Triple H takes really good care of his top NXT talent and he wants the best for them. This obviously includes The Viking Raiders when were called up from NXT.
After a long run as War Machine on the indies and New Japan, the Viking Raiders came to NXT where they were called the War Raiders. Then Vince McMahon had a much different idea for their name.
Erik explained on After The Bell that when they arrived at their first episode of WWE RAW, they were met with a very unexpected surprise. Vince McMahon was toying with some new names for the duo. This was something that he ultimately changed, but Erik and Ivar did wrestle one week as The Viking Experience.
“Then we’re ringside, Ivar comes out, a graphic comes on the screen and there’s a cartoon Viking guy and it says Viking Experience. At first it said Berzerkers, then we were War Raiders and then Viking Experience, we watched the screen change to this and we looked at Hunter [Triple H] and said ‘are they messing with us?’ He just shook his head and told us to ‘go see Vince’. We went and spoke to Vince, at this point because it’s so late in the day we weren’t even going to approach the subject of Ivar and Erik – we needed to tackle the Viking Experience name.”
“We knew at this point we weren’t going to be Hanson and Rowe. The primary focus was The Viking Experience. We caught Vince as he was going somewhere else and we pleaded our case about the name. It sounded like a Disney name and there were 10 names we gave him. The last one we gave him was Viking Raiders and he kind of paused on that one. He said they would introduce us as Viking Experience and if they didn’t feel it they would rename us to something else.”
“But he also put over how much he loves the TV show Vikings and he loves Vikings in general and mentioning our wrestling gear, our armor and Viking details from history. So we felt confident that he liked us and our work – we were happy to hopefully in the weeks to come to get that tag team name changed.”
“I wonder what would have happened if we landed on time and maybe we could have had more input. Thank god the next week came and we were The Viking Raiders. The Viking Raiders is the original name we pitched when we were coming into NXT, funny enough.”
Thankfully, Vince McMahon changed his mind, but they were very close to making that Viking Experience name stick. If it weren’t for them going and having a conversation about their new name, Vince McMahon would have made that name stick because he obviously thought it was a good idea at the time.
Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the quote