Apollo Crews is the latest WWE Superstar to undergo a name change as he will simply be known as Apollo going forward.
The change was made official on Feb. 19 as WWE shortened his ring name on the company website. His profile page on WWE.com now only calls him Apollo.
He’s obviously not the first wrestler to get re-branded by WWE by cutting out either their first or last name. It’s actually been a trend in recent years.
Elias (Samson), (Luke) Harper, (Erick) Rowan, Big E (Langston), (Antonio) Cesaro, (Adrian) Neville, (Alexander) Rusev and others are billed differently than when they were first introduced by WWE. When this happens, this is usually because Vince McMahon feels that the ring name sounds better shortened. However, in Apollo’s case, there’s a different reason for the change.
According to a report by Daniel Wood of Sportskeeda.com hours after the change was made, WWE confirmed in an email that the name change was made due to the tragic high school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, where 17 people were killed and 15 more were taken to hospitals, making it one of the world’s deadliest school massacres. The suspected perpetrator, Nikolas Cruz, was arrested shortly afterward and confessed to the shooting. He was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
According to Woods, WWE wants to avoid any possible allusion to Cruz. This decision came straight from Vince McMahon as the WWE Chairman and CEO never wants to hear that last name again following this tragedy. Despite the spelling difference, the pronunciation is the same.
There have been doubts about the accuracy of the report by wrestling fans, but Dave Meltzer confirmed it as true in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
Meltzer confirmed Wood’s report through people in WWE who have seen internal emails that it was a decision made by McMahon because of Nikolas Cruz.
WWE never denied the story to Meltzer, as they would only say that they never released that information to any media source. However, the reason for the dropping of the Crews name wasn’t supposed to leak.
Apollo had been working under his former name since August 2015 when he was apart of NXT. The inspiration for the name appears to come from fictional boxer Apollo Creed from the Rocky movies and actor Terry Crews. When the name was introduced, Terry Crews sent a tweet to the wrestler saying he loves it.
@ApolloCrews LOVE THE NEW NAME!
Represent it WELL!
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) August 6, 2015
Terry Crews feels differently about the name, saying WWE stole it in light of the news of the change.
Apollo had to drop the Crews because Terry Crews has massive heat with the same lizard people that run WWE.
— Joe Somar (@joesomar) February 19, 2018
— terrycrews (@terrycrews) February 19, 2018