wrestling / News

Backstage Rumor on Why Vince McMahon Changed WWE Names for Rusev & Cesaro, Note on Dabba Kato

September 15, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Dabba Kato NXT Babatunde WWE

– During today’s Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer commented on why some years back, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon opted to infamously shorten the name of WWE Superstars. For example, former WWE Superstar Alexander Rusev (aka Miro) became just “Rusev.” Also, current WWE Superstar Antonio Cesaro became just “Cesaro.” Numerous other WWE Superstars have had their names shortened or tweaked over the years in WWE. More recently, Babatunde had his WWE ring name changed to “Dabba Kato.”

According to Meltzer, Vince McMahon 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.”

Something similar is alleged to have happened to the former Antonio Cesaro. Vince 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.

Conversely, Babatunde debuted on Raw Underground as “Dabba-Kato.” Meltzer noted 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. As such, if Dabba Kato were to ever leave WWE and go to another promotion, he wouldn’t be able to use the name he worked under in WWE.