WWE has reportedly abandoned its trademark filing for "Gunther Stark," Fightful.com reports.
The decision comes after Fightful had previously reported Tuesday (January 18) that the company trademarked the name, which is the same as a Nazi Germany U-boat commander during World War II, for entertainment purposes on January 13.
Hours later, former NXT UK champion WALTER defeated Roderick Strong in the main event of NXT 2.0 on Tuesday (January 18) night before grabbing a microphone and declaring that the winner of the match was "Gunther," and his WWE.com profile was officially changed after the show aired.
Critics were unaware that the "Gunther" moniker would be given to WALTER, who is Austrian, until the former NXT UK champion declared himself as such during NXT 2.0's final minutes of airtime, leading to speculation that the full name would eventually be used.
Keith Lee, a former NXT champion who was recently among the more than 80 former WWE superstars released by the company last year, criticized the name change to his longtime friend and former colleague.
"Man....if what I'm hearing is real.....Poor Walter," Lee tweeted.
Wrestling podcaster Kenny Majid also responded to the revealed name change, acknowledging a previous tweet in which he joked that the "Gunther Stark" trademark was intended for WALTER, noting that "I truly believed that I was in fact kidding" at the time.
Numerous others shared critical responses to the name change both for its obvious offensive ties and being what many viewed as an unnecessary move regardless.
WALTER signed with WWE in 2019 and spent the majority of his tenure competing on the NXT UK brand, before debuting on NXT 2.0 in the United States earlier this month.