Viking Experience Vs. War Raiders: What’s In A Name?

This might be a touchy subject for some, as when NXT’s Tag Team Champions, formerly-known as the War Raiders, debuted on last night’s RAW during the Superstar Shake Up as the Viking Experience, it felt like a bomb went off on Twitter.

Maybe some people don’t like change; maybe the Viking Experience sounds lame to some; and maybe War Raiders is that much cooler. Maybe it rubs people the wrong way, since their original-original name was War Machine, and here we go … another name change! Maybe this is the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to the fans’ perception of how Vince McMahon just loves to try in fix things that aren’t broke; maybe it feels to fans that he lacks control over NXT talent, so once they hit the main roster, he’s looking for any way to change things.

Maybe it’s all and none of those things rolled together, but many fans were displeased with the idea that “War Raiders” turned to “Viking Experience” last night in a blink of an eye.


I’m probably the anomaly here, but I sincerely don’t care when a superstar’s name changes. From recent changes with Apollo, to Andrade, to now the Viking Experience, I focus on the mic skills, promo work, and in-ring capabilities of a superstar; I focus on character confidence and whether I’m being entertained. When it comes to name changes, I see this as an evolution or potential opportunity for talents. Change, to me in any capacity, is always welcomed.

But now, I didn’t really dig deeper into the idea of the “whys” until I fell across the below tweet from legend and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley.

He’d go on to tweet the following, in which Brian “Road Dogg” James would chime in:

Why am I sharing all these tweets? Well, it really does put things in perspective from a backstage point of view. After all, both of these men are legends, and have done it and seen it all in this business. Sure, some fans have noted that the War Raiders were established under WWE’s NXT, it’s safe to say that while the brand experiences a tremendous amount of fan popularity, it simply does not cater to the same wide-range of demographics as the main rosters of Monday Night RAW and SmackDown LIVE. While fans were still chanting “War” last night, and this may still continue to happen, exposing the team to a new audience under a new name might create an upheaval for NXT fans; across the platform, new viewers seeing Rowe and Hanson, really for the first time, will connect more with their costume, persona, and in-ring technique, than their name.

And people can argue until the cows come home that the Viking Experience sounds like a lame name, an epic fail; however, I say, it sounds no lamer than that of what Mankind would have received upon first-time reception, and any other superstars who entered the land of the WWE that needed to alter gimmicks slightly to cater to a different audience that the sports entertainment company garners. At the end of the day, would “Stone Cold” Steve Austin be popular because of his “Stone Cold” or because of his attitude on the mic and in the ring? Non-wrestling fans find it hard to understand why Becky Lynch is called “The Man”; however, that has caught on and strongly, where fans across multiple demographic spectrums can related to Lynch, creating a nice and organic appeal within the WWE Universe.

Besides, to quote William Shakespeare: wouldn’t a rose by any other name would smell as sweet? A hard reference to compare the Viking Experience to, but you catch by drift.

Perhaps it’s time for wrestling fans to focus on what’s truly important, and that is, the value of entertainment and storytelling that Viking Experience can and will offer the WWE Universe, and not their name change.