Fans are still buzzing about the in-ring debut of Hook earlier this month. He wrestled the first match of his career on the December 10, 2021 episode of AEW Rampage and got an impressive win over Fuego Del Sol.

Some are calling Hook’s first match one of the best in-ring debuts in recent memory. We assembled a list of seven pro wrestlers whose first-ever career televised matches were the most impressive. Please note that the views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of Wrestling Inc. or its staff.

We are excluding celebrities and professional athletes who had “one-off” matches. So you won’t be seeing Bad Bunny, Pat McAfee, or others like them on this list. This is about exceptional beginnings to pro wrestling careers.

#7 – Dominik Mysterio
vs. Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2020 (8/23/2020)

Seth Rollins did most of the heavy lifting in this match, but Dominik Mysterio held up his end of the deal with an expressive performance that reflected his relative lack of experience. More than a year later, this remains the most widely acclaimed match of Dominik Mysterio’s career.

#6 – Cain Velasquez
with Psycho Clown & Cody vs. Texano Jr., Taurus & Killer Kross at TripleMania XXVII (8/3/2019)

Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez thrilled fans with his first foray into pro wrestling. What stands out about his debut match is that he performed less like a converted MMA fighter and more as an authentic luchador. Velasquez delivered flying head scissors and arm drags while mixing in MMA-style throws and submission holds.

#5 – Hook
vs. Fuego Del Sol on AEW Rampage (12/8/2021)

After lurking in the background for about a year, the son of Taz made his in-ring debut on AEW Rampage. The presentation stands out for its conviction. From the entrance to the gear to the in-ring style, Hook appears to know exactly who he wants to be in the ring. Perhaps we’ll look back someday and feel sheepish about the big deal some of us made out of Hook’s debut. Or, perhaps, it’s just the beginning of something special.

#4 – Utami Hayashishita
vs. Jungle Kyona at Stardom X Stardom 2018: Kagetsu 10th Anniversary Show (8/12/2018)

The prodigy of Japan’s Joshi scene was a near-instant hit from the first moments she stepped inside a ring as a pro. As legend has it, Hayashishita’s performance in her debut match was so impressive, she secured a place in the 5★Star Grand Prix tournament less than a week later. She carved her way to the finals of that tournament and has never really looked back.

#3 – Daichi Hashimoto
vs. Masahiro Chono at ZERO1 10th Anniversary Show (3/6/2011)

It’s hard to imagine a more daunting challenge for a pro wrestler in their first career match. Six years after his death of his father, former five-time world champion Shinya Hashimoto, Daichi Hashimoto faced another Japanese legend in Masahiro Chono. The 19-year-old faced an impossible task living up to his father’s legacy but showed great fire and resilience on a huge stage.

#2 – Jun Akiyama
vs. Kenta Kobashi at AJPW 20th Anniversary Show (9/17/1992)

Jun Akiyama is a legendary name in Japan. And he began his pro wrestling career across the ring from another legend. Kenta Kobashi was still in his prime when these two met for the first time. The rookie gave Kobashi a competitive match, and Akiyama’s fighting spirit and determination quickly won over fans.

#1 – Ronda Rousey
with Kurt Angle vs. Triple H & Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 34 (4/18/2018)

Fans had anticipated Ronda Rousey’s arrival in WWE for years, and she did not disappoint. She was put on the biggest stage possible for her debut at WrestleMania 34, and she delivered with a performance that rocked the Superdome in New Orleans. Rousey’s transition from MMA headliner to WWE Superstar was nearly seamless.

The history of professional wrestling is long and vast. So, it’s impossible to pinpoint every great first match in every career. This list is just a start. We want your help. What are the exceptional career debut matches that we missed? Let us know in the comments down below.

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