NXT superstar Kevin Steen may be renamed “Kevin Owens.” A new report from PWInsider.com claims that WWE recently applied for the trademark on the name.
Like many other independent wrestling stars that had made a name for themselves elsewhere, Steen was signed to WWE’s developmental under the knowledge that he would be given a stage name. This allows WWE to own the rights to whatever name they market their talent under, so that the company doesn’t have to jump through legal hurtles to continue selling merchandise, home videos, etc. once that superstar has left the company.
This recently happened with WWE and CM Punk. Apparently, Punk had lawyers contact WWE about royalties in regards to merchandise, video games, home videos, and more once his official contract with the company ran out. Punk owns the rights to his name, which has presented an issue with WWE being able to continue selling Punk items.
The company also used Scott Hall’s WWE stage name, Razor Ramon, when inducting him into the WWE Hall of Fame. This was so they would have complete control over the merchandise featuring his likeness that was sold over WrestleMania XXX weekend.
Other stars such as Sami Zayn, Adrian Neville, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Hideo Itami, and Finn Bálor have all traded their recognizable names for WWE stage names upon entering the company. Itami and Bálor are the most recent stage names given to international superstars KENTA and Prince Devitt. Both men were able to have input on their new names, and it’s believed that Steen was given the same opportunity.
If Steen’s name is in face Kevin Owens, he may have picked that name due to his son and deceased wrestling legend Owen Hart. Steen named his son “Owen” after the fallen superstar, who passed away during the WWE PPV “Over the Edge” in 1999.
Well…it could be worse. Would have rather seen him keep the “Steen” portion of his name than the “Kevin” though. Owen Steen would have been good, then we could still see “Fight Steen Fight” shirts be relevant.