PJ Black, previously known in the WWE universe as Justin Gabriel, recently shed light on the intriguing process behind the inception of his WWE ring name. In the dynamic world of WWE, where name changes are as common as high-flying stunts, Black's experience stands out, particularly since it came as a surprise even to him.
The phenomenon of altering ring names is not unusual in WWE, where even the most established wrestlers might undergo identity transformations, a recent example being the transformation of WALTER to GUNTHER. This practice is particularly prevalent for newcomers to the WWE.
Wrestlers often can propose their preferred ring names, but Black's case was an exception to this norm.
Black's Naming Surprise
Reflecting on his early days, Black shared an anecdote in "The Extreme Life Of Matt Hardy," revealing a moment of surprise and adaptation.
"At the time, I was wrestling as Justin Angel; that was my gimmick," he said. His introduction to the WWE audience came unexpectedly while watching 'SmackDown' "I remember watching 'SmackDown' when they were announcing the show and announcing who our pros were, and it said Justin Gabriel on TV.
I was sitting at home, and I was like, 'What? Who the hell is Justin Gabriel?' ... I didn't pick that name at all; I guess they just changed it without even consulting me, so that was one of the things I was like, I guess I'm going to go with this." Despite lacking input in his name selection, Black was fortunate enough to retain his signature 450 Splash as his finishing move.
This decision resonated well with his performances and audience reception. He vividly recalls the first time he executed the move on the main roster during Nexus' debut. "I was just really stoked they let me do the exclamation, the 450," he reminisced.
His execution of the move captivated the audience and left a lasting impression on WWE chairman Vince McMahon. "I took my time, and I got that beauty shot too, and I got to the back, and Vince [McMahon] liked that; he was like, 'Yeah, keep doing more of that.'
" PJ Black's journey in WWE, marked by unexpected turns and memorable moments, highlights the dynamic and often unpredictable nature of professional wrestling, where adaptability is just as crucial as talent.