Thursday, April 18

Great WWE Wrestlers Who Had Bad Debuts

The importance of a debut can help make a wrestler’s tenure with a promotion a hit or a miss. WWE had their fair share of great debuts with names like Chris Jericho, Paige and The Shield showing that fans could fall in love with a big introduction. However, not everyone benefits from that timing and luck.


10 Best Debuts In Wrestling History, Ranked

When a debut is done right this can end up being something that audiences never forget, showcasing the power behind a great debut.

There have been quite a few instances of talented wrestlers that just didn’t end up having a strong debut. WWE witnessed most of these names still having strong careers, but the start worked against them. Each of the following great WWE wrestlers surprisingly had weak debuts.

9 Randy Orton Was Introduced As Generic Face

Had Similar Issues The Rock Faced As Second Generation Talent

  • WWE Expected Him To Get Over Blue Chipper Babyface Prospect Act
  • Fans Didn’t Care About Him Without Any Back Story Or Progression
  • Turning Heel When Joining Evolution Saved His Career From Falling Lower

WWE tried to get Randy Orton over as a face for the first time he joined WWE television as a blue chipper prospect. Orton’s first night saw him upsetting Vince McMahon in a backstage segment over accidentally saying the wrong thing.


The 10 Best Debuts After WrestleMania, Ranked

The Raw after WrestleMania is the time where WWE debuts a bunch of new superstars. Ones like Paige, Brock Lesnar and Goldberg were some of the best.

A win over Hardcore Holly saw Orton playing a generic face that fans couldn’t rally behind in a similar story to The Rock’s early struggles. Orton didn’t start getting over until a heel turn and massive role in the Evolution faction.

8 Kane Debuted With All-Time Bad Gimmick

Great Debut As Kane Came After Multiple Failed Stints

  • Hoped For Success Since He Debuted In Story Involving Bret Hart
  • Just Couldn’t Make Fans Care About Such A Dead End Gimmick
  • Getting Another Chance As Kane Saved His WWE Career

Glen Jacobs is mostly known for playing the legendary Kane character in WWE and for being a controversial politician today. Fans often name Kane as having an all-time great debut attacking The Undertaker, but his official debut came earlier.

WWE tasked Jacobs with playing the evil dentist known as Isaac Yankem long before anyone knew of Kane. The debut of Jerry Lawler’s mysterious dentist character had fans laughing at Yankem for being a joke more than a credible talent.

7 Trish Stratus Debuted By Standing On Stage

Rare Instance Of A Future Legend Debuting On Sunday Night Heat

  • Had Unusual Debut Making First Live Appearance On Heat
  • Scouting Test & Albert Led To Raw Debut Managing Them
  • Trish Got Over Way More Than Wrestlers She Managed

WWE used Sunday Night Heat as a secondary show taped before Mondays and airing on Sundays. There were rarely major moments on the show once Smackdown started, but Trish Stratus debuting could be argued as the most memorable thing from the show.

Trish made her first appearance after weeks of vignettes hyping her debut. Matches of Test and Albert were respectively scouted before Stratus started managing them as a tag team. Trish did eventually get over strongly on Raw and Smackdown more than the wrestlers she represented.

6 Ron Simmons Debuted Wearing Absurd Baby Blue Outfit

Gladiator Gimmick With Sunny Could Have Ruined His WWE Stint

  • Vince McMahon Changed Look From Successful WCW Tenure
  • Sunny Managing His Bad Gimmick Hurt Them Both At The Time
  • Simmons Saved His WWE Career By Forming Nation Of Domination

WWE signed Ron Simmons after he made history as the first ever black WCW Champion. However, Vince McMahon wanting to change most names that had success outside of WWE saw Simmons renamed as Faarooq with a new look.

Sunny managed Faarooq during his gladiator gimmick debut in an outlandish baby blue outfit. Fans viewed Faarooq as a joke before WWE wisely dropped the gimmick. Simmons changed his look and formed the Nation of Domination for greater success.

5 Batista Debuted As A Deacon Sidekick For D-Von Dudley

Evolution Helped Save Batista’s Struggles Like They Did With Orton

  • Deacon Gimmick Limited His Chances Of Getting Over In Debut
  • D-Von’s Reverend Character Failing Hurt Batista In Debut Role
  • Batista Showed His Skills When Joining Evolution For Huge Push

There was a lot of hype for Batista in developmental due to his great look and improvement on the fly. Unfortunately, his main roster debut was a lot worse than remembered with a Deacon gimmick arriving as D-Von’s sidekick.


10 Best Tag Team Debuts In Wrestling History, Ranked

Wrestling fans remember the epic debuts of these tag teams, but which one tops the list?

The gimmick was already a weakness, but D-Von flopping badly with his singles push after the Dudley Boyz ended made it a dead act. Batista wasted his time until the D-Von character ended, and he was able to move into Evolution to get over.

4 DDP Lost His WCW Credibility During The Invasion

Rare Former WCW Champion Was Buried At Wrong Time

  • Ruined DDP’s WCW Name Value With Terrible Debut Angle
  • Stalking Undertaker’s Wife Was Never Going To Get Over
  • DDP Getting Buried By Ruined Rest Of WWE Career

WWE set up the debut of Diamond Dallas Page for the Invasion storyline since he and Booker T were the only former WCW Champions around for the WCW vs WWE story. However, they decided to use Page in a way that ruined everything from his WCW tenure.

Fans viewed DDP as the ultimate people’s champion babyface, but WWE wanted him in a strange heel role. Page debuted as the stalker of The Undertaker’s wife in a ridiculous storyline. Even though fans cheered the shock of seeing DDP in WWE for the first time, it set up his burial against Undertaker and his then-wife Sara.

3 Beth Phoenix Had Confusing Debut In Mickie James Vs Trish Stratus Feud

Injury Forced Beth Off WWE Television

  • Debuted As Mickie James Former Enemy Helping Trish Stratus
  • Painful Injury In Match Vs Victoria Removed Beth From WWE TV
  • Beth Returned With Better Glamazon Gimmick Making Her Star

Most fans don’t even remember Beth Phoenix’s role in the legendary Trish Stratus vs Beth Phoenix rivalry. This was considered one of the greatest women’s feuds in WWE history, but Phoenix joining the angle made little sense.

Trish was saved by a debuting Beth claiming she had issues with James from their past. Phoenix suffered a brutal jaw injury that required surgery to remove her from the role after a few weeks. This worked out for the best as Beth returned later with the much improved Glamazon character.

2 The Miz Had One Of The Worst Debuts In WWE History

Miz Deserves A Lot Of Credit For Having A Hall Of Fame Career

  • WWE Hired Miz After Competing In Tough Enough Season
  • Hosted Diva Search Botching Promos As First Official Role
  • Found Way To Get Over & Become Star After Worst Case Start

No one expected The Miz to last long in WWE after some terrible early roles. The first on-screen presence of Miz came as a Tough Enough contestant during embarrassing segments, but his official debut as a contracted talent was even worse.

WWE placed Miz in the hosting position of the Diva Search contest. Miz forgetting his lines led to an all-time bad moment struggling to remember the phone number to vote for the show. A lot of wrestlers backstage hated Miz, but he rebounded to have a great career still in a relevant role today.

1 Steve Austin Debuted With Terrible Presentation

The Ringmaster Gimmick Limited Him Until Breaking Out

  • Debuted Getting Interviewed By Brother Love In Talk Show Segment
  • Struggled When Everything About His Character Was More About DiBiase
  • Broke Out To Become All-Time Great Superstar Once Ditching Ringmaster

WWE signing Steve Austin was a great move, but it could have easily flopped badly from how things started. Austin debuted in a talk show segment hosted by Brother Love of all people. Ted DiBiase introduced Austin as his new client under The Ringmaster name.

There was little depth to Austin beyond playing off DiBiase’s past by bringing back the Million Dollar Championship. Austin didn’t get to show his true potential until losing DiBiase and breaking out with the Stone Cold persona to become the next major star.

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