Former WWE NXT producer Ryan Katz was recently interviewed by the Handsome Genius Club podcast, during which he went into detail on WWE’s process of coming up with new names for their talents.
Wrestlers have a say on their ring names: “Ready? Here’s the secret. The talent are in on the names. They’re in on them. Like, there may be some people who get a list and have to pick something from it, but I would say a lot of times if that’s happening then I can’t say the talent’s not given, because there are times where talent may submit a lot of names and then there becomes a mix and match game and things that happen. But in the end, the talent is involved in that decision. Like, it is not – no one is just given a random gimmick. And maybe I shouldn’t say no one because, of course, there is going to be an exception to the rule and someone has been given a gimmick. But like, the talent is involved in creating their gimmick and that’s what I talked out with being undeniable is that those talent that show who they are and they express who they are and what they want to be will be that. When you’re trying to figure out a gimmick and presenting it, ‘What do you think of this?’ Then they’re going to be like, ‘Well, I don’t really like it.’ But if it’s like, ‘I’m doing this.’ Then it’s like, ‘Well, yeah. Let’s see what you got.’ Confidence is king.”
Katz thinks that the way a character is portrayed is more important than the name: “I’m actually a fan of weird names. I like goofy things. I like things that just stick out and I don’t even mind cartoony names because I’m a firm believer that the talent makes the name, the name doesn’t make the talent whether you have a bland name, whether you have a cartoony name, whether you have the coolest name in the world. If you’re not cool talent, that cool name doesn’t mean anything.”
At some point, a wrestler pitched the idea to be named Dig: “There was a wrestler pitched who wanted the name Diggs or it might’ve been Dig. Dig, Diggs. It was one of the two and it was hated. Hand across the world. The room just, no one was going to buy into that. Like, I dug it. I thought it was kind of cool. Like, ‘Well, who’s name is Dig?’ It’s like, ‘No one. That guy. That guy’s parents called him Dig,’ and that kind of helps, to me, form an identity. That guy grew up, to me, those things help make characters.”