One of the funniest moments from Monday night’s Super Shake-Up edition of WWE Raw was the debut of NXT Tag Team Champions War Raiders, Hanson and Rowe, now hilariously identified as “Erik” and “Ivar,” “The Viking Experience.” WWE stars undergo name changes (and name-shortenings) all the time, but a team going from Metalocalypse to a ride at EPCOT was too much for us to handle.
So what turned these guys into Erick Aybar at the last minute? You’ve probably heard that maybe Vince McMahon didn’t want a team with the name “war” in their name on the show due to advertising, or that he didn’t want chants throwing up horns and chanting “WAR! WAR! WAR!” between fried chicken commercials. Maybe it was a legal rights branding issue?
Per the Wrestling Observer, the answer’s a lot simpler (and disappointing) than you think.
“There’s nothing to do with ‘war’, Vince just wanted to change the name, that’s all. He didn’t like ‘War Raiders’ and he wanted to change the name. That’s all there is to it. There’s no other reason. Vince just on the day of the show, on Monday, decided he didn’t like the name and told them to come up with a new one.“
There you have it. The 73-year old man in charge of the company who can rewrite a team of creatives’ work an hour before the show starts “didn’t like the name” of a team that’s been on one of his promotion’s brands for a year and are its current champions. And the best they could come up with to please him at the last second was WWE Superstar Erik® and WWE Superstar Ivar™, your hosts for the Norse 4-D tour.
Fingers crossed that the entire wrestling community dunking on the name for a week embarrasses them into reverting the name, or at least giving them something better than “The Viking Experience.”