20 memorable Superstar debuts

#19 Santino Marella

There is no better way for a Superstar to announce his presence in WWE than winning a championship in his first match. Actually, it’s even more historic if you are a fan who answers an open challenge from Mr. McMahon during Raw’s first-ever broadcast from Italy.

That’s exactly what happened to Santino Marella on April 16, 2007. Santino was plucked out of the audience by Mr. McMahon to challenge the Samoan Bulldozer, Umaga, for the Intercontinental Title. With the WWE Universe in Milan, Italy, in firm support of their fellow countryman, Santino amazingly held his own against the monster.

That was until The Chairman stopped the match and declared it a No Holds Barred contest, allowing The Samoan Bulldozer and his manager, Armando Estrada, to decimate the eager challenger. Yet before Umaga and Estrada could fully humiliate Marella, Bobby Lashley made a surprise appearance, taking down the Samoan monster and pulling Santino on top of the unconscious Umaga for the victory.

The “Milan Miracle” was complete, and Santino later proved that his jaw-dropping debut and impressive Intercontinental Title win were no fluke. The Italian Stallion has since become an Intercontinental Champion, WWE Tag Team Champion and United States Champion.