As we close in on Wrestlemania 34, we can all get excited about a stacked card. Thirteen matches crammed with some of the most talented superstars the landscape of WWE has ever seen. Looking at that talent, it’s almost surprising that many of the major names will actually be making their Wrestlemania debuts. Be it because of injury or having spent most of their time in other promotions, here are five superstars making their ‘Mania debut at Wrestlemania 34.
Finn Balor is actually the one on this list that has had the longest tenure with the company without being on the card for Wrestlemania. Formerly a stalwart in Japan with New Japan Pro Wrestling, he was also the first leader of the hyper-popular Bullet Club with fellow WWE superstars Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows while there. He was immensely successful winning the IWGP Junior Heavy Wight Title three times, the tag titles six times, and the Best of the Super Juniors Tournament twice (2010, 2013). Balor signed for WWE in 2014 and joined their developmental brand NXT. While there he essentially became the face of the promotion and would go on to win their Championship Title. He still currently holds the record for longest reign lasting 292 days. He was drafted to the Raw brand on July 19th, 2016 and went on to win the inaugural Universal Championship title at SummerSlam 2016, but would have to give it up the next day due to injuring his shoulder in the match. After rehabbing the injury, he returned to Raw the day after Wrestlemania 33 making 34 his grand entrance to Wrestlemania stage. He will be facing off against Seth Rollins and The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship in a Triple Threat.
Another NJPW veteran, Nakamura made his name as a top performer there. While with the promotion he won a laundry list of accolades including the top title on three occasions. He signed with WWE in January 2016 making his NXT Debut at the Takeover Pay-Per-View in Dallas before Wrestlemania 32. Following two reigns as NXT Champion, he was brought up to the main roster on the first SmackDown Live after Wrestlemania 33. After what some felt was a lackluster run WWE went all in on The King of Strong Style having him win the 2018 Royal Rumble to set up his Wrestlemania debut. A dream match reuniting him with his opponent from his final Wrestle Kingdom match. None other than the Phenomenal One, AJ Styles, in a clash for the World Heavyweight Title.
Nobody is ready for Asuka, and the Empress of Tomorrow is prepared to prove it for the first time at Wrestlemania. Asuka made a name herself in Japan before coming over to WWE and debuting with NXT in September 2015 and has been an utterly dominant fixture in the women’s division since. She held the NXT Women’s Title for an insane 510 days, the longest title reign in the modern era, before relinquishing the title thus keeping her reign undefeated. It was announced that she would be joining the Raw roster on September 11, 2017, and she made her debut at No Mercy in October. Since then no one on the main roster has been able to stop her. Asuka was the sole survivor of Raw’s Women’s team at Survivor Series 2017 and won the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble in January 2018. In true Asuka fashion, she showed up at Fastlane in March 2018 to the shock of everyone to announce that she would be challenging for Charlotte’s SmackDown Live Championship despite being a member of the Raw roster. This has set up a match pitting arguably the two best women the WWE have on the roster against each other in a match that is a must watch.
It’s somewhat understood among fans that the WWE doesn’t like acknowledging it’s smaller competitor TNA (now Impact Wrestling). A superstar’s time there is rarely noted and not often commented on, so if the WWE had its way we would all just think that Bobby Roode didn’t wrestle for 12 years. In reality, he was a TNA main eventer. Roode won a myriad of titles with the promotion including the top title twice. He also currently holds the record for the longest reign as World Heavy Weight Champion in TNA at 256 days. Roode made his first appearance in NXT in June 2016. He would go on to be NXT Champion before making his main roster debut in August 2017. Roode already has a reign as United States Champion under his belt and looks to get it a second time by winning a fatal four way against Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal, and Rusev.
Ok, ok before some mark out there yells at me that technically she appeared at Wrestlemania 31– I know but not as an actually signed member of the roster. It was more of a celebrity appearance alongside The Rock. This will be her first official match in the ring and what do you know, it’ll be against her new bosses. Already incredibly successful in the fighting world with a considerable resume including an Olympic Bronze medal in Judo and former Bantamweight Champion in UFC. She is also a wrestling fan at heart, basing her entrance and gear on Rowdy Roddy Piper. She was even wearing Piper’s leather jacket when she debuted at the Royal Rumble. She will be eased into WWE at Wrestlemania 34 by joining fellow Olympian Kurt Angle in a tag team match against Stephanie McMahon, and husband Triple H. Rousey is already wildly popular thanks to her prior exposure to the public and is heading into her first Wrestlemania with a ton of fervor.
All these superstars are looking for their very own Wrestlemania moment. I know personally, I haven’t been this excited for a ‘Mania in years and these five have a lot to do with that.