What’s In a Name?

“Hey, what about Braun?”

If you’re a fan of movies, music, or even sports talk radio, chances are you like someone whose given name you don’t know. People use names publicly that aren’t on their tax forms, in part to maintain a shred of privacy (however fleeting) but also because a name chosen can be just plain cooler for the industry they’re in.

Some stage names are chosen simply. (Tom Cruise? Cruise is his middle name. His legal last name is Mapother.)

Some have little if anything to do with their real name. (Jay-Z is Shawn Carter, for instance.)

For those of you in the Milwaukee market as I am, well let’s just say that Michaels is as much Bill’s last name as it is Shawn’s.

Ah yes. Shawn Michaels — given name Michael Shawn Hickenbottom — is a retired professional wrestler who flipped his first and middle name (and added an s) to get something a bit better. Also there happened to be a pretty famous Michael already and individuality in that game is important as well.

Professional wrestling, or rather “sports entertainment” if you prefer, has a long history of athletes using fake names. Back in the 1960s though it was important that fans not be able to find your home when you were a loathed “bad guy” who would receive death threats and have everything from insults to beer cans hurled at you.

“Adam…isn’t this the Brewer Nation blog? Why are you talking about this?”

If that’s running through your head, let me cut to the chase.

Friday night at Miller Park the Brewers took on the Pittsburgh Pirates. They lost but that’s beside this point. During the game a celebrity guest was in the house. He was visiting family in Wisconsin for a couple of days and decided to catch a game at Miller Park. As a Brewers fan, it just made sense.

But there was another reason for his visit, and that was to meet his namesake. The WWE Superstar’s name is Adam Scherr, but you’ve probably never heard that name before. It’s his stage name that you’ll know if you’ve watched any WWE programming over the last few months. That stage name comes, in part, courtesy of a certain former NL MVP.

Seriously. As the man tells it, it was late in the day where a hard deadline existed. They had to pick a stage name by the end of that day. No exceptions. All the options they were given to discuss fell flat. Nothing had the right hook to it. As he and those helping him decide were sitting around, they had SportsCenter on in the background. Baseball highlights were happening and Ryan Braun was on the TV.

“Hey, what about Braun?”

That simple question, along with a slight modification to the character’s last name, is how WWE Superstar Braun Strowman came to be.

If you don’t know Strowman, he’s significantly larger than Ryan. Listed at 6’8″ and 385 pounds, Braun Strowman is a real monster in the ring as a member of the Wyatt Family.

“I’ll take the over, ” said Ryan Braun when asked about his meeting with his namesake. “That’s one of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Strowman’s physical stature matches that of Braun’s play on the field. Both are doing big things at age 32 (Strowman is Ryan’s senior by about two months) and while Ryan is long established as elite in his sport at this age, Strowman is still an up and comer in his.

So, “What’s in a name?” A tie that binds perhaps as Ryan thought it was very cool that Strowman found inspiration in him.

After all, it’s not a bad thing to have a guy like Braun Strowman in your corner. I mean, just look at him.

BraunMeetsBraun

Braun Strowman meets his namesake Ryan Braun after a game at Miller Park on August 26, 2016. – Credit: Mike Vassallo

1 Comment

Excellent article. Interesting AND fun! 😀 Love the picture….and the look on Braun’s face. Nice change of pace, Brewer Nation. Well done.

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