WWE names the 20 most memorable superstar debuts in history

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

"Always make a good first impression." That old adage is something that is applicable to most anything, whether it be dates or job interviews.

In the world of professional wrestling, that mantra can make or break a career.

WWE released a list of superstars that took who took the adage to heart yesterday, as they celebrated the 20 most memorable debuts in the promotion's history. These debuts range from the spectacular to the comical.

There are also some that are just plain cringe worthy.

After the jump, see what 20 superstars left enough of an impact in their debuts to make the list.

20. Big Show

Big Show debuted in WWE with a bang. It was at St. Valentine's Day Massacre on Feb. 14, 1999 where Paul Wight (Big Show's debut name) ripped out from under the ring to help Mr. McMahon against Stone Cold Steve Austin in their main event steel cage match.

Wight impressively manhandled Austin, but it turned out to be all for naught. Wight threw Austin into the cage with such power that the wall unhinged, making Austin hit the arena floor for the victory.

All in all, not too shabby of a first impression.

19. Fit Finlay

On Jan. 27, 1996, Lord Steven Regal (William Regal, for the unwashed masses) was putting a beating on Dusty Wolf. It was your typical WCW Saturday Night showing.

That is, until a man in a Northern Ireland jacket and jeans came and started beating the tar out of Regal.

That man was "The Belfast Bruiser," Fit Finlay. He took 400 years of Irish frustration out on the Brit. This was only a start for the man who loved to fight, but his debut personified his attitude.

18. Santino Marella

The "Milan Miracle" had a jawdropping debut on Raw of April 16, 2007.

The unstoppable Umaga had come in to Milan, Italy with the Intercontinental Title around his shoulder and a path of destruction behind him. Mr. McMahon wanted to keep the "Samoan Bulldozer" warm, so he had a "fan" challenge for the belt.

Enter Santino.

McMahon stated that the match would have no disqualifications. Of course, McMahon didn't count on his enemy at the time, Bobby Lashley, to come in and finish off Umaga for Santino to take the title.

Taking home a belt in your first match? Not bad for a first-timer.

17. Booker T

Steve Austin, we comin' for you!

WCW Heavyweight Champion Booker T kicked off the invasion of former WCW and ECW superstars into the WWE by attacking WWE Champion Austin on at King of the Ring 2001. Austin was facing Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit with his title on the line in a Triple Threat match.

Booker hit the scissor kick and a suplex right through the announce table on the "Texas Rattlesnake." That's making a statement.

16. Abdullah the Butcher

WCW Worldwide on Aug. 24, 1991 featured Sting getting a giant present from his nemesis, the sadistic Cactus Jack.

Unfortunately, this wasn't a lifetime supply of face paint or baseball bats for the Stinger.

Abdullah the Butcher burst from the box and started beating on the beloved Sting. Attacking the most loved star in the organization at the time was a surefire way to get some heat, and Abdullah did just that in his debut for the promotion.

While his run in WCW was less than memorable, Abdullah started out with a bang here.

15. Brock Lesnar

Hulk Hogan and The Rock had just brought the house the night before at Wrestlemania 18, but Brock Lesnar is not a man to be outdone.

On the March 17, 2002 edition of Raw, A hardcore match was going on. Maven, Al Snow, and Spike Dudley were all beating the snot out of each other with various weapons.

The mountain of a man known as Brock Lesnar hit the ring, giving Snow a spinebuster right onto a trash can. Maven was next, finding himself in the middle of an F-5.

Of course, Spike Dudley had a chance to stop Lesnar. From the top, he took a kendo stick and cracked it over Lesnar's head. Then Spike was nearly decapitated with a clothesline. Lesnar tossed Spike in the air, caught him on his shoulders, and delivered three brutal powerbombs to the runt of the Dudley litter.

Paul Heyman came in and lauded this act of destruction, impressively starting the beginning of a monster run for "The Next Big Thing."

14. The Great Khali

On the April 7, 2006 version of Smackdown, Undertaker had his own problems with a mastodon of a man in Mark Henry.

Undertaker's problems with Henry seemed like an anthill when The Great Khali hit the ring. Taker hit Khali with two rights, only to be dropped with a chop to the dome. A ripped turnbuckle and a few strikes to the head later, Undertaker was knocked out cold on the mat by the monster from Punjabi.

Taking out a midcard WWE superstar is one thing, but dropping a legend in the game like the Undertaker is a big time achievement. To do that in your debut is absurd, but Khali did just that.

13. Vader

Oh, it's time!

Vader debuted at the Great American Bash of 1990. It didn't take a big name opponent or main event, but a mere entrance from the behemoth.

Vader walked in with a headpiece that resembled a demonic creature. He removed it to reveal his famous mask. After an elaborate ritual of hand motions, the headpiece shot steam as the big man hyped himself up for the upcoming match.

Very fitting debut for a man that would wreak havoc on both the WCW and WWE.

12. Goldberg

Before he was WWE Velocity and Tough Enough personality Bill DeMott, he was WCW's Hugh Morrus.

He was also Goldberg's first victim out of 173 in a reign of terror over the WCW roster.

The man in black tights came in with no heralded credentials as he entered on the Sept. 22, 1997 edition of Nitro, but he certainly proved he was more than ready for bigger things as he easily thrashed Morrus. Post-match, Gene Okerlund couldn't get a word out of the big man.

Not the biggest debut, but certainly impressive and a good indicator of what was to come.

11. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio's WWE debut wasn't anything special. He defeated Chavo Guerrero in his first match on a July 25, 2002 episode of Smackdown.

What happened later in the night cemented Mysterio's debut in the history books.

Edge and Chris Jericho were in the main event of the night in a steel cage match, but the Un-Americans of Lance Storm, Christian, and Test had to get in on this. They assaulted Edge, who had just won the match by escaping the cage.

John Cena, in a preview of his Super Cena persona, attempted to help out, but got a beat down from the group as well.

Enter Mysterio, who scaled the cage and leaped into a crossbody on Christian and Storm.

That crash landing made a definite impact for Mysterio in WWE.

10. Sabu

On the Oct. 5, 1993 edition of ECW's Hardcore TV, Sabu made his debut.

He was wheeled out on a gurney in a Hannibal Lecter mask. That wasn't even the craziest part.

During the match, Sabu and his opponent The Tazmaniac (Tazz) spilled outside of the ring. Sabu began firing chairs across the arena with fans caught in the crossfire. Fast foward to post-match, Sabu got the victory and began launching himself through a table numerous times until he had to be restrained.

No wonder they call him the "Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death-defying Maniac."

9. Eric Bischoff

On July 15, 2002, Raw found a new general manager.

Think of the last person you'd ever see on WWE television.

Eric Bischoff made his way out as Vince McMahon announced his selection for general manager duties. The two hugged and celebrated, which left so many in shock. The leader of WCW in charge of Raw was the last thing most expected.

He was back and better than ever.

8. The Undertaker

The Phenom made his debut at Survivor Series 1990.

In his debut, he eliminated both Koko B. Ware and Dusty Rhodes. He was counted out after Rhodes went after Brother Love, his manager at the time.

To defeat two mainstays in the company and not get pinned in your initial outing, that say marks an impressive debut. The fact that he also pinned Koko in one minute adds even more to the legacy.

I think this debut gave Undertaker a pretty decent career, don't you?

7. Tazz

Royal Rumble 2000 was supposed to be Kurt Angle's night. The former Olympic gold-medalist had mowed down the roster, holding an undefeated record and climbing his way up the ranks.

Enter Tazz.

The "Human Suplex Machine" brought the fight to the undefeated star, while fans in the NYC chanted "E-C-W" for the former star of that company. After many exchanges, Tazz locked in his signature Tazzmission.

That was goodnight for Angle and a good night for Tazz.

6. Shockmaster

Oh, what could have been.

At WCW's Clash of the Champions XXIV, Sting, Dustin Rhodes, and The British Bulldog were going to name their mystery partner. The triad was scheduled to face off against Sid Vicious, Vader, and Harlem Heat.

On Ric Flair's talk show, "A Flair for the Gold," Sting announced that their partner would shock everyone.

Enter the Shockmaster, who proceeded to fall on his face and lose his glittery Stormtrooper mask.

The rest is history.

5. The Nexus

Raw had a Viewer's Choice night on June 7, 2010. I don't think any viewers imagined what would happen during that night's main event between CM Punk and John Cena.

The Nexus, featuring Wade Barrett, Darren Young, Daniel Bryan, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, David Otunga, Skip Sheffield (Ryback), and Michael Tarver came in-ring and cleaned house.

No one was safe.

Punk, Cena, Luke Gallows, Jerry Lawler, Matt Striker, Justin Roberts, and other personnel were all laid out.

That's a way for a rookie to make an impact.

4. John Cena

Kurt Angle's open challenge on the June 27, 2002 episode of Smackdown was answered by a face we've become all too familiar with.

John Cena, who was just a young newcomer trying to make his name known to the WWE fanbase, took the challenge. Although unsuccessful, he gave Angle a big challenge.

Cena's heart carried him through the match and he earned respect with the WWE fans.

Who knew what would become of that brash, young wrestler from West Newbury, Mass.?

3. Scott Hall

One of the greatest debuts was the catalyst for one of the most successful wrestling factions of all-time.

May 26, 1997's episode of Nitro had a denim-clad Scott Hall come through the crowd and interrupt a match. The man formerly known as Razor Ramon proclaimed that the fans knew who he was, but didn't know why he was here. All the while, Hall maintained the faux-Cuban inflection.

Kevin Nash soon followed in interrupting WCW programming. Enter Hulk Hogan and you have the New World Order of professional wrestling.

2. Chris Jericho

The Rock was mid-promo on a Raw episode on Aug. 9, 1999.

Then, the millennium's clock hit triple zeros a little early.

Chris Jericho was here, as he demonstrated the classic braggadocio that made WCW fans hate the man known as Y2J. The Chicago crowd lapped it up, as Jericho demonstrated to "The Great One" that he was as sharp on the mic as he was in-ring.

1. Kane

"THAT'S GOTTA BE! THAT'S GOTTA BE KANE!"

At Badd Blood in 1997, Shawn Michaels and Undertaker were working an innovative match that was known as Hell in a Cell. The two went back and forth, with Undertaker coming near finishing Michaels.

Unfortunately, Undertaker had an unexpected family reunion as Kane hit the ring and Tombstoned his half-brother. Michaels picked up the victory and the WWE Championship title shot.

Hellfire and brimstone indeed.

If you Cagesiders had your way, how would you move and shake this list? Any names you'd like to add or subtract?

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