Survivor Series is one of the biggest Pay-Per-View events on WWE’s calendar, even being included in their ‘Big Four’ category along with the likes of he Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, and SummerSlam.
The traditional Survivor Series elimination match pits five Superstars up against five other Superstars usually from opposite brands or 10 superstars who hold grudges. This is one of the main reasons why Survivor Series has become such an incredible event.
The other reason is the amount of WWE Superstars who have made their debut there and become huge stars in the wrestling world. It seems that Survivor Series is definitely the place to debut if you’re looking for a lengthy career in WWE.
Some of the biggest stars in the company have walked through that curtain at the November based event and some of them are still in WWE now.
Obviously, the biggest legend to begin this trend was The Undertaker who walked through that curtain for the very first time almost 26 years ago. He has since gone on to become one of the most recognizable wrestlers in the history of the company and there are many more who have attempted to follow in his footsteps.
15. Memorable Debut: The Rock
It hard to imagine a Superstar that has been nurtured through WWE and became a bigger star than The Rock. The People’s Champion is now a stand-out star in WWE and Hollywood but much like everyone else on this list, The Rock made his first impressions on the WWE Universe at Survivor Series in New York City back in 1996.
Known as ‘The Blue Chipper’ Rocky Maivia at this point in his career, The Rock came out in front of a packed crowd at the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena,’ Madison Square Garden. He played his part in the traditional Survivor Series match by eliminating the two final members of the opposing team and becoming the sole survivor that night. That is how you make an impact!
14. Memorable Debut: Roman Reigns
The current United States Champion and the former powerhouse of The Shield has become one of the biggest stars in WWE over the past four years. He is the 2014 Royal Rumble winner, a former three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, and he has already main evented WrestleMania twice while facing legends Brock Lesnar and Triple H.
Reigns’ WWE career began at Survivor Series back in 2012, when he along with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, known collectively as The Shield debuted during the match between CM Punk and Ryback for the WWE Championship. The trio then attacked Ryback and put him through the announce table as a way to signal that they had arrived, and it seemed to have worked. (More on The Shield to follow.)
13. Possible Debut: Austin Aries
‘The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived’ has made a home for himself in NXT recently and what an impact he has made. NXT is only there as a glorified training facility and so when Superstars reach a point where they are ready to move up to the main roster, NXT has to adapt to life without them.
The Women’s Division has suffered over the past few months after losing Nia Jax, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, and Bayley, but they will recover. The same can be said for the male division, they have lost a lot of talent over the past few months but they have adapted and they will adapt to the loss of Austin Aries if WWE decides it is finally time for the world to see Aries on the main roster.
12. Memorable Debut: Scott Steiner
Technically Scott Steiner made his WWE debut many years before, but following a run in WCW, he was resigned by WWE and returned to the company. Steiner was then quickly added to Survivor Series Pay-Per-View event at Madison Square Garden back in 2002.
Steiner is often left off many of these posts when it comes to incredible Survivor Series debuts because he did not return as the same wrestler he was when he was in WWE a few years earlier as a tag team specialist. Steiner was a shell of his former self and after terrible feuds with Triple H and Test in 2003, his run in WWE wasn’t a very memorable one. However, his initial re-debut was certainly a memorable one. ‘Big Poppa Pump’ had arrived.
11. Memorable Debut: Seth Rollins
The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion and first ever dual WWE and United States Champion is a former member of The Shield, and despite the fact that he has become the biggest star out of the trio, he was the reason that the group split back in 2014. Because of this we won’t remember his debut very fondly.
Seth Rollins made his debut along with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns at the 2012 Survivor Series event. Midway through the main event The Shield descended upon the arena and made the WWE Universe aware that they had arrived by targeting Ryback and triple power bombing him through the announce table. The group has since split up and gone on to much bigger things over the past four years.
10. Possible Debut: Bobby Roode
‘The Glorious One’ has only been in WWE for a few months and looks like he is set to be embroiled in a feud with Tye Dillinger heading into TakeOver: Toronto the day before Survivor Series. All NXT talent will be in the same city because of their TakeOver event the day before so any of them could make their debut at Survivor Series.
Bobby Roode is a huge name. He is a Superstar who could easily step up to the main roster without having to spend a lot of time down in NXT, but it remains to be seen as to whether or not Roode will be the one WWE choose as the next call-up to the main roster. However, it looks as though Roode is ready.
9. Memorable Debut: The Gobbledy Gooker
The Gobbledy Gooker was sadly overshadowed by the debut of one of the biggest Superstars to have set foot in WWE because Survivor Series 1990 is remembered as the event where The Undertaker made his WWE debut, but so did The Gobbledy Gooker.
For many weeks leading up to the event, WWE promoted a giant egg, then finally at the event a giant turkey came out of the egg and began dancing with Gene Okerland. Sadly the debut wasn’t what WWE expected and the dancing Turkey didn’t last long. Gooker managed to disappear from WWE TV almost as quickly as he debuted. As already stated, luckily there was another huge debut at that very same event. While a horrible debut, The Gobbledy Gooker remains memorable.
8. Memorable Debut: Dean Ambrose
The final member of The Shield and the former WWE World Champion, Dean Ambrose has been perhaps the slowest former member of the dominant group to rise to fame through WWE. Ambrose has only recently been able to claim a World Championship after being a former Intercontinental Champion and a Money in the Bank winner.
Much like Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, Ambrose made his WWE debut at Survivor Series back in 2012. The trio had never been seen before previously and following the attack on Ryback, they went through the WWE roster and tore it apart. This trend continued for the two years that followed until their destruction in 2014. Since then the three former members have become three of the most successful Superstars in WWE.
7. Possible Debut: Shinsuke Nakamura
The King of Strong Style has changed the face of NXT since he made his debut against Sami Zayn. He is the current holder of the NXT Championship, but could easily be promoted to the main roster with the title much like like Kevin Owens. Or WWE can wait until he has dropped it to Samoa Joe like Finn Balor.
Nakamura is a talent that is one of a kind. He will make a huge impact regardless of which brand he decides to debut on, but I have a feeling he would be much better suited on SmackDown Live since he’s better at wrestling than he is at talking. Nakamura will be a fantastic choice if the company should decide to have him debut at this year’s Survivor Series.
6. Memorable Debut: Jazz
Jazz was one of the most technically gifted female wrestlers to set foot through a WWE curtain. Sadly she wasn’t handled the right way by WWE because the company was not ready for the likes of Molly Holly, Jazz, and Gail Kim. However, Jazz is still remembered for her debut at the 2001 Survivor Series event.
Jazz made her debut in a Six-Pack Challenge for the newly resurrected Women’s Championship, but Jazz failed to win the match and seal an incredible debut. Despite this she did go on to win the Women’s Championship the following year before leaving the company after just three years in 2004. Jazz was rough and tough and proved to be an excellent female talent, especially considering how the women were booked at that time.
5. Memorable Debut: Kurt Angle
The Olympic Gold Medalist and former World Champion has more recently made a name for himself in TNA where he decided to switch over to following his departure from WWE in 2006. However, Angle became a huge name in the wrestling industry following his incredible run in WWE.
This run began at Survivor Series back in 1999. Angle debuted in a match against Shawn Stasiak which was a glorified squash match. Angle then went on to prove himself as one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the company but Angle decided to leave the company merely seven years later and went on to be an even bigger star in TNA. Kurt Angle’s Farewell Tour ended earlier this year and it seems Angle may have finally stepped away from the ring.
4. Possible Debut: Tye Dillinger
What more does Tye Dillinger need to do? He has a fantastic character and he is an impressive wrestler in the ring. Why are WWE leaving him to rot down in NXT? Tye has proved over the past few weeks in his feud with Bobby Roode that he has a versatile character and he would slot in well on the main roster.
He wouldn’t be a huge name debut like many of the TNA stars who have flooded through NXT over the past few months, but he will definitely be a star that will shine in the long run if WWE use him efficiently. Tye Dillinger should really be the Survivor Series debut pick for WWE but it is more likely to be the following possible debut.
3. Memorable Debut: Sting
Sting was the face of WCW for many years before he decided to make the switch over to TNA and became a huge star for one of WWE’s biggest rivals. Sting then shockingly signed with WWE back in 2014 and following months of teasing that the legend would make his debut, he did at Survivor Series in 2014.
Sting didn’t even have to wrestle at the event but he still made a huge impact. During the traditional Survivor Series match between Team Authority and Team John Cena, Sting made his way to the ring and after hitting the Scorpion Death Drop on Triple H he put Dolph Ziggler over Seth Rollins to allow Team Cena to win the match and keep their jobs in WWE, while also ousting The Authority.
2. Memorable Debut: The Undertaker
Of course, Survivor Series can’t be mentioned in a sentence without The Undertaker being a part of it. He was the biggest Superstar to come out of the event following his debut back in 1990 and last year WWE celebrated 25 years of The Undertaker at the event.
25 years of wrestling has finally reached a point where The Undertaker looks set to bow out soon. The sure-fire future Hall of Famer has just undergone surgery so it is unknown when he will be returning to WWE, but it seems that his match at WrestleMania 33 could well be the last one he wrestles for WWE. What a long and storied career it has been. One that began with this memorable Survivor Series debut back in 1990.
1. Possible Debut: Samoa Joe
The former TNA Superstar and former NXT Champion has definitely changed the face of NXT over the past year that he has been down there. However, it seems that it is finally time for the Samoan Submission Machine to make his way towards a new roster of victims.
Samoa Joe is being speculated to be a name that will be on a ‘Memorable Debuts’ list in the near future. It seems that Joe could be the one to come up and finally defeat Braun Strowman. That is if WWE decide that he should head over to Raw, otherwise it could be his fellow former TNA friend AJ Styles that Samoa Joe sets his sights on instead. Either way, Samoa Joe will definitely make the intended impact if WWE give him the opportunity to debut at one of their biggest events of the year.
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