During the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer told the story about why Rusev was not allowed to have a first name when he was in WWE.
Many of you will recall that Rusev started out as Alexander Rusev but the first name was dropped by the time he was moved up to the main roster. Meltzer explained that McMahon did not want the “Alexander” part in his name because then people would start to call him Alex and that did not sound like a heel name to him. Meltzer added that Antonio Cesaro became Cesaro because McMahon didn’t want people to start calling him Tony.
Meltzer recounted what was said at a meeting a few years ago about Rusev’s name. “There was a meeting and at the meeting, Vince goes ‘we gotta drop that first name.'”
He continued, “[Vince said] ‘if we call him Alexander Rusev, people are gonna start gonna calling him Alex and Alex is not a good name for a heel.’ That’s the real reason so that’s why they dropped the first name. The same thing happened with Cesaro. The reason why they dropped [the name] Antonio Cesaro was because Vince said people are going to start calling him Tony and Tony is not a heel name so we gotta drop the first name.”
Alvarez asked why Vince McMahon didn’t drop his first name but in fact, McMahon did drop his first name when he was a regular character on TV. That’s why the “Mr. McMahon” name was born.
The names of people seem to be a big thing for Vince McMahon. For various reasons, many wrestlers have lost their first or last names over the years. For example, Ashley Flair was known as just Charlotte or Charlotte Flair at different times during her run on the main roster. In the 1970s, people (most notably Lou Albano) would refer to McMahon as Junior but he hated being called by that name.