WWE should have done a quick Google search before filing a trademark application to rename one of its wrestlers.
Austrian-born Walter Hahn has been the biggest star of WWE’s NXT UK brand since signing with the company in 2019, wrestling under the mononym Walter (often stylized as WALTER to emphasize his hard-hitting, intimidating nature). Earlier this month, he joined the stateside NXT brand, reuniting with Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel of his Imperium stable.
On Jan. 13, the same day that Walter’s final NXT UK match aired, WWE filed a trademark application for the ring name Gunther Stark. The filing flew under the radar until Louis Dangoor of British website Give Me Sport pointed out on Tuesday that just a few seconds of research was enough to find that “Gunther Stark” was the name of the commander of a Nazi U-boat sunk in the English Channel in 1944.
On Tuesday night, after winning his match against Roderick Strong, Walter announced that he would now be known as Gunther.
WWE is presumably smart enough to have dropped Walter’s new last name at the last second after its origins became publicized, but that isn’t the only Nazi-adjacent imagery Imperium has trafficked in recently. Last week, Barthel (who is from Germany) tweeted and deleted the phrase “IMPERIUM over everything,” according to German site Power Wrestling, a reference to the first verse of the German national anthem. Since the end of World War II, only the third verse of the…