10 Rare Awesome WWE Surprises

When WWE actually earned "Let it play out" - featuring Daniel Bryan, Chris Jericho, and others...

Daniel Bryan SummerSlam 2010

In theory, a big mystery angle appeals to the most basic human curiosity and raises our foolish hope that WWE does not write week-to-week under a framework ritually shredded by a brain-wormed autocrat.

For months in 2019, fans cautiously tried to peek into Erick Rowan's cage, half-expecting tosh, half-expecting something that wasn't an obviously fake, gigantic spider. It was a spider. Of course it was a spider.

That's a bad example. It was hardly going to be a seven-inch tall future megastar that had generated huge buzz on the Independent scene enclosed in that cage. That's physically impossible. Not that seven-inch tall part; an indie guy working a WrestleMania event is far less likely.

WWE has previous with such disappointments, even when expectations were reasonable.

Huge, mystery opponent? Existing midcard act Savio Vega!

Higher power? More like existing power!

Who ran over Stone Cold Steve Austin? The guy who claimed WWE does not like "Island boys", as The Rock held the belt right on front of his bloody eyes.

WWE literally laid an egg at Survivor Series 1990, and there was a literal turkey inside, and still we raise our hopes.

But - and here's that bargaining impulse - they also debuted...

10. The Undertaker Debuts

Daniel Bryan SummerSlam 2010

Ted DiBiase teased a mystery partner for Survivor Series 1990 ahead of his match against the Dream Team.

In one of those wonky, shouty, awesome say-anything-just-say-it-quickly-and-loudly group promos, Bret Hart et al. assessed the imminent threat, and vowed to overcome it with old-fashioned babyface resolve. Jim Neidhart didn't need no damn private investigator to find out who that person was. He was just going to punch him in the face and then do his mad cackle. Goddamnit, the Survivor Series was absolutely ace, and it's legacy is hugely enriched by the debut that followed.

DiBiase cut an in-ring promo to announce his new hired gun, which sort of implied that the funeral business wasn't doing too well. Trust WWE to prove an adage wrong. But this pedantry wasn't in the minds of the terrified young children drawn to the WWF through those juice explosions of Coliseum VHS covers.

His eerie presence was sold phenomenally by Gorilla Monsoon and Roddy Piper, as if he were Gary Strydom and they were Vince McMahon. The Undertaker stalked the ring, backed by the funeral march, and proceeded to annihilate Koko B. Ware and Dusty Rhodes in an inspired, committed bid to get him over huge.

The debuting WWF Superstar usually racked up wins over puny jobbers. Instantly, 'Taker was set apart with an indiscriminate massacre at the shocking expense of established name talent.

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Michael Sidgwick is an editor, writer and podcaster for WhatCulture Wrestling. With over seven years of experience in wrestling analysis, Michael was published in the influential institution that was Power Slam magazine, and specialises in providing insights into All Elite Wrestling - so much so that he wrote a book about the subject. You can order Becoming All Elite: The Rise Of AEW on Amazon. Possessing a deep knowledge also of WWE, WCW, ECW and New Japan Pro Wrestling, Michael’s work has been publicly praised by former AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, present AEW World Champion MJF, and surefire Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Cody Rhodes. When he isn’t putting your finger on why things are the way they are in the endlessly fascinating world of professional wrestling, Michael wraps his own around a hand grinder to explore the world of specialty coffee. Follow Michael on X (formerly known as Twitter) @MSidgwick for more!