The world of professional wrestling is a larger than life, sports drama that is filled with some of the most colorful characters on television. It's basically a live action comic book, which is exactly why we are so passionate about it here at Comicbook.com. Often to become a larger than life superstar, aspiring wrestlers need to assume a different identity. This most often means changing one's own given name to something much cooler.
Some wrestlers were lucky enough to be born with great wrestling names, Kurt Angle, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, and John Cena all go by their own names. Other wrestlers have had to abandoned their own names for even worse names, like Dolph Ziggler, or Husky Harris. And then in the very rare case, some have had to simply do a strange reverse of their name, like when Bryan Danielson became Daniel Bryan. That just seems mean.
Vince McMahon is, of course, the great decision maker for who gets to keep their own name and who gets an upgrade. In his infinite wisdom, the WWE boss has made many of the WWE's greatest legends ditch the unfortuntate monikers their parents had spent so much time coming up with in favor of much more amazing titles.
Click through the slides to see which five WWE Legends would have completely bombed had they gone by their own names.
5. Michael Shawn Hickenbottom
I'm just a sexy Hickenbottom. I'm not your boy Hickenbottom.
Michael Hickenbottom's wrestling name and persona was originally fashioned after the popular 80s hair metal singers of the day, ie Bret Michaels of Poison. With bandannas and lots of fringe, Shawn Michaels was born.
Hard to imagine a wrestler of Michael's talent ever not rising to the top, but had he gone by his own name, Michael Hickenbottom would have had a real hard time selling merchandise!prevnext
4. Robert Alexander Szatkowski
R - A - S. When you look like Jean Claude Van Damme, coming up with a wrestling name in the 90s is pretty easy. Thankfully, the ECW legend didn't have to go by his own name or some poor airbrusher would have had a real tough time fitting Szatkowski on to his tights. Sure, it would have been interesting to hear Joey Styles scream "OH MY GOD, it's SZATKOWSKI!," but the SZATKOWSKInator just doesn't have the same ring to it.prevnext
3. Phil Brooks
What exactly does CM Punk stand for? It stands for please don't call me Phil Brooks, that's what. CM originally stood for Chick Magnet, because Punk was thrown into a tag team of the same name, but Punk's gimmick was never about being a ladies man, it was about being the Best In The World!
Would Punk have been able to capture the imagination of the WWE Universe as Phil Brooks? Yeah, I don't think so.prevnext
2. Glen Jacobs
Open up the gates of hell, let the fire reign down upon you, because the Devil's favorite Demon, the Big Red Monster, Glen Jacobs is here!
With a real name like Glen, I guess there was always a Corporate Kane lurking beneath that red leather mask.
There's only been one famous person named Glenn that anyone ever thought was a badass and his last name was Daznig.prevnext
1. Terry Eugene Bollea
No one has been blessed by a better wrestling name upgrade than the one and only, Hulk Hogan. Born with the super uncool moniker of Terry Eugene Bollea, the Hulkster would go by the names Terry Boulder and Sterling Golden before Vince McMahon finally blessed him with the most famous name in the history of wrestling, Hulk Hogan.
It's a miracle enough that a man with a skullet and handlebar mustache could become the sport's most iconic figure, but had he gone by Terry Eugene, the Hulkster would have likely ended up teaching economics at a community college.
Whatcha gonna do, brothers, when Terry Euene Bollea assigns a really difficult pop quiz to YOOOUUUUU!?!?!?!prev