In WWE, a wrestler's name is more than just something the ring announcer shouts into a microphone as they walk down the aisle (or run, or skip, or whatever). What's in a name? Well, letters, obviously. It's also, more importantly, part of your branding - it's the name associated with your character, and vice versa. You want your name to create an image in a fan's mind, sight unseen. ("You," of course, being the hypothetical WWE wrestler in this scenario, obviously. Obviously, it's not that important if you're, say, an accountant or something.)
Getting saddled with a dumb name can be a major hurdle in achieving success in the wrestling world. Some wrestlers have been able to overcome this and either make the name work (think of how "The Undertaker" sounded back in 1991 before it was associated with the American Badass) or were able to shed it all together and create a new identity (remember when Bray Wyatt used to be named Husky Harris? Sorry to remind you if you forgot) - usually through sheer tyranny of will.
While some legendary stars have come close to having to make due with a stupid name ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin could have been called "Chilly McFreeze" at one point), others weren't as fortunate, but managed to shrug it off and save their careers (as well as their pride). Here are five of those WWE stars and the crummy names they rode in on.
#5 Former WWE Champion Rey Mysterio was once an insect and a lizard
For pretty much, say, 97% of his career, Rey Mysterio has always been just "Rey Mysterio," save for the years he had "Jr." tacked on to the end of it. The original Rey Mysterio was his uncle, and he bestowed upon him the use of the name after training him. But not right away.
Starting his career in 1989 (and 14 years old, to boot), Rey went by names such as "La Lagartija Verde" ("The Green Lizard") and "Colibri" ("Hummingbird"). Not exactly the most intimidating members of the animal kingdom, really. (Although "Colibri" is also the name of the world's first hummingbird-based side scrolling shooter video game, so there's that.) Eventually, as is custom in lucha libre, his uncle gave him permission to use the title "Rey Mysterio, Jr."
When he arrived in WWE in 2002, Rey would drop the "Jr." from his name during his time there. He had allegedly received permission from his uncle to do so, though I wasn't really able to verify it. WWE also had him return to wearing his trademark mask, which he had been coearced into removing while in WCW.
Compared to some of the other names on here, this one is a little tame. But that's why we put it at number five. This next one involves one of the biggest stars ever in WWE - The Rock - but possibly not for the name you're thinking of.