NXT UK star, WALTER, has his name changed and now shares a name with a very unfortunate person from history.
WWE has officially changed WALTER’s name to Gunther. The change is now reflected on his WWE profile page. It isn’t uncommon for WWE to change their wrestlers’ names, but usually it’s just a nickname added like Bearcat Keith Lee or drop a name like Matt Riddle going to Riddle.
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However, WWE decided to completely change WALTER’s name. The problem is his name was originally going to be Gunther Stark, who happens to be a Nazi from World War II. WWE has dropped the Stark surname, which thankfully isn’t reflected on his profile page, as it is just Gunther. His Twitter is still under the WALTER name so maybe the name change isn’t set in stone just yet.
That Is A Terrible Coincidence
Recently it came to light that WWE had trademarked the name “Gunther Stark” and the names connection to World War II Germany came to light. However, it wasn’t known who would be using the name.
The real Günther Stark was a kapitänleutnant or a captain lieutenant and was part of a U-boat or a German submarine crew. He was part of the crew of 1936 and the crew became known as the Olympia crew as the ‘36 Olympics were held in Berlin, Germany. The crew also adopted the Olympic rings as their symbol. Stark died in 1944 in a battle fought in the English Channel at age 27.
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WWE’s Gunther is from Austria and lives in Germany. Most likely WWE wanted to lean on the Austrian/German background and give him a name which sounds more like a name from the region. The Stark surname has German origins so it would add to the effect of sounding more Austrian/German. However, Google does exist so why not put “Gunther Stark” in and search? If only to make sure some actor or musician doesn’t have the same name. In WWE’s defense it isn’t like he was a famous name or one even historians would be aware of most likely, but still a quick search should have been done.
Gunther Looking To Be The Longest Reigning NXT Champion
The Gunther name does in fact have some origin related to WALTER so there is precedent for him being called that. Kyle O’Reilly once referred to him as Gunther in a December 2019 Tweet when Imperium and The Undisputed Era were feuding. So that name didn’t come out of thin air, but it could also be a complete coincidence.
On this week’s NXT Gunther defeated Roderick Strong and post match he announced that he will now be known as Gunther. Wanting to make an impact Gunther and his Imperium factionmates, Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner, began brawling with The Diamond Mine (Strong and The Creed Brothers). Thus setting up a feud between the two factions in NXT.
Imperium also had a backstage segment where they declared their new mission to take over and dominate NXT just like they did NXT UK. They are off to a pretty good start as Barthel and Aichner are already NXT Tag Team champions.
When Gunther was on NXT UK he won the NXT UK Championship and was the longest reigning champion holding the championship 870 days. Bron Breakker needs to watch his back because when Gunther sets his sights on you a beating shortly follows.
What do you think of the Gunther name change? Do you think Gunther or WALTER is a better name? Do you think WWE will change his name again to further distance it from its origins? Leave a comment below and let us know what name you would have chosen over WALTER.
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Sources: Wrestling Inc., U-Boat.net