Hi everyone! I got 4 best/worst list articles to finish 2017 and this is the first. I’m going to keep these simple and let the examples speak for themselves. I’d like feedback on other great matches, but I ain’t seen anything rated over 5 stars this year as I don’t watch New Japan (except Wrestle Kingdom). With that in mind, I’ve kept the lists mostly within WWE’s main roster, NXT, and Impact Wrestling. As stated in the title, today I’ll be looking at the best matches under the WWE banner.
#5 – Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne In The UK Championship Finals
The first huge match of the year for me. Before the UK title tournament, I had no idea who Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne was. I didn’t see some of the early rounds, but I managed to see the rest of the tournament on the 15th January. I was so impressed with Dunne’s heel work, and how skilled Bate was despite only being 19-years-old.
When they met in the final, the chemistry was on another level. You could tell these guys had worked together countless times before, and it sparked a rivalry which continues to this day. I like to believe it was the best rivalry anywhere in the wrestling business this year, and for years to come they will continue crossing paths and become synonymous with one another. Even Michael Cole got into this! I’ve never heard him be so excited during a match in all the time he’s been in WWE.
#4 – NXT Takeover Wargames: Authors Of Pain & Roderick Strong vs. Sanity (Young, Wolfe, Dain) vs. Undisputed Era (Cole, Fish, Reilly)
Having loved the barbaric WCW Wargames growing up, I was sufficiently hyped for NXT Wargames. Of course, I was a little disappointed when WWE decided not to include a roof to the structure covering two rings, but I accepted it after learning a wrestler could lose the match for their team if they found a way to the outside of the cage. With that rule in place, it was still like having a roof on it; except they could climb and do crazy spots without it blocking them! If you cannot see this video properly, you will need to login to Daily Motion and turn off the family filter at the bottom of the page.
#3 – Summerslam: Lesnar vs. Reigns vs. Strowman vs. Joe
A lot of hype surrounding this Universal title match as it was the best time to take the belt off Lesnar if WWE wanted too. Not only that, but it gave both Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman one of the biggest matches of their careers. With four big heavyweights battling for supremacy, it was always going to be a great match.
The outcome probably hurt in a lot of people’s eyes, but I like to focus on the quality of the match itself. Summerslam is a PPV which often gets forgotten about, and in recent times it’s even taken a backseat to Survivor Series. The rest of the PPV was fairly average, and luckily this main event saved the show from becoming yet another mediocre entry in to the history of Summerslam.
#2 – NXT Takeover Chicago: Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate
Several months after their memorable encounter in the UK finals, the world couldn’t stop but wonder if Dunne and Bate would wrestle again for the UK Championship. And it happened four months later at NXT Takeover: Chicago, with Dunne looking to dethrone his former student. And it certainly did not disappoint! It was rated as highly as the #1 match on this list; so I consider them equals. The only difference being .. one of them was on a main roster PPV while the other was on a NXT PPV. Also, Jim Ross was on hand to call the action
Regardless of where it happened, if you somehow missed this, or the UK finals .. you’ve seriously missed out. What are you doing with your time? How have you not given them a chance yet? This is the future of WWE, and there’s no doubt that the rivalry will continue in to 2018 and beyond. Bate & Dunne has been magical, something WWE’s lacked for many years. I’d put it up there with Austin vs. McMahon, or Hart vs. HBK. It’s a rivalry which has to keep producing countless classics. Did anyone ever see The Fast Show (UK comedy program)? Remember the big long punch up? That’s what I want to see from Bate & Dunne til they retire.
#1 – Royal Rumble: AJ Styles vs. John Cena
Feels like such a long time ago now, but it’s credited as the best match of the year by WWE and others. I’m not sure what I can say about it, other than we saw two veterans who’ve done everything in their careers .. go out there and steal the show. It takes a special kind of talent to push Cena in to a highly rated contest, and AJ is one of them. I can’t adequately describe how great this was in writing, so I’ll let the match speak for itself. But don’t worry, I’ve got three more lists to bring you before the end of the year, so there’s plenty to look forward too! Have a nice Xmas everyone! 🙂