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TJR Blog: WWE Top 10 Video – WWE Debuts of WCW Legends

There are a lot of big names from World Championship Wrestling that made the jump to World Wrestling Entertainment. What was the best debut of a WCW performer or a legend as they are being called in this list? That’s up for debate.

In the interest of bringing you more content here on TJRWrestling, I started turning this into a quick blog where I would take a WWE video about a particular Top 10 topic and make a blog post about it. This past Saturday’s blog was about Controversial Conclusions and now we’re looking at WCW guys heading to WWE.

The way this works is that the names can only be WCW performers that were making their first appearances in WWE. It means guys like Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Scott Steiner and others wouldn’t count because they were all in WWE before they came back in the early 2000s.

This list was posted by WWE on September 21, 2015 and the video is at the bottom of this post.

10. Rey Mysterio – Smackdown 7/25/02

There was a lot of excitement for Rey’s WWE debut because he was one of the most exciting wrestlers ever. If he debuted a year earlier when WWE bought WCW he may have been lost in the shuffle with some of the other guys they had. Plus, he wasn’t a heel like the WCW guys were portrayed as. WWE booked him really well for many years as a beloved, underdog babyface that had a style unlike anybody else.

Rey will always be one of my favorite WCW guys ever. He spent over a decade in WWE and was a multiple time World Champion as well.

9. Lex Luger – Royal Rumble 1993

When WWE brought in Lex Luger, they really pushed the idea that he was this physical specimen unlike anything we had ever seen before. It’s because Vince McMahon has always been about pushing the guys with the big muscles and the physiques that make them stand out. They gave him Bobby Heenan as a manager while calling him “The Narcissist.” The gimmick failed miserably, was dropped within a few months and he became a face as a Hulk Hogan replacement with the Lex Express. That was mildly successful, but also considered a disappointment.

Luger ended up bolting to WCW in 1995 and never returned to WWE. He’s still not in WWE’s Hall of Fame even though he probably should be considering some other names that are in there. He’s had some health issues too, so maybe that’s why it hasn’t happened yet.

8. Diamond Dallas Page – Raw 06/18/01

Here’s an example of bringing in a WCW guy and putting them in the wrong role. Wrestling fans loved DDP, yet WWE booked him to be the guy that was stalking The Undertaker’s wife at the time named Sara. When it was revealed to be him, I was confused because DDP had a lovely wife named Kimberly that was featured prominently on WCW TV all the time. She’s hotter than Sara. Why would he be stalking somebody else’s wife? It was just a weird gimmick that didn’t work. In addition to all of that, DDP was one of the best faces in WCW. Bringing him in as a heel was a bad creative decision on WWE’s part.

Technically, DDP was on WWE programming before this because he drove a car to the ring at WrestleMania 6. However, this moment in 2001 is considered his real debut. He should be in WWE’s Hall of Fame very soon, perhaps in 2017.

7. Big Show – St. Valentine’s Day Massacre 1999

This is one of my favorite ones because it happened during a match. It was Vince McMahon vs. Steve Austin in a Steel Cage match at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre event in February 1999. Near the end of the match, Big Show emerged through the ring and went after Austin. He ended up tossing Austin into the cage, which then opened in the planned finish. That gave Austin the win. They called Show “Paul Wight” at the time because that was his real name. It took a few months for them to come up with the Big Show name.

I remember a few weeks before this it was known online that he was coming to WWE, but we had no idea when it happened. I was genuinely shocked to see him that night. He’s been in wrestling for over 20 years and is obviously a WWE Hall of Famer in the near future since he is likely retiring next year.

6. Ric Flair – Primetime Wrestling 09/09/91

It was a huge moment when Bobby Heenan held the WCW World Title on WWE television and introduced Ric Flair. They had to blur the title out at the time because of legal issues with WCW. By that point in his career, Flair was considered the best performer of the 1980s and was still very good in the early 1990s. He was actually 42 years old at the time of his WWE debut.

He made a quick impact in WWE because he ended up winning the WWE Title four months later at the 1992 Royal Rumble with an incredible performance. He ended up leaving in early 1993 and didn’t return until late 2001 after WWE purchased WCW.

5. Bill Goldberg – Raw 03/31/03

It was well known that Goldberg had signed with WWE in early 2003. He was one of the biggest names from WCW that didn’t make the jump in 2001, but we all knew that WWE had to bring him in at some point. They timed it right because it was the night after WrestleMania 19 with The Rock (as a heel) in the ring ripping on the fans about how great he is and then Goldberg was shown arriving. The reaction to Goldberg was massive and they loved him even more when he hit a Spear on The Rock as well.

Goldberg ended up staying in WWE for one year. He left after WrestleMania 20 in 2004. I never expected him to return, but we just saw him come back on this past Monday’s Raw. “Never say never” is a phrase that certainly fits him.

4. Booker T – King of the Ring 2001

Here’s another one where a guy debuted during a match. It was Steve Austin defending the WWE Title in a triple threat against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. Austin was outside the ring when Booker jumped the barricade and attacked him at ringside. It was one of the first attacks by a WCW guy on a WWE guy. Booker hit Austin with an axe kick on the floor and nailed a suplex that put Austin through an announce table at ringside. Austin did end up coming back to win the match. Great debut for Booker.

Booker went on to have an excellent career in WWE that led to him being inducted in WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2013. He’s still working for WWE as a commentator on the Raw, Smackdown and pay-per-view pre-shows.

3. Chris Jericho – Raw 08/09/99

This is a personal favorite because I was such a huge Jericho fan from his WCW days as a cocky midcarder that wasn’t able to become a top guy. It was one of the most frustrating things about liking WCW. When the countdown clock started airing on Raw, most of us thought it was Jericho, but nobody really knew. Then he showed up during a Rock promo in Chicago, they traded barbs and Jericho showed that he’s a big star that would fit in just fine in WWE.

It’s 17 years later and Jericho is still one of the best talkers in the business. I really think he’s one of the ten best performers in WWE history.

2. Sting – Survivor Series 2014

This is pretty fresh in our minds because it was two years ago. I thought it was a great moment even though it was leaked online a couple of days earlier. We knew he was going to show up at some point, so my anticipation level for this show went up in the days leading up to it. Sting was another of those “never say never” guys because we had no idea if he was going to work for WWE day, yet here he was in his mid-50s. He showed up to cost Triple H’s team the victory in a Survivor Series tag match while Dolph Ziggler got the win. Remember the end of The Authority? That didn’t last long.

The angle was done to set up Triple H vs. Sting at WrestleMania 31, which resulted in a Triple H win. Stupid booking decision, but that’s a perk of being Triple H. Sting got a WWE Title shot against Seth Rollins at Night of Champions 2015, suffered a neck injury in that match and he won’t ever wrestle again. I’m glad he was the Hall of Fame headliner earlier this year.

1. Eric Bischoff – Raw 07/15/02

Great choice for number one because it’s something I never thought I’d see on WWE television. Eric Bischoff was the guy that was determined to drive WWE out of business when he was running WCW and he came pretty close to doing it. Over a year after WWE purchased WCW, Vince McMahon decided to bring back Bischoff as the GM of the Raw brand. The handshake on the stage that night, then the hug and the celebratory pose was one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen on Raw. It was a legitimate shock to nearly everybody watching Raw that night.

Bischoff was the on screen GM of Raw for over three years. He was very good in the role of a cocky, arrogant jerk that treated people unfairly. I think he’s the best authority figure WWE has ever had that wasn’t Vince McMahon.

Here’s the video.

 

My Reaction

They did a really good job on the list. I really can’t think of anybody that they missed. In terms of changing the order, I would put Rey Mysterio higher up while Luger would be at 10 and DDP would at 9 because I think WWE botched their debuts. I’d probably put Booker at 6 and Flair at 4 just because of the names of the guys in terms of star power.

The order of the top three is fine with me even though Jericho is my favorite in that group. Sting showing up in WWE after all these years really was a significant thing from two years ago. I’m never going to forget that. Then there’s Bischoff, which is one of the most surprising moments in WWE history. It deserves the top spot.

 

Previous Top 10 Reactions

Controversial Conclusions

That’s all for now. My plan is to do these every Saturday (when WWE posts their new videos) and Wednesday, which will be when I pick one of the videos from the past.