Liam Hoofe with his top 10 WWE matches of 2017 so far…
2017 has been a strange year for the WWE. The company have seen ratings drop week after week and we’ve even see Jinder Mahal crowned as the WWE Champion. On the other hand, though, we have seen arguably the most consistent year in the company’s history from an in-ring standpoint.
Every single PPV this year has featured a match that could have easily made this list, while NXT has found its feet again also, giving us some incredible work from athletes who really should be on the main roster. That’s not all, though, with the company also giving us a great showcase with the inaugural UK championship tournament, and with the Mae Young classic only weeks away, the company will continue to collect some of the best talents from around the world and place them on the WWE Network for our enjoyment.
Making a list of just ten matches was extremely difficult, and there were several bouts that nearly made the cut, so before I dive into my chosen ten, here are a list of honourable mentions that were incredibly close to making it.
Finn Balor Vs Seth Rollins Vs Samoa Joe Vs Bray Wyatt Vs Roman Reigns- Extreme Rules
The Miz Vs Finn Balor Vs Seth Rollins- Raw
Bobby Roode Vs Hideo Itami- NXT Takeover: Chicago
Triple H Vs Seth Rollins- WrestleMania 33
Shane McMahon Vs AJ Styles- WrestleMania 33
10: Tyler Bate Vs Pete Dunne 1 – UK Championship Tournament Final
Right now, I see no reason why either Tyler Bate or Pete Dunne is not on the main WWE roster. The two men are brilliant in the ring and they also have their character work down to a tee, especially Dunne.
This was the match that really introduced the two men to the WWE universe and it stole the show at the very impressive WWE UK championship tournament. While many will praise their second encounter (myself included) it is worth remembering their first bout as well.
Given 15 minutes to showcase their talents, both men put on a great display that whipped the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool into a frenzy. Perhaps the most surprising thing, however, was Bate walking away as the inaugural champion.
The ‘fight forever’ chants have already been used in the two matches between these two men and I, for one, hope we get to see this rivalry live long and prosper in the WWE ring.
9: Jack Gallagher Vs Neville – Fastlane
A controversial pick, perhaps, especially considering some of the higher profile matches that didn’t make the list, but this for me was not only an awesome match-up but also the one that give me faith in the Cruiserweight division.
Sitting in the middle of a show which will be remembered for some very questionable booking decisions (Braun’s first defeat, the end of Charlotte’s streak, Owens’ humiliating title defeat) Gallagher and Neville put on a hard-hitting display that really showed the wider WWE universe what the Cruiserweights were capable of.
Neville’s run as Cruiserweight champion has been nothing short of excellent and while his series of matches with Aries following this has been great, this is the one that really stands out as his finest moment for me.
8: The Hardys Vs Enzo and Cass Vs Gallows and Anderson Vs Sheamus and Cesaro – WrestleMania 33
Ok, so this one makes the list purely for the awesome mark out moments of first, seeing the Hardys return and second, seeing them climb the ladder and become tag team champions one more time.
WrestleMania 33 was an awesome show, perhaps the best of the year so far, and this match was my favourite of the night. Sure, it was a nostalgia fest and that is probably giving me rose-tinted spectacles, but it’s my list, so this match makes the grade.
7: Roman Reigns Vs Kevin Owens – Royal Rumble
Kevin Owens’ run as the Universal Champion was far from perfect. The Prize Fighter was booked very weakly throughout his title reign – either as a whipping boy who would sneak a win or a comedy act that was reliant on his partner for victories.
While Owens’ booking was consistently poor throughout his run, he did manage to put on some solid matchups – the best of which took place at this year’s Royal Rumble event, against everyone’s favourite wrestler, Roman Reigns.
Reigns and Owens went hammer and tongs from bell to bell in what was a real showcase for the talent of both men. The no disqualification gimmick made for some awesome spots, while the addition of Jericho above the ring in a cage provided some laughs too. The ending of the bout saw Strowman attack Reigns, to hand Owens the victory – starting a rivalry between the pair that is still continuing to this day.
6: Baron Corbin Vs Kevin Owens Vs AJ Styles Vs Sami Zayn Vs Shinsuke Nakamura Vs Dolph Ziggler – Money in the Bank
I’ll admit it – after the Superstar Shakeup, I was concerned that SmackDown had been totally screwed by Raw – with the red brand having picked up a lot of SmackDown’s main players, leaving them with a depleted main event roster. I’ll also admit that I was incredibly wrong.
The SmackDown brand has remained ridiculously strong since the Shakeup and its recent Money in the Bank outing, despite taking place on a very poor PPV, was a fine display of the talent on their roster.
The closing moments, which saw AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura lock up for the first in a WWE ring was easily the night’s finest moment and hopefully a pre-curser to the amazing match they are inevitably going to have somewhere down the line.
The finish, which saw Corbin tip the pair of them off the ladder, was slightly anti-climactic, but this was still an awesome bout.
…Click below to continue on for the top five WWE matches of 2017 so far…