Power Ranking Curtis Axel and the Rest of 2013's WWE Debuts
Just halfway through 2013 and WWE has already introduced or reintroduced several new Superstars, including Intercontinental champ Curtis Axel.
Fans hungry for new faces saw the debuts of Fandango, the Wyatt Family and current NXT champion Bo Dallas. Some of these came as a surprise while others followed a series of videos building up to the new arrivals.
How effective were they in getting fans pumped about these new Superstars?
Ranked on their entertainment value and how well they established the newbies as factors on the main roster, here are 2013's debuts from worst to first.
Matt Striker interviewed him, but apparently couldn't properly pronounce his name. Aside from instructing Striker on the proper inflections of his name, Fandango said, "It's time for me to take my precision, my rhythm, my grace to the ring."
He wouldn't take those traits tho the ring just yet, though. Insulted by Striker's version of his name, he would hold himself out of competition that night and for several nights to come.
The trouble with Fandango's debut was WWE spent too long hyping his arrival with videos that didn't entice. His character came off as more of a joke than something to get excited about.
To then delay his debut generated a touch of disdain for him, but it wasn't until the post-WrestleMania 29 crowd made Fandango-ing cool that he had any significant momentum.
4. Bo Dallas
Forget how quickly Bo Dallas faded from the spotlight; his debut attached intrigue to a guy few fans knew anything about.
As the 16th entrant, Dallas survived against his more-experienced foes for an impressive 20 minutes. Aside from his surprise elimination of Wade Barrett though, he did little to stand out.
His Rumble moment was not nearly as shocking as Maven eliminating The Undertaker, but it got Dallas some attention to start his career off.
3. Zeb Colter
Memphis wrestling veteran Dutch Mantel helped Jack Swagger become relevant again when he re-debuted as Zeb Colter.
Colter had previously been a manager in the mid '90s, known then as Uncle Zebekiah. The man who guided Justin Hawk Bradshaw's (now JBL) career back then may have shared a similar name to the ranting man at Swagger's side, but this was a different man.
Colter was a bitter, xenophobic Vietnam vet who spouted on about what was wrong with America. His arrival gave Swagger a definitive direction and buzz that he didn't have pre-Colter.
Controversy surrounded these two men and suddenly WWE was a subject on Glenn Beck's radio show.
2. Curtis Axel
In the world of WWE, a man gets to have his name and his past erased in an instant. In a single night, Michael McGillicutty transformed into Curtis Axel, going from benchwarmer to a man on the rise.
Not many predicted that Paul Heyman's newest client would be a repacked version of the little-used McGillicutty.
The surprise of Heyman announcing his name, the fun of his entrance theme and the excitement of Axel joining forces with Heyman made for a buzz-inducing debut.
Critics, however, pointed out that the story was more focused on Triple H and the aftereffects of his battle with Brock Lesnar the night before.
Triple H slapped him in the middle of the ring and Axel only got a sliver of revenge with a win via Triple H being unable to finish the match.
1. The Wyatt Family
Weeks of unsettling vignettes had WWE fans curious about who Bray Wyatt and his family were and what their intentions were after their arrival.
Theirs was 2013's debut with the most buildup. With as compelling as all of their vignettes were, the Wyatt Family would be hard-pressed to live up to that hype.
Still, their debut included a fantastic performance from Wyatt and the same mystery around their intentions as The Shield when they first entered WWE.
As Kane stood in the ring following a match with Christian, Wyatt came on the screen and addressed the world. He said, "Everything all around you is a riddle." He talked about people needing to wake up, to see through the lies that they were living and rambled in different directions, at one point shouting, "I created war!"
The lights then went off and Wyatt and Erick Rowan and Luke Harper walked to the ring by the light of a lantern.
This creepy moment was a powerful one, and one that set a tone going forward for this trio.
Their subsequent attack on Kane left him unable to compete in at Money in the Bank. Their debut left a lot of unanswered questions in our minds and had folks buzzing in response.