ring name
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A ring name is a type of
stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such titles are adopted for a wide variety of reasons, and may be similar or nearly identical to an individual's birth name. In so ...
used by an athlete such as a
professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches whose progress and outcome are planned in advance, typically between performers with established character roles. The wrestling matches are base ...
,
mixed martial artist
mixed martial artist
, or
boxer Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective gloves and other protective equipment such as hand wraps and mouthguards, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring. Amateur boxin ...

boxer
whose real name is considered unattractive, dull, difficult to pronounce or spell, amusing for the wrong reasons, or projecting the wrong image. Since the advent of the
Internet The Internet (Capitalization of Internet, or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''network of networks'' t ...

Internet
, it is relatively easy to discover the real name.


Professional wrestling

Ring names are much more common in professional wrestling than any other sport; famous examples include Terry Bollea becoming
Hulk Hogan Terry Eugene Bollea (, born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name A ring name is a type of stage name used by an athlete such as a Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, Mixed martial arts, mixed martial artist, or Boxing, b ...

Hulk Hogan
, Michael Shawn Hickenbottom becoming
Shawn Michaels Michael Shawn Hickenbottom (born July 22, 1965), better known by his ring name Shawn Michaels, is an American retired professional wrestler, actor, and television presenter. Regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history, he ...

Shawn Michaels
, Roderick Toombs becoming
Roddy Piper Roderick George Toombs (April 17, 1954 – July 31, 2015) was a Canadian professional wrestler, amateur wrestler, and actor, better known by his ring name A ring name is a type of stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers a ...

Roddy Piper
, Dwayne Johnson becoming
The Rock
The Rock
, Christopher Irvine becoming
Chris Jericho Christopher Keith Irvine (born November 9, 1970), better known by the ring name A ring name is a type of stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such ti ...

Chris Jericho
, and Phillip Jack Brooks becoming
CM Punk Phillip Jack Brooks (born October 26, 1978), better known by the ring name CM Punk, is an American actor, mixed martial arts commentator, retired mixed martial artist, and retired professional wrestler. He is best known for his time in WWE ...

CM Punk
. A number of wrestlers adopted their real name or a variation of it, sometimes modifying the spelling to better fit their
gimmick A gimmick is a novel device or idea designed primarily to attract attention or increase appeal, often with little intrinsic value. When applied to retail marketing, it is a unique or quirky feature designed to make a product or service "stand out" ...
, such as Dave Bautista becoming
Batista Batista is a Spanish language, Spanish or Portuguese language, Portuguese surname (although in Portuguese more common in the spelling Baptista (disambiguation), Baptista), literally meaning "Baptist" (the one who administers Baptism, as per John the ...
(later reverting to his real name for his Hollywood acting career), Patricia Stratigeas becoming
Trish Stratus Patricia Anne Stratigias (; born December 18, 1975) better known by the ring name A ring name is a type of stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such ...

Trish Stratus
, Jonathan Good becoming
Jon Moxley Jonathan David Good (born December 7, 1985), better known by the ring name Jon Moxley, is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler and actor. He is signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he ...

Jon Moxley
, Richard Fliehr becoming
Ric Flair Richard Morgan Fliehr (born February 25, 1949), better known as Ric Flair, is an American Manager (professional wrestling), professional wrestling manager and retired Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. Regarded by multiple peers and ...

Ric Flair
and Randall Poffo becoming
Randy Savage Randall Mario Poffo (November 15, 1952 – May 20, 2011), better known by his ring name Randy Savage, was an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, commentator, actor, rapper, and professional baseball, professional baseball play ...
. Others simply use part of their name, such as Bill Goldberg using Goldberg, Nicole Garcia-Colace using
Nikki Bella Stephanie Nicole Garcia-Colace (born November 21, 1983, colliqually known as Nicole Garcia) is an American reality television personality, entrepreneur and retired  professional wrestler signed to WWE under the ring name A ring name ...

Nikki Bella
, Mike Mizanin using
The Miz Michael Gregory Mizanin (born October 8, 1980) is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, actor, and media personality. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw (WWE brand), Raw WWE brand extension, brand u ...

The Miz
, Cody Runnels using
Cody Rhodes Cody Garrett Runnels Rhodes (born June 30, 1985) is an American professional wrestling, professional wrestler, promoter, businessman, and actor. He is signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW), where he serves as an Executive Vice President as well as a ...
, and Michael Wardlow using Wardlow. Many female wrestlers go solely by their first name, while many male and female wrestlers also use a nickname in addition to their real name for marketability and other reasons. Some (mostly
independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, area of the United States during the early 1930s * Independent ...
) wrestlers still go to great lengths to ensure that their real names are not publicly known. It is a highly respected tradition in Mexican
lucha libre Lucha libre (, meaning "freestyle wrestling" or literally translated as "free fight") is the term used in Mexico for professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches ...
for performers to hide their true identities, usually wrestling under masks, and revealing a luchador's identity without their permission is considered a serious offence with real-life consequences. Professional wrestlers are often referred to by their contemporaries by their ring name. In interviews,
Bret Hart Bret Sergeant Hart (born July 2, 1957) is a Canadian-American retired professional wrestler, amateur wrestler, writer, and actor. A member of the Hart wrestling family and a second-generation wrestler, he has an amateur wrestling backgroun ...
regularly referred to Mark Calaway, Curt Hennig, and Kevin Nash by their ring names (
The Undertaker Mark William Calaway (born March 24, 1965), better known by the ring name The Undertaker, is an American retired Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. Widely regarded as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, he is bes ...

The Undertaker
, Mr. Perfect, and
Diesel Diesel may refer to: * Diesel engine, an internal combustion engine where ignition is caused by compression * Diesel fuel, a liquid fuel used in diesel engines * Diesel locomotive, a railway locomotive in which the prime mover is a diesel engine ...

Diesel
). Ring names are often trademarked by the
promotion Promotion may refer to: Marketing * Promotion (marketing), one of the four marketing mix elements, comprising any type of marketing communication used to inform or persuade target audiences of the relative merits of a product, service, brand or i ...
that creates a character or gimmick for a performer. It is common to see one performer use a variety of ring names throughout their career, even if their overall persona remains similar. This is especially true in
WWE World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., d/b/a WWE, is an American integrated media and entertainment company that is primarily known for professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving ...
, which has largely forced most wrestlers that have debuted since 2006 to use a WWE-owned ring name instead of a ring name that they used on the independent circuit or, such as with
Daniel Bryan Bryan Lloyd Danielson (born May 22, 1981) is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown (WWE brand), SmackDown WWE brand extension, brand under the ring name Daniel Bryan ...
and a few others, their real name. One notable exception was made for
David Otunga David Daniel Otunga (born April 7, 1980) is an American actor An actor is a person who portrays a character in a performance (also actress; #The term actress, see below). The actor performs "in the flesh" in the traditional medium of the th ...

David Otunga
because of his real marriage to singer
Jennifer Hudson Jennifer Kate Hudson (born September 12, 1981), also known by her nickname J.Hud, is an American singer, actress, and philanthropist. Throughout her music and acting careers, Hudson has been the recipient of List of awards and nominations rec ...

Jennifer Hudson
at the time, which gave WWE some mainstream exposure.
Low Ki Brandon Silvestry (born September 6, 1979) is an American professional wrestler of Italian and Puerto Rican descent, better known by his ring name A ring name is a type of stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and ente ...
used a ring name specifically for his second TNA stint so that he would continue to hold on to his original ring name for elsewhere. Another example is the team known as
The Dudley Boyz The Dudley Boyz (also known as Team 3D) are an American professional wrestling tag team that consisted of kayfabe half-brothers Bubba Ray Dudley (Mark LoMonaco) and D-Von Dudley (Devon Hughes). The team was also joined by various The Dudley Brothe ...
in ECW and WWE and Team 3D elsewhere. WWE trademarked the "Dudley Boyz" name, leading them to have to change their name when they went to TNA. The members' individual names were also trademarked by WWE, forcing them to have to change their names. WWE partially repealed the policy in 2015, allowing wrestlers who were well known in other promotions such as
Samoa Joe Nuufolau Joel Seanoa (born March 17, 1979), is an American professional wrestler and color commentator, better known by the ring name A ring name is a type of stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers suc ...

Samoa Joe
, A.J. Styles,
Shinsuke Nakamura is a Japanese professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown (WWE brand), SmackDown brand. Prior to his main roster debut, Nakamura competed in WWE's NXT (WWE brand), ...

Shinsuke Nakamura
,
Austin Aries Daniel Healy Solwold Jr. (born April 15, 1978), best known by his ring name Austin Aries, is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler and Voice acting, voice actor. He is known for his time with Impact Wrestling, where he is a for ...
,
Bobby Roode Robert Francis Roode Jr. (born May 11, 1977) is a Canadian professional wrestler signed to WWE, where he performs on the SmackDown brand A brand is a name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or ser ...
, and Eric Young to use their long-standing ring names (or, in Nakamura and Roode's cases, their real names) as well as wrestlers who sign "Tier 2" NXT brand contracts such as
Johnny Gargano John Anthony Nicholas Gargano (born August 14, 1987) is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the NXT (WWE brand), NXT brand as Johnny Gargano and is the current NXT North Am ...

Johnny Gargano
and
Tommaso Ciampa Tommaso Whitney (born May 8, 1985) is an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the NXT (WWE brand), NXT WWE brand extension, brand under the ring name Tommaso Ciampa. He is a former ...

Tommaso Ciampa
, who wrestle both on NXT and the independent circuit to keep their ring names (or, in Gargano's case, his real name). Gargano and Ciampa have since signed exclusive WWE contracts. "In-house" WWE wrestlers still use WWE-owned ring names. In rare cases, the rights to a wrestler's ring name may be owned by a company with little or no connection to professional wrestling, such as
Marvel Comics Marvel Comics is the brand name and primary imprint of Marvel Worldwide Inc., formerly Marvel Publishing, Inc. and Marvel Comics Group, a publisher of American comic books and related media. In 2009, The Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel Ent ...
' ownership of the name
Hulk Hogan Terry Eugene Bollea (, born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name A ring name is a type of stage name used by an athlete such as a Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, Mixed martial arts, mixed martial artist, or Boxing, b ...

Hulk Hogan
until early 2003, which was due to Hogan being advertised as "
The Incredible Hulk The Hulk is a fictional superhero A superhero or superheroine is a stock character that possesses abilities beyond those of ordinary people, who typically uses his or her powers to help the world become a better place, or is dedicated to ...
Hogan" early in his career, while Marvel owned the trademark for their comic book character. Sometimes, a wrestler will buy the rights to their own ring name; for example, Steve Borden owns the rights to the name
Sting Sting may refer to: *Stinger A stinger (or sting) is a sharp organ found in various animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the Kingdom (biology), biological kingdom Animalia. With few ex ...

Sting
and licenses it to the musician of the same name. The wrestler formerly known as
Test Test(s), testing, or TEST may refer to: * Test (assessment), an educational assessment intended to measure the respondents' knowledge or other abilities Arts and entertainment * Test (2013 film), ''Test'' (2013 film), an American film * Test ( ...
took this one step further and legally changed his name to "Andrew Test Martin". Jim Hellwig, known as
The Ultimate Warrior Warrior (born James Brian Hellwig; June 16, 1959 – April 8, 2014) was an American Professional wrestling, professional wrestler, who most famously wrestled under the ring name The Ultimate Warrior for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now ...

The Ultimate Warrior
, had his name legally changed to simply "Warrior". In many cases, ring names evolve over time as the wrestler's gimmick changes, either subtly or dramatically. After debuting in WWE as the "
Connecticut Connecticut () is the southernmost state in the New England New England is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. It is bordered by ...
Blueblood" Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Paul Levesque's character later morphed into
Triple H Paul Michael Levesque (born July 27, 1969), better known by the ring name A ring name is a type of stage name A stage name is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, comedians, singers, and musicians. Such titles a ...
. A more drastic change sometimes occurs when a wrestler turns heroic or villainous, such as when Hulk Hogan joined the villainous nWo (New World Order) and became "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan. His new attitude was enhanced by changing his costume color scheme from his famous red and yellow to nWo's black and white. Steve Williams adopted the ring name
Steve Austin Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson, December 18, 1964; later Steven James Williams) is an American actor, producer, television host, podcast host and retired professional wrestler Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibitio ...

Steve Austin
to avoid confusion with the then-more established performer "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Austin would wrestle under that name for several years before signing with the WWF and being given the name "the Ringmaster". This gimmick failed to catch on, and Austin reverted to his established name, reaching his greatest level of success with the prefix "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.


Boxing

Numerous boxers have used ring names or nicknames as their mode of identification during their professional boxing careers, particularly during the late 19th century and the early 20th century. The ring name "Kid" was particularly popular, indicating the boxer's comparative youth. Since the mid 20th century, ring names for boxers have typically been less common, although nicknames have become more popular in recent years. Famous examples of boxers who used ring names include: *
Kid Azteca Luis Villanueva Páramo (June 21, 1913 – March 16, 2002) was a Mexican boxer best known as ''Kid Azteca''. Villanueva boxed professionally from 1932 to 1961, making him one of a small number of fighters that fought during four decades. Archie Mo ...
*
Kid Chocolate ''For the boxer of the same nickname see Peter Quillin.'' Eligio Sardiñas Montalvo (January 6, 1910 – August 8, 1988), better known as Kid Chocolate, was a Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links ...
*
Kid Diamond
Kid Diamond
*Kid Gavilán, Kid Gavilan *Juan Meza, Kid Meza *Jack Kid Berg *Ted Kid Lewis *Jersey Joe Walcott *Joey Giardello *Rocky Marciano *Rocky Graziano *Takaloo


Global use

* In Japan, sumo wrestlers use a ring name called ''shikona'' ( ja, 四股名 or 醜名). Other martial artists use 'martial names' or 'warrior names' called Bugō. * In Mexico, Puerto Rico, and other parts of Latin America,
lucha libre Lucha libre (, meaning "freestyle wrestling" or literally translated as "free fight") is the term used in Mexico for professional wrestling Professional wrestling is a type of athletic exhibition and entertainment involving wrestling matches ...
wrestlers use ring names and conceal their identities with masks. * In Latin America, boxers often use nicknames alongside their real names, and both may be used each time they are introduced. Examples include Wilfred Benítez, Wilfred "El Radar" Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Wilfredo "Bazooka" Gómez, and Alexis "El Flaco Explosivo" Argüello. * In Thailand, both professional boxers and Muay Thai kickboxers tend to use the last name as their stable or gym, for example Khaosai Galaxy, Khaokor Galaxy, Sot Chitalada, Samart Payakaroon, Kongtoranee Payakaroon, Namphon Nongkee Pahuyuth, Namkabuan Nongkee Pahuyuth, Ratanapol Sor Vorapin, Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, Saen Sor Ploenchit, Chatchai Singwangcha, Saman Sorjaturong, Veeraphol Sahaprom, Veeraphol Nakornlouang Promotion, Nawaphon Nakornloung, Nawaphon Nakornloung Promotion. Also the names of commercial brands have been introduced as fighters' last name, as part of sponsorship deals. As such, these names are liable to change if the brand sponsoring the fighter changes. Some examples of fighters who have taken the name of their commercial sponsor are: Samson Dutch Boy Gym, Yodsanan 3-K Battery, Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym, Teerachai Kratingdaenggym, Knockout CP Freshmart etc.


In fiction

Lisbeth Salander's kickboxing ringname and Computer hacker, hacker handle is Wasp, and she has a wasp tattoo on her neck.


See also

* Stage name * Code name * Aviator call sign * Nickname * Pseudonym * Shikona


References


External links


Wrestlers Real Names List
{{Personal names Professional wrestling slang Pseudonyms Boxing culture Martial arts culture Wrestling culture