On today’s edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer commented on the reason why Vince McMahon opted to infamously shorten the names of several WWE Superstars, particularly Rusev and Cesaro. For example, Alexander Rusev (aka Miro) became just “Rusev.” Current WWE Superstar Antonio Cesaro became just “Cesaro.” Numerous other WWE Superstars have had their names shortened or tweaked over the years in WWE as well, such as Babatunde who had his WWE ring name changed to “Dabba Kato.”
Vince McMahon reportedly held a meeting where he apparently said that the first name for Rusev had to be dropped. When McMahon was asked why he wanted the change, he responded, “If we call him ‘Alexander Rusev,’ people are going to start calling him Alex, and Alex is not a good name for a heel.”
A similar situation unfolded for Antonio Cesaro. McMahon reportedly said on Cesaro, “People are going to start calling him, ‘Tony,’ and Tony is not a heel name, so we got to drop the first name.” Thus, Alexander Rusev became Rusev in WWE, and Antonio Cesaro was re-dubbed as just Cesaro.
Babatunde debuted on RAW Underground as “Dabba-Kato.” WWE changed his name to Dabba Kato for the main roster since the wrestler would own the name “Babatunde” since it’s part of his real name, Babatunde Aiyegbusi. Therefore, if Dabba Kato were to ever leave WWE and go to another promotion, he wouldn’t be able to use the name outside of WWE.