A WWE wrestler has had his performance name changed following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. The WWE Superstar, formerly known as Apollo Crews, has dropped his surname and will from now on be referred to as "Apollo" on all WWE programming. The wrestler, who had been recently celebrating some elevated television time on Monday Night Raw, lost his last name after top brass feared people would think of the Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz when they heard Apollo's old name.
The name change will likely have little impact on Apollo, as his surname played little part in his character's persona to begin with. Additionally, Apollo's real name is Sesugh Uhaa, so there was likely no complaint lodged by the wrestler, who does not appear to be the person who requested the name be dropped. Sportskeeda reported that decision was made by WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, who said he never wanted to hear Apollo's surname again following the Florida tragedy. The WWE has a long-standing history of paying respect during times of national tragedy and requested a moment of silence prior to the official start of the Monday Night Raw to recognize the event.
As for how far WWE will take the measure in removing "Crews" from its branding, his name has already been corrected on the wrestler's page on the WWE website, his Twitter account has been suspended (likely to create a new one) and no doubt future merchandising for Apollo will reflect his changed name. The move has been met positively by fans around the web, especially by Terry Crews, who shouted out the decision on Twitter along with another slightly confusing statement:
Terry Crews then went on to tweet "Negotiations broke down" when a fan showed a past tweet of him praising Apollo's name choice a few years back. Crews' statements could be seen as a joke, but there's also a sense in the "negotiation" tweet that the actor is hinting WWE's decision to change Apollo's name wasn't exclusively tied to the Florida tragedy. While it doesn't ultimately impact the gesture all that much, it does change the narrative a bit if true and make the fact that the name change happened despite the spelling difference between "Crews" and "Cruz" all the more interesting. Did WWE already have Terry Crews on its back about using his name and find a convenient way to spin the name change? Until either side speaks up, we can't know for sure.
WWE superstar Apollo appears on Monday Night Raw, which airs Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET on the USA Network. For the dates and times of some new shows gearing up for a premiere or return to television in 2018, head on over to our midseason premiere guide.