A new report suggests that Friday Night SmackDown superstar Lars Sullivan might be getting his name significantly changed in the coming days or weeks.
Citing this week's edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Ringside News reported on Friday that there were clear signs on last week's episode of SmackDown that Sullivan's moniker of "The Freak" might soon become his official ring name. Specifically, announcer Michael Cole referred to the 330-pounder as "The Freak" 22 times while only using his surname a handful of times. This, as noted, is what WWE typically does shortly before it officially changes a performer's name.
As the report pointed out, WWE chairman Vince McMahon has been known to change the names of his wrestlers "for any reason he sees fit." For instance, he has made several superstars drop their first or last names at certain points during their main roster stints. The outlet also wrote that the chairman tends to dislike the suffix "Jr.," given that he was frequently called "Junior" by those who had first gotten to know his father, Vince McMahon Sr., during the latter's time as the promotion's boss.
Sullivan isn't the only SmackDown performer who might be renamed in due time. As previously reported by Ringside News, WWE filed a copyright earlier this month for the name Dominick -- a slightly altered version of Dominik Mysterio's first name. Prior to this filing, Dominik's father, Rey Mysterio, registered a trademark for the name "Prince Mysterio," and rumors had also suggested that there are still plans to have the young grappler wear a mask like his dad and get his ring name tweaked.
While it remains unclear why Sullivan might be getting renamed, the moniker "The Freak" appears to be a reference to his status as a physically intimidating yet surprisingly athletic super-heavyweight. Since his return following a long absence due to injuries, the wrestler has randomly attacked a number of superstars during post-match segments and also defeated one of them -- Jeff Hardy -- on last week's episode of SmackDown, as recapped by WrestleZone.
Sullivan's apparent push as a dominant monster heel, however, hasn't come without controversy, as he continues to deal with accusations of misconduct outside the ring. In its new report, Ringside News speculated that the renaming might be related to one of his earlier controversies, as company officials could be trying to make fans forget about the allegations that the grappler once acted in adult films under the name Mitch Bennett.