WWE Superstars like Brock Lesnar, John Cena, and Randy Orton have been allowed to use their real names since the start of their careers. However, the majority of men and women who appear on WWE television have been given an on-screen character name.
Kevin Owens, for example, was known to wrestling fans by his real name (Kevin Steen) before he joined WWE. When he became part of the WWE NXT system, the Steen surname was removed and replaced with Owens.
Another current-day WWE Superstar, Baron Corbin, is called Tom Pestock in real life. Roman Reigns has joked in interviews that Corbin was nicknamed “Football Tom” in developmental, but that has never been mentioned on WWE TV.
While the names Kevin Steen and Tom Pestock have not been used in WWE, plenty of other Superstars’ kayfabe-breaking real names have.
In this article, let’s take a look at five times that WWE Superstars’ real names were revealed on WWE programming.
#5 CM Punk (Phil Brooks) and Triple H (Paul Levesque) – WWE RAW
WWE Superstars’ real names are not exactly a secret. In this case, CM Punk and Triple H have both used their real names in appearances outside of WWE. Still, even though their names are common knowledge, it is surprising when WWE allows its own characters to say real names on television.
This is something that simply does not happen on other TV shows. Would a Game of Thrones character refer to Jon Snow as Kit Harington during a scene? No, that would be absurd. However, in the over-the-top world of WWE, this is something that happens quite a lot.
One of the most famous examples of this came on the September 12, 2011 episode of WWE RAW. Six days before their match at WWE Night of Champions, CM Punk and Triple H exchanged some harsh words in a lengthy promo segment.
Towards the end of the promo, CM Punk said both his and Triple H’s real names:
“Sunday night, Night of Champions, No Disqualification, I’m gonna tell you a little secret, why it’s going to be so satisfying to me to kick your a**. And right now this isn’t CM Punk talking to Triple H; this is Phil Brooks talking to Paul Levesque.”
That comment from CM Punk (08:00 in the video above) drew huge gasps from the live crowd. Some fans could even be seen in the background applauding.
As part of the scripted segment, WWE’s production team cut CM Punk’s microphone. The Voice of the Voiceless then hit Triple H with the microphone and mocked him with a ‘DX chop’ taunt.