Just watching Sheamus' 'My First Wrestlemania' clip (see here) and heard Cole say "No one has ever had a first year in the WWE like Sheamus has" at the 0:53 mark. It got me thinking about the best Rookie years and I think there can really only be one answer: Brock Lesnar.
He debuted the night after WM 18 and after just one year in the company Brock's resume looked like this:
- King of the Ring winner
- Defeated The Rock for the Undisputed WWE Championship in the main event of SummerSlam
- Last Undisputed WWE Champion until Randy Orton in 2013
- Defeated Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match for the title
- Won the 2003 Royal Rumble match
- Defeated Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania 19
There is a reason that they don't push guys like this anymore. Brock left after only two years in the company because he had already accomplished everything there was to accomplish and proceeded to bring the UFC (some consider a rival to WWE) to new heights in the PPV business due to the name he built as a WWE superstar.
Another reason might be that there has never and maybe will never be another guy like Brock Lesnar ever again. A man who can perform an F-5 on the Big Show and also execute a Shooting Star Press expertly (obviously not his botch at WM 19, but he did it flawlessly in developmental).
Can anyone's resume even remotely compare to this after just one year on the main roster? What other guys have had impressive Rookie years?