighter than ever for the talent over in North America; when the time comes, we’ll be seeing a lot of the English native over on WWE TV.
Interestingly enough, his real name, Peter England also sounds pretty bada** and a name that some might actually prefer. He previously used the name as well. Other names he went by include Streetfighter Ken, which is downright hilarious, along with The Tiger Kid, which, well, is way too generic and a name he likely used as a teen.
6 Jason Jordan – Nathan Everhart
No, his real name isn’t Jason Angle... This talented Superstar has seen his stock plummet since taking part in the ridiculous story that saw him revealed as the long lost son of Kurt. He was removed from American Alpha and proceeded to join Raw as a member of the roster, the only problem, the crowd was having none of the story and he remains colder than a piece of ice despite his obvious natural talent. At this point, the best call would be to scrap this storyline and send him back to SmackDown alongside Gable.
Okay so storylines aside, (real name) Nathan Everhart was recruited by the WWE through the amateur wrestling pipeline, so yeah, you can see why the WWE go so excited about his potential. He struggled with NXT but really found his footing with Gable in a tag team. We hope he can once again find himself despite this horrific story he’s currently working with.
5 Alicia Fox – Victoria Elizabeth Crawford
Admit it, you thought Alicia Fox was her real name, didn't you? After all, she’s nicknamed Foxy on Total Divas. But no, the long time WWE veteran is actually known as Victoria Crawford. She also used the name Tori at one point in time according to the archives.
Hard to believe that the lovely Texas native joined the company almost a decade ago in 2008 and she’s still a part of the company today. Although her storylines have been rather inconsistent, she’s now enjoying a decent push as she just won the honors to captain Team Raw during the Survivor Series women's tag team match. Not too bad for the 31 year old who without a doubt deserves such a gig. With only one Divas Championship under her belt, we hope she can add one more championship to her resume before calling it a day with the company.
4 Chad Gable – Charles Betts
Similar to Jordan, Gable had a prestigious amateur wrestling background even competing in the summer Olympics. He joined NXT shortly after his Olympic journey and boy, did he ever catch on quick! Gable’s stock peaked as a member of American Alpha as the duo was extremely over in development. Fans salivated thinking about the tag team joining the main roster and taking on the top teams.
Of course, those expectations plummeted due to horrendous booking. While Jordan fled to Raw, Gable continues over on SD working alongside Shelton Benjamin in a tag team. Born Charles Betts, the 31 year old has insane skills and we seriously hope the WWE does not squash his potential.
Oh, and for his name, the Gable part pays homage to the great Olympian amateur wrestler Dan Gable.
3 Baron Corbin - Thomas Pestock
Baron Corbin personifies what the initial purpose of the WWE’s Performance Center was, and what NXT was all about. Known as Thomas Pestock during his NFL days, the former Arizona Cardinal was rebranded to Baron Corbin when making the transition into pro wrestling and joining the WWE.
Unlike others, the company wisely took their time with Corbin knowing they had some serious potential. He joined in 2012 and it wasn’t till 2016 that he joined the main roster, winning the prestigious Andre the Giant Battle Royal. The company remains high on his potential as the Superstar is a former Money in the Bank winner and the current US Champion. At the age of 33, the talent continues to gain much needed experience over on SmackDown Live. A title run with the major championship doesn’t seem like an impossibility down the line.
2 Charlotte Flair – Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr
Okay, so we might have blown your mind a little bit, especially the casual fan. Not only is her name not Charlotte, but heck, even her last name is incorrect! We want to blow your mind a little bit more; did you know Ric Flair’s actual name doesn’t include Flair or Fliehr at all? Before changing his name, Ric was known as Fred Phillips.... Mind blown! Just imagine for a second: “making his way to the ring, the Nature Boy Fred Phillips!” No. Just no.
Hard to believe that wrestling wasn’t in Charlotte’s foreseeable future back in her 20s. She decided to take the leap of faith back in 2012 joining NXT and you can say the decision has paid off quite nicely for The Queen. She’s a natural at her craft and we expect Charlotte to rival her father’s streak at some point down the road.
1 Dean Ambrose – Jonathan David Good
From an early age, there wasn’t anything else Dean Ambrose wanted to do with his life. Despite a troubled upbringing at home, he found happiness in pro wrestling. Joining hardcore promotions early on, Dean made his name on the indies before signing a WWE developmental deal. Despite signing the deal, he still lived in poverty for a little while, up until he decided to move in with Big Cass (out of all people).
From Jon Moxley to Moxley Moxx, you’d think his real last name was Moxley but no, his actual name is Jonathan David Good. WWE once again rebranded him to Dean Ambrose, a name that seems to be extremely fitting given his wacky attitude. At the age of 31, the Vegas resident continues to play a crucial role on the Monday night show.
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