Alex Zayne details the process of choosing his name for the NXT brand.
A Superstar’s rebranding for their transition into WWE can be one of the key decisions of their entire journey. For example, the run that Dean Ambrose had in WWE is unique from that of Jon Moxley in AEW.
Alex Zayne did not have a lengthy run in NXT but his time as Ari Sterling, did help him grow and expand his knowledge and ability to work for a multi-camera setup.
Speaking with Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp about the process of coming up with his name, Alex explains how the incoming star, Zayda Ramier played a role in his name decision and how he reacted to hearing his new name chanted while wrestling the Bollywood Boyz.
“The name process is kind of hectic, really. In my case, anyway. I know some people have it a little easier. But for me, they were like, ‘Hey, we want to get some reps on 205 Live. Need to come up with your name. Go ahead and compile a list, send it over to us.’”
Zayne continued, “I did a lot of ‘Chilly McFreezin.’ I put together a list, sent it over to them. They were like, ‘Hey, we need more names.’ I don’t know, probably hundreds of names into it they were like, ‘Okay, we liked this.’ We found Ari early on and then, of course, I was always trying to go with something like Zayne or Zayden I had on one of the many lists. They were like, ‘Oh, we can’t use any of that Zay stuff because Zayda Ramier is a new thing. Can be too confusing or whatever.’ So, I had to scratch that. We had Ari for a while, now we’re trying to find the last name. Finally landed on Sterling through one of my many lists, which literally just came from me being like, Ari Gold in Entourage, Ari Silver, sterling silver, Ari Sterling. That was the thought process behind it. That’s what we landed on.
“This is not something I’d disclosed—we also landed on the name cleared two hours before I went in the ring. I’d been at TV all day. We go on a quarter after seven, maybe twenty after seven, probably 5:00 / 5:30 that day they were like, ‘Hey, name’s cleared. Good to go.’ ‘Great. That entrance is gonna look weird.’ It’s so funny because the first match I had, I go out. I’m already marveling at the graphics they had whipped up in the last two hours floating around my head. Which was funny because it was black and white and then red splashes in it. I was like, ‘This doesn’t match my colors, but we’re cool. We’ll get there.’ They later changed it to purple for the next show."
He concluded, “I go out, I’m doing my thing or whatever and we start circling before we tie it up and I’m wrestling one of the Bollywood Boyz. I’m just jockeying like I’m about to lock up and I start to hear, ‘Ari! Ari! Ari!’ I was like, ‘Oh, shit. That is me. I’ve had that name for two hours. Great, got it.’ It didn’t even register when I was out there. Like, ‘Holy shit, that was me.’ I thought they were chanting for him.”
Now, Alex Zayne is back on the independent scene and recently won the Ring of Honor Honor Rumble. Franky Monet, the former Taya Valkyrie, also commented on her name change recently. Learn more about that here.