With another Wrestlemania in the books, everyone held their collective breath as we moved onto Monday Night RAW. For well over twenty years now, it has become somewhat of a tradition for the first show after the big one to be the jumping off point for the new WWE year.
Even though the company is fond of dropping in surprises, sprinkling them throughout the long twelve months between the Show of Shows, there is no doubting that the first RAW of their new calendar year is always the one that will throw up the most shocks, as well as being the most rambunctious. What follows here is a closer look at the 10 Best Post-Mania Raw Debuts.
10 Lars Sullivan
Starting out with the most recent appearance on this list, Lars Sullivan's debut on the main roster has been long overdue. Expected to start his run back in January, a crippling panic attack would see him leave the show and go on hiatus.
He would be MIA for a good three months but showed up on RAW to lay waste to Kurt Angle, who had just finished his retirement speech. After an initial face to face standoff, Sullivan would slam Angle to the canvas before dropping a massive flying head butt from the top turnbuckle, straight into Kurt's heart.
9 Enzo and Cass
No matter what side of the divide you stand on when it comes to Enzo and Cass, especially after whatever the hell that was at the G1 Supercard, there is no denying when they showed up on RAW it was to one of the biggest pops heard all night.
Interrupting the Dudley Boyz, the Smack Talker Skywalker and his incredibly tall friend proceeded to run D-Von and Bubba down, trying to provoke a confrontation. And though the Dudley's would refuse to be drawn into any physical actions, it was hilarious to watch Enzo and Cass run through their repertoire at their expense.
When the Ravishing Russian Lana walked onto the stage and introduced Rusev to the world, little did we know just how badly he would eventually be mismanaged in the WWE. Which is a shame, because as debuts go, his was a cracker.
The whole thing was over in about three and a half minutes, two of which were taken up by Lana's introduction and Rusev's ring walk, but we were treated to the Bulgarian Brute totally and utterly destroying poor old Zack Ryder. Beating the living snot out of Ryder, Rusev would eventually lock in the Accolade and emerge victoriously.
In the same vein as Rusev, Umaga's debut was all about quickfire destruction but whereas the Bulgarian Brute was fed Zack Ryder, Umaga got to put a world of hurt on the legendary Ric Flair.
While Flair was in the ring, talking about his performance in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match from the night before, Armando Alejandro Estrada showed up and informed the Nature Boy his time was over. When Ric took exception to this Umaga would put him straight by beating the tar out of him, and in doing so set himself up as a monster heel.
With Shawn Michaels out of the company after losing to Stone Cold, Triple H needed to step up to the plate and take DX in a completely different direction. But without his best friend by his side, many doubted if he'd be capable of doing so. Right up until he re-introduced the former 1-2-3 Kid as the newest member of the stable.
Waltman was back and, boy, was he pissed. He cut one of the most scathing promos ever heard on WWE TV, taking aim at Eric Bischoff and firing both barrels and, let's be honest here, it was absolutely fantastic.
5 Brock Lesnar
Two for the price of one here, as the Beast Incarnate's initial debut in 2002 and his re-introduction in 2012 were both pretty jaw-dropping.
Originally Lesnar made his way through the crowd before completely decimating Al Snow, Spike Dudley, and Maven and though he wouldn't take on three opponents when he returned ten years later, the fact that he got in the ring and F5'd John Cena near clean out of his sneakers, was a sight to behold. No matter what he would later become during both runs in the company, there's no denying that Brock Lesnar sure knows how to make an entrance.
The Man That Gravity Forgot showed up on RAW the night after Wrestlemania 31, answering Curtis Axel's open challenge when he was still going through his Axelmania schtick.
At the time Neville was the NXT champion and he did that brand proud. Running through his high flying move set and making Axel, probably, wish he hadn't bothered showing up for work that day, he would eventually get the pin after finishing Curtis off with the Red Arrow. Looking back on it now, it's a shame that his tenure with WWE ended so badly but their loss is definitely AEW's gain.
Showing up after Wrestlemania 12, Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy would make short work of Bob Holly and if that had been all he'd done that night, Mick would never have gotten a look in on this list. But it wasn't, not by a long shot.
In the main event, after the Undertaker had defeated Bradshaw, Mankind made his way to the ring and proceeded to beat the Dead Man from pillar to post, before locking in the Mandible Claw. This would spark off one of the best feuds that the WWE, and the Attitude Era, would see. Luckily for us.
One of the worst cases of a career buried, the longtime holdout Goldberg might not have enjoyed a great time in the WWE but his debut was something special.
With The Rock in the ring, boasting how he'd beaten Stone Cold on the Show of Shows, it seemed that the Great One was going to get away with gloating. Until some very familiar music hit and Goldberg was, finally, in the WWE. Making his way to the ring the Bald One told the Rock that he was next and speared him out of his very expensive shoes, popping the fans and nearly taking the roof off the place.
It may seem strange to see Paige in the top spot on this list but she managed to achieve one thing that the others didn't. She won a title on her debut.
Initially coming out to congratulate AJ Lee on her win the previous night, she managed to wind her up so much that an impromptu match for the Divas Championship was made. Paige made short work of AJ, pinning her and taking the title for herself. And though her career would be cut tragically short, there is no denying that her debut, and her entire run with the WWE, was, at times, pure brilliance.