WWE found itself in hot water with fans and the wrestling media after a report came out tying a trademark filed by the company to a Nazi military commander. The “Gunther Stark” trademark was filed for on January 13, 2022. The moniker was never fully used by WWE.
WALTER defeated Roderick Strong in a match on this week’s WWE NXT. After the bout was over, the Austrian strong man took the microphone to introduce himself as Gunther. The following day, WWE updated their roster page to reflect the new name. The “Stark” was dropped.
PW Insider has now reported that WWE has abandoned the trademark. In a filing on January 19, 2022, the registration was let go. It was an important course correction after an embarrassing gaffe on the part of WWE’s legal team.
Due diligence on a new trademark application performed by WWE did not include a simple Google search. Had the company done so, they could have saved what was nearly a public relations nightmare. It is unlikely that WWE intentionally named a character after a Nazi, but even the most basic online search would have revealed the correlation between the names.
WALTER will now be known simply as Gunther. The WWE Universe was not happy about the change. Even former WWE employees noted that they thought it was a bad idea.
It sounds like WWE realized their mistake in the nick of time. Gunther Stark the wrestler existed only as a humiliating footnote WWE. The legacy of Gunther is yet to be written.
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