TNA: Desmond Wolfe’s Name Came From ‘Withnail and I’ Movie


Hamish Woodward

Nigel McGuinness had his name changed to Desmond Wolfe when he moved to TNA, which seemed like a weird thing to do.

While it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to change their names when moving promotions, McGuinness had huge name value in the United States. He had been ROH World Champion for nearly two years, putting on incredible matches against the likes of KENTA, Bryan Danielson and Austin Aries.

He was a fantastic babyface and an even better heel, while also being very capable on the mic. His reputation earned him a WWE contract, although Nigel McGuinness’ bicep injury cost him a chance to wrestle for the wrestling giants.

Changing his name from Nigel McGuinness to Desmond Wolfe seemed like TNA were throwing away all the name value he had grown while ROH Champion. However, as Nigel McGuinness revealed in an interview with WrestlingNewsCo, they had a good reason.

The Englishman claimed that the company wanted to be able to trademark the name. This was for the purpose of selling merchandise. He already owned the “Nigel McGuinness” name, so TNA wanted something new that they could own and market.

He also noted that he thinks Vince Russo chose the name “Desmond Wolfe”. He mentions how the former TNA writer used to own a video store, and cites a line in the cult British film “Withnail and I” as the likely source of his TNA name.

“I would assume it was a copyright thing because I owned a copyright to Nigel McGuinness.” The AEW commentator said. “The truth is, I think they just wanted to own the name, so they christened me Desmond Wolf. I’m not sure who it came from or where it came from. I think perhaps Vince Russo. That’s an urban myth—I never got Vince to back that up.”

“But he used to own a video store, from what I understand, before he got into wrestling, and there was a cult British movie called Withnail and I. It’s a classic movie. It’s about two aspiring actors in England at the turn of the 60s becoming 70s, the end of 1969. These two aspiring actors were destitute and poor, and they were drinking any alcohol they could get their hands on. One of them says, ‘When I make it, I’m going to be known as Desmond Wolf.’ So I think perhaps maybe that was the inspiration.”

If you use any quotes from this article, please give a H/T to BritWrestling.


Contact Brit Wrestling here, or email us at

Contact Us is part of the Woodward Digital media group.



Join our email list to receive the latest updates.