From the Bowery: WWE Countdown: Memorable Debuts
Posted by Robert Leighty Jr. on 05.21.2014
I hope some people were drunk or stoned when they voted for the order of these choices!
From the Bowery: WWE Countdown: Memorial Debuts
-It’s been a week since my Penguin’s collapsed and yes, I am still kind of bitter. Especially since this year the Pirates have seemingly fallen back to being a mediocre or worse ball team. Now as for this week the topic is Top Debuts and we will see how the WWE Fans rank they choices given to them by the WWE.
-The usual from the talking heads as they discuss what makes a great debut. They show some guys making their debut: notably, Punk, HHH, Dolph, Barrett, Big Show, Sin Cara, Sandow, and Papa Shango among others. They discuss the importance of vignettes, and Kofi buries the ones for his debut. Good opening package here with a lot of memorable and forgettable debuts.
10: The Outsiders
-This is insanely low and I question the age of the voters in this thing. The Hall debut was on May 27, 1996, which was my 15th birthday and I remember losing my mind when he came through the crowd. This should easily be top 5. Larry Z of all people actually shows up and that’s kind of cool considering he was sitting ringside during the debut. The younger guys practically mark out when discussing the debut. Everyone talks about how it looked like the WWF was invading WCW, and nobody was really sure what was happening. Rollins says that at the time there was no internet and no mass communication so it was a crazy time. Nash debuts 2 weeks later on Nitro, and Rollins kills it by saying friends were calling each other on a rotary phone to spread the word. They make sure to sneak in Nash killing poor Rey by lawn darting him into the side of a trailer. That will never get old! Cody buries the WWF for their gimmicks at the time while WCW was bringing more realism to wrestling. Road Dogg says that in his opinion the Outsiders debut was the most important in history.
-The vignettes for his debut were awesome and made me an instant fan of the character. “On the 8th day God created Mankind. Why was he having such a bad day?” Just insanely awesome there and one of my favorite wrestling quotes ever. Foley talks about the rat and how he wasn’t a fan, but he learned to love the little guy. Punk pops up as I guess we haven’t caught up yet to anything new, and talks about how the character was creepy. They talk about the mandible claw and it grossed Bryan out. After his debut match on RAW, Mankind comes back later in the night and attacks The Undertaker. That’s one way to make an immediate name. Foley puts over the series of matches he had with Taker in 96 and knows without those matches his career wouldn’t have become what it did. “Leave the light on, I’m coming home.” Just so awesome and I kind of hated they tweaked the character into a comedy figure later, but probably saved Mick’s health in the long run.
8: Rey Mysterio
-Summer Rae says that even though Rey made a name for himself in WCW, it was his WWE debut that got people talking. Really? They are going that route with this thing. Yet in hyping his debut all they did was show the crazy stuff he did in WCW. They discuss the entrance and how he popped up from the ramp and was shot into the air. They picked the perfect guy for him to debut against in Chavo and everyone points that out and we get some footage of some of their matches on WCW Pro, World Wide, and Saturday Night. Kofi says that the hype was high and Rey delivered in the match. What happened later only added as he dove off the top of a cage to deliver a crossbody to make the save for Edge as he was getting his ass beat. Punk calls him a real life super hero and they make sure to cover Rey winning the World Title at WrestleMania 22.
7: Santino Marella
-What in the blue hell is this doing on the list? Even Santino seems shocked that he made the list. RAW had a show in Italy for the first time ever and wanted to do something memorable for the fans. Bless his heart, Santino keeps kayfabe alive and says he went to RAW with his cousin, who had front row seats. Umaga was the IC Champ and Vince issued an open challenge on his behalf to anyone in the crowd. Santino answers the call and he gets a fluke win over Umaga for the IC Title (with help from Lashley) on his debut night. I mean, I appreciate Santino as much as the next guy, but this is a joke that this is ahead of the Outsiders debut. Everyone kind of jokes about it and that is really all you need to know about this debut.
6: Brock Lesnar
-I remember when he debuted I legit thought he was scariest dude I had ever seen in my life. Heyman of course discusses the debut and says the decision was made that he was going to debut and run in during a Hardcore match featuring Maven, Spike, and Al Snow. Paul asked Brock which of the 3 guys was he going to crush and Brock said all three. Awesome! Brock runs in and he kills Snow with a spinebuster on a garbage can, gives Maven the F5, and hits a triple powerbomb on poor Spike. Heyman says he was the man that was going to talk for Brock and he was also the man that was going to ride his coat tails as he knew what was in store for the man. Heyman also says he thinks Brock's entire year of 2002 needs to be considered in his debut as he ran through legend after legend on his way to the WWF Title in August (beating the Rock). Heyman ranks his debut and first few months against anyone in history.
-I can get behind this as Kane was teased for months in the Taker/Bearer feud and you were just waiting for the payoff. He finally made his debut in October of 97 costing Taker the first ever Hell in a Cell match against Shawn. Evan Bourne pops up and says he was there at the show, and Shawn also pops up to discuss the ass kicking he took during the match. Bourne says he was like most in the crowd, confused by what was happening. Everyone has fun with Vince’s “that’s got be Kane” call, and yeah, it was pretty funny. Kofi mentions it was the first time you ever saw a little fear in Taker’s face, and they discuss Kane’s pyro shooting talents. Rollins says Kane’s debut did live up to the hype and Bryan says it has to be one of the best debuts because he remembers it and normally doesn’t remember anything.
4: Rocky Maivia
-My God look at that hair! Even Rock laughs at the humble beginnings of Rocky Maivia. Everyone discusses the 3rd generation deal and how The Rock came in with a great pedigree. Sandow brings the awesome as he always wondered why Rocky was always smiling. He made his debut at Survivor Series 96 in Madison Square Garden. They put over the guys The Rock was put in the ring with on that night: Windham, Roberts, HHH. They then discuss the haircut and yeah everyone has a lot of fun with that. HHH says that you had to have been blind not to see that Rocky had something. The Rock says that to this day he thanks the guys he was in the ring with that night as he career could have gone any direction. He also makes sure to make fun of his hair one last time.
-We take a break to let Sandow teach us the importance of the debut. We get Sandow’s debut and he puts over how dashing he looks. The number 1 rule on making a debut is knowing who you are competing against ahead of time. Sandow refuses to wrestle the jobber and he tells us it is because didn’t want to waste his debut on a no name. Good point!
3: Chris Jericho
-This is my choice for #1 and their better be 2 great debuts left, or I am calling foul on the WWE voters on this one. In 1999 the WWF started showing a Countdown to the Millennium Clock and I actually thought they were counting down to the end of the year for something special until I did the math. Jericho mentions he got the idea while standing in line at the post office and seeing a clock counting down to the millennium. The clock strikes all zeroes in August of 99 in Chicago with The Rock standing in the middle of the ring. “It’s the Millennium bitch,” and the roar of the crowd when “Jericho” flashes on the screen is insane. I mark out every time I see this and that includes now. The Rock hits Jericho was “it doesn’t matter what your name is,” and Miz calls is the greatest use of that phrase ever. Jericho absolutely knocked this one out of the park and mentions that a lot of people knew he was debuting as there were a lot of Jericho signs in the crowd. This immediately made Jericho a massive star even if the WWF didn’t capitalize on it at first as they saddled him with a feud against Road Dogg and then Chyna.
2: The Undertaker
-I can kind of accept this one, but wouldn’t have it ranked above Jericho. Sure, Taker’s debut was historic considering the career that followed, but people weren’t losing their shit with his debut like with Jericho’s. With that said, Taker had the character nailed when he debuted and you can tell by the scared looks on the faces of some of the fans. Taker was the mystery man of Ted Dibiase’s Survivor Series team (Rhythm and Blues other 2 guys on the team), and Ted pops up and says he has tons of money so he knew he was going to deliver. Taker destroys everyone in the match in rather impressive fashion before bowing out, but you knew the guy was going to be a star if the gimmick was given the chance to develop into a character and that’s what happened. The young guys all discuss how scary he was and how they weren’t sure what to make of him. To protect the gimmick obviously there is no talk of his WCW days and that includes when Heyman talks about him. Paul says that he knew immediately the WWF had a star on their hands.
-Recap of the countdown to this point, and yeah, Santino is still above The Outsiders.
1: John Cena
-Horse shit right here! Again, not sure if just voting based on fact it is Cena and oh man little kids love him, or if people are taking the career that followed into account. Cena debuts on SmackDown with Ruthless Aggression as he gets in Kurt Angle’s face. They have a match that Angle wins and Cena does a decent job of hanging with a top guy, but was just so bland. Jericho’s debut made you think that he was a star (though I guess he had following with his WCW career) and Cena was a bland, happy to be here, babyface. This character was just death for Cena and he was close to getting shown the door, but his rapping gimmick saved him. Hawkins says his first impression is that he wasn’t impressed and everyone crushes what he was wearing. Cena puts over Angle, as he should, and you know he had to have some butterflies knowing who he was asked to work with on his first night on the main roster. Everyone talks about how you could tell Cena was hungry and how hanging with Angle showed his potential. Cena himself says it was one good match and he had a lot of work to do. In the back after the match, Taker walked up and shook Cena’s hand and that only added to the debut. Punk puts over Cena and says he is a guy that won’t fold. Henry says it is not where you start, but where you end and Cena will end up one of the 20 greatest wrestlers of all time.
-We end with a last shot of Nash’s debut as again I say they were robbed by the fans.
The 411: The content itself was the normal fun stuff and the opening package was great with the various debuts. With that said the choices given to the fans by the WWE are kind of bad in some places (Santino being the most out of place one) and then the fans screwed up the order in my opinion. Again though you take this for what it's worth, but wow do I worry about wrestling fans of tomorrow if they don't recognized the importance of the Outsider's debut. As far the top spot, Cena's debut is clearly the wrong choice, but again perhaps that is just me. 7.