WWE hosts at least one PPV a month, and four times a year, there is a major event. This fall is Survivor Series, coming to PPV and the WWE Network on Sunday, November 18. While the event revolves around the traditional elimination tag team match, the show is actually know for some pretty big debuts.
Because shows like Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble tend to have a little more hype around them, Survivor Series has to do something a bit more special to attract attention. Sometimes, there are shocking moments to get fans talking, and sometimes, there are some crazy title changes. However, the show is also known for debuting some new stars. Since the first Survivor Series in 1987, there have been some landmark debuts, but there are seven that are incredibly important.
If we’re lucky, we’ll get number eight on Sunday. Because at this point, that’s what WWE needs to make this pay-per-view stand tall. Check out the match card for the upcoming Survivor Series, along with our predictions for the winners. And visit Gamespot on Sunday, November 18, when we’ll covering the entire event live
7. Kane (1997)
Kane is most famous for his initial reveal at In Your House: Badd Blood, when he ripped off the door to Hell in a Cell and Tombstoned the Undertaker. But Kane’s in-ring debut was against Mankind at Survivor Series. He won in under ten minutes and showed that he could do more than stalk about and look scary.
6. Jazz (2001)
After a stint in ECW, Jazz was ready for her closeup. She debuted during the six-pack challenge for the WWE Women’s Championship at the 2001 Survivor Series, and though she lost to Trish Stratus, she would go on to win the WWE Women’s Championship twice: first on a February episode of Raw the following year, and again at WWE Backlash in 2003.
5. Sting (2014)
The crow caw triggered that rare combination of shock and joy from the crowd. Sting, the final holdout from WCW, had signed with WWE and was headed to the ring to confront Triple H at Survivor Series in 2014. He hit his Scorpion Death Drop on The Game and closed the show to massive applause.
WWE had built this up for some time; Sting had been making limited appearance for the company, most notably in a commercial for WWE 2K15, where he was the pre-order bonus character. But unfortunately, this was the peak of his WWE career; he inexplicably lost to Triple H at Wrestlemania 31 and then received a career ending injury at Night of Champions (2015) against Seth Rollins. He was subsequently inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2016.
4. The Rock (1996)
Rocky Maivia’s debut was successful, but typical of WWE’s continual mishandling of babyfaces. He was a smiling, earnest good guy with a vaguely ethnic costume, and the commentators made sure to call him a “blue chip prospect” while emphasizing his blood relations to the legendary Anoa’i family and his father, “Soul Man” Rocky Johnson.
The crowd responded positively, but not with the level of adoration and excitement one would ideally want. He was ‘too’ good and tried too hard; he was too fresh-faced for the crowd to invest or believe in, or take seriously. It would take a heel turn to give him an edge and transform him into the legendary performer he was meant to be.
3. Kurt Angle (1999)
WWE played this debut straight; Kurt Angle really did win an Olympic medal with a broken freaking neck, and they didn’t have to sell him as anything other than that. In his debut match at the 1999 Survivor Series, he defeated Shawn Stasiak and gave every bit of the natural performance that fans would come to expect of him.
Because he was presented as an ’80s babyface, smack in the middle of the late-’90s Attitude Era, the antihero loving crowd booed him. And Angle leaned into this reputation, which made him one of the best, most ironically hated heels of his generation.
2. The Shield: Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns (2012)
What’s great about The Shield’s main roster debut was how understated it was. It wasn’t hyped beforehand to give us false expectations. It wasn’t even done with a musical introduction. Instead, Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns, dressed in matching black turtlenecks, stormed the ring as though they were run-ins from the audience. It was completely in tune with their renegade characterization. Seek and destroy.
All three men would go onto to become wildly popular singles performers; they are at the top of the company today. But for that night at the 2012 Survivor Series, they were three relatively unknown performers, knocking on the door to greatness.
1. The Undertaker (1990)
The Phenom made his debut as the mystery partner on Ted Dibiase’s Survivor Series team. He looked more like the Wild West mortician that he was originally supposed to be, and he had his hair combed back rather than hanging in front of his face. He was managed by a red-faced Brother Love instead of a white-faced Paul Bearer.
But several key essentials were already in place. The organ music. The slow methodical entrance. And his very first Tombstone Piledriver, delivered to the head of Koko B. Ware. This was the beginning of a WWE Legend and a legendary career. And nearly three decades later, the Undertaker can still frighten, inspire, and awe.