Who Had the Best Debuts in WWE WrestleMania History?

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2021

Who Had the Best Debuts in WWE WrestleMania History?

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    Ronda Rousey made a major statement in her in-ring debut at WWE WrestleMania 34.
    Ronda Rousey made a major statement in her in-ring debut at WWE WrestleMania 34.Credit: WWE.com

    There's no better place for a WWE Superstar to make a first impression than at WrestleMania.

    Omos arrived on WWE TV as an ally of AJ Styles in October but has largely been relegated to ringside for Styles' matches. In mid-March, it was announced he would wrestle his first official match as a member of the Raw roster when he and Styles challenge The New Day for the Raw Tag Team Championship.

    He's far from the only one to make his debut on The Grandest Stage of Them All, however. Several stars over the years have either had their first match at 'Mania or made their premiere appearance at the event. Either way, all eyes were on them.

    It's become much more of a common occurrence in recent years than at any other point in the pay-per-view's history. It shows the company is committed to making its talent feel more special with their biggest performance falling on the biggest night on the WWE calendar.

    The aftermath may not have always been the best, but that initial outing at The Show of Shows will mostly be what fans remember the debutants by anyway. Ahead of Omos' anticipated in-ring debut at WrestleMania, these are the five best debuts in the event's history (not counting celebrities).

Sting

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    It came over a decade later than it should have, but Sting's first-ever WWE match occurring at WrestleMania was only fitting.

    The Icon's shocking Survivor Series 2014 appearance set the stage for him to face Triple H at WrestleMania 31. The build was extremely well done with Sting showing up only occasionally, pointing his bat at the iconic WrestleMania sign to signal that he wanted his in-ring debut to go down against The Game on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

    It was no instant classic, but their match was ultimately what it needed to be. All of the interference from D-Generation X and New World Order actually added to it and helped hide Sting's limitations at that stage of his career.

    Needless to say, the bout would be remembered much more fondly had Sting not lost to Triple H unnecessarily. Nothing about the outcome made sense, not to mention that the two of them showing respect toward one another afterward was supposed to close a chapter that had already ended 14 years earlier.

    Nonetheless, Sting competing at The Show of Shows at all was a sight fans never thought they would see and therefore was a WrestleMania moment in itself.

Fandango

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Say what you will about the career he's had since then, but no one will ever forget Fandango wrestling his first match as a member of WWE's main roster against Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 29.

    The long-awaited arrival of the ballroom dancer on Raw had been hyped up for weeks via a series of vignettes. Once he did debut on Raw, he refused to wrestle, at least until Jericho challenged him to a one-on-one match at 'Mania.

    The contest came completely out of nowhere and felt like a thrown-together addition to the card (which it was, according to Jericho himself). Despite that, they did the best they could with the build given the time they had left before the big pay-per-view.

    To his credit, Fandango more than held his own against Jericho. His gimmick was never going to get beyond a certain level, mind you, but his in-ring ability was second to none, and that was evident when they locked up.

    It was a well-wrestled affair, but similar to Sting vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 31, the end result will be what fans talk about forever. Fandango scored the clean victory, but as huge as it was for him, it almost didn't matter because the follow-up wasn't there.

    That said, no one can ever take Fandango's monumental 'Mania win away from him.

Baron Corbin

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    In the span of two days, Baron Corbin went from NXT rookie to breakout star on WWE's main roster.

    Considering how quickly he made an impact upon his re-debut in NXT in September 2014, the fashion in which he debuted at WrestleMania 32 shouldn't have come as much of a surprise. Still, he was reeling from a loss to newcomer Austin Aries at TakeOver: Dallas in a match that no one knew would be his last on the brand until two nights later.

    WrestleMania 32, the most-attended in history, held the third-annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal on the main card for a change. Aside from the special appearances of Diamond Dallas Page, Tatanka and Shaquille O'Neal, the bout featured most of the usual suspects.

    The commotion with Big Show and Shaq distracted viewers from the fact that Corbin was also in the ring. After each elimination, he survived until finally throwing Kane over the top rope for the monumental victory.

    His participation in the Battle Royal wasn't advertised in advance, and yet WWE had made a new name in one night. He's one of the few people not to fall victim to the curse of the Andre trophy and instead experience plenty of success in the years that followed.

Big E

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    Following The Shield, Big E was one of the first official main roster call-ups from NXT in December 2012. He wasted no time in leaving his mark by attacking John Cena his first night in and aligning himself with Dolph Ziggler and AJ Lee.

    Similar to Omos, he served as a bodyguard to them for many months and wound up wrestling his debut match at WrestleMania 29. Also much like Omos, it was a tag team title match, pitting himself and Dolph Ziggler against Team Hell No's Daniel Bryan and Kane.

    It was a pretty prominent position for him to be in from the get-go and showed that officials had high hopes for him. The biggest difference between Big E and Omos, however, is that Big E already had plenty of in-ring experience thanks to his time in NXT, where he spent a solid five months as the NXT champion.

    The two teams worked well together and had one of the better bouts on what was an otherwise underwhelming WrestleMania. Big E in particular stood out with the showing he had and proved he belonged among those three elite competitors.

    Big E has put together an incredible body of work over the last eight years, most notably with The New Day. He's set to have his first singles match at 'Mania this coming weekend as the defending intercontinental champion.

Ronda Rousey

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    Other than being shown in the crowd alongside the other Four Horsewomen of the UFC at SummerSlam 2014, the first time Ronda Rousey stepped foot in a WWE ring was at WrestleMania 31. Thus, it was only fitting that her first WWE match came at The Show of Shows as well.

    Her appearance at WrestleMania 31 consisted of her standing side-by-side with The Rock and forcing Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to back down. In a perfect world, Rock would have teamed up with Rousey against The Authority at WrestleMania 34, but Kurt Angle ended up being a fine choice as well given his history with the heels.

    Rousey's first two months in WWE were solid albeit inconsistent. The jury was still out on how she'd perform in the ring and she hadn't completely won over the WWE Universe, but that changed at WrestleMania when her tag team match stole the show.

    The Baddest Woman on the Planet had a phenomenal performance and came across like an absolute pro. Her interactions with Stephanie sent the crowd into a frenzy, and as if that weren't enough, Rousey taking it to Triple H nearly blew the roof off the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

    The match went about as perfect as it possibly could have, with her win over The Authority being the cherry on top. As far as in-ring debuts are concerned, it's hard to argue against Rousey having the top spot.

         

    Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, has specialized in sports and entertainment writing since 2010. Visit his website, WrestleRant, and subscribe to his YouTube channel for more wrestling-related content.

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