The Viking Raiders went by the name War Machine in the independent circuit and New Japan. When they came to NXT, they were called The War Raiders. However, Vince McMahon had another idea for them.
On After The Bell, Erik explained that when they made their main roster debut on RAW, the reception they received was far from positive. Vince McMahon was thinking of some names for the team and he chose The Viking Experience. This was ultimately changed, but they had to wrestle under that name for one week.
“Then we’re ringside, Ivar comes out, a graphic comes on the screen and there’s a cartoon Viking guy and it says Viking Experience. At first it said Berzerkers, then we were War Raiders and then Viking Experience, we watched the screen change to this and we looked at Hunter [Triple H] and said ‘are they messing with us?’ He just shook his head and told us to ‘go see Vince’. We went and spoke to Vince, at this point because it’s so late in the day we weren’t even going to approach the subject of Ivar and Erik – we needed to tackle the Viking Experience name.”
“We knew at this point we weren’t going to be Hanson and Rowe. The primary focus was The Viking Experience. We caught Vince as he was going somewhere else and we pleaded our case about the name. It sounded like a Disney name and there were 10 names we gave him. The last one we gave him was Viking Raiders and he kind of paused on that one. He said they would introduce us as Viking Experience and if they didn’t feel it they would rename us to something else.”
“But he also put over how much he loves the TV show Vikings and he loves Vikings in general and mentioning our wrestling gear, our armor and Viking details from history. So we felt confident that he liked us and our work – we were happy to hopefully in the weeks to come to get that tag team name changed.”
“I wonder what would have happened if we landed on time and maybe we could have had more input. Thank god the next week came and we were The Viking Raiders. The Viking Raiders is the original name we pitched when we were coming into NXT, funny enough.”
Thankfully, McMahon changed their names. Else, The Viking Experience might have been their name permanently.
h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.