2017 has officially ended for WWE with many hits and misses along the way. Most would agree that there were more misses than hits due to the negative moments to go down in WWE through the year. The company made a lot of questionable decisions in 2017 that added a lot of negative opinions about the state of things as we end it. There are already rumors going around about 2018 that presents even more pessimism that things won’t change in the slightest.
The optimistic fan will say that WWE typically switches things up when the new year begins. Royal Rumble time is approaching which means we will be entering WrestleMania season within a few weeks. However, the things that are likely going to go down in 2018 based off rumors and speculation don’t give hope about WrestleMania and beyond.
We'll look at both stories from 2017 that made us lose faith in the WWE product. These are the worst of the worst moments to go down on WWE television over the past year. 2018 will be examined as well with some likely things that will just add more horrible moments going forward. Let’s unite in pain to discuss the top eight worst WWE moments of 2017 and seven terrible things that will happen in 2018.
16 Worst of 2017: Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship Reign
Brock Lesnar and Goldberg had a surprisingly entertaining match at WrestleMania 33 that saw Lesnar leave as the Universal Champion. The title reign is still going strong to end 2017 with a handful of title defenses over the Raw stars. Much like the prior World Title reign of Lesnar, this badly hurt the Raw product. Nothing felt important most of the year due to the lack of a World Title on the show when Brock is hanging out at home.
Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman saw their momentum as top heels get wasted at the hands of Lesnar. Not only did they each lose to Lesnar, but they didn’t put up much of a showing in singles matches losing in faster time than expected. Most fans knew WWE wanted Brock to have a lengthy reign from WrestleMania 33 to WrestleMania 34 and it destroyed the credibility of Raw being a television show worth watching live every week.
15 Terrible 2018: Long Roman Reigns Title Reign
The hope of Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship reign ending soon is erased when you realize Roman Reigns will be the man to beat him. Reigns being a full-time wrestler that can have great matches with most of the roster is a good thing, but it will be more of the same. WWE wants Reigns to be presented as significantly better than the rest of the roster as shown in his booking over the past few years.
Roman will have a lengthy run like Lesnar’s where he just steamrolls over every single threat on Raw. We basically know what will happen to the Universal Championship for at least the first half of the year. Reigns will lose the title at SummerSlam at the absolute earliest. The saddest part of this is that Raw has so many stars worthy of a top spot on Raw that will just continue to get dominated by Reigns and Lesnar going forward.
14 Worst of 2017: Kurt Angle Return Match Being Wasted
Kurt Angle returning to WWE was one of the best stories of 2017 that unfortunately saw a few negative decisions made. The first WWE match of Angle in over a decade should have been a huge deal. Instead of getting a singles match with a lot of hype, Angle replaced Roman Reigns to join Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to defeat five heels in a TLC Match with a few days of build.
We didn’t even get to see Angle come out to his own music and wearing his own gear. Angle did wrestle again as part of the Raw team at Survivor Series and was once again a secondary story compared to the bigger angles in play. We will likely see Angle get a singles match at WrestleMania 34, but it is a shame that his first match back was as a backup member of The Shield.
13 Terrible 2018: Batista's Return
The success of Batista outside of WWE is highly impressive considering he is going to be a relevant part of the upcoming Avengers blockbuster that will break box office records. Batista is a legitimate Superstar that has a place in the Hall of Fame, but the talk is that he wants to return to WWE in a full-time role. The birthday of Batista will see him turn 49 years old next month.
Part of the reason WWE disappoints fans for most of a year is due to the legends coming back. The legends dominate and are booked like top stars. Once they leave, fans are left feeling lukewarm about the current wrestlers that appear to be inferior to these older veterans. Batista returning continues this along with the fact that he struggled immensely a few years ago and is now older.
12 Worst of 2017: Big Cass Turning on Enzo Amore
Big Cass turning on Enzo Amore is a forgotten moment despite meaning to provide a huge change for both careers. The popular NXT tag team never really had much success in the Tag Team Division, but the fans enjoyed them together. It all ended when it was revealed that Cass attacked Enzo in the backstage area due to being sick of having to carry him.
The break-up led to Cass having a push as a singles heel. Cass looked horrible and failed to get over in any way before suffering an injury back in August. Enzo played the sympathetic face for a month before joining the Cruiserweight Division as a heel. Both guys are worse off for the turn and the worst part is that they never had a strong run as a tag team before the split.
11 Terrible 2018: Another Superstar Shakeup
WWE tried to present the brand split as being more structured this time around in 2016. The draft saw two unique rosters with subtle differences to start it off. Raw and SmackDown truly had different feels to their show entering 2017 each with positives. SmackDown had A.J. Styles as the WWE Champion having great matches against everyone. Raw featured the entertaining duo of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho stealing the show.
The decision was made after WrestleMania 33 to have a “Superstar Shakeup.” Less than one year into the brand split, many stars switched brands. WWE proved they didn’t care about creating identities for the shows and everything once again blended. This is going to happen again in 2018. The brand split will always be treated like a joke by Vince McMahon.
10 Worst of 2017: Shinsuke Nakamura Being Ruined
The call-up of Shinsuke Nakmaura from NXT to the SmackDown roster provided excitement for fans that witnessed his best work in NXT and New Japan. Nakmaura had a world of hype to become the face of the SmackDown brand. No one could have believed how badly WWE would book Nakamura. The beginning saw him involved in a pointless feud with Dolph Ziggler.
Nakamura still received huge ovations and was viewed as the next WWE Champion. That ended when he lost back to back title shots to Jinder Mahal on PPV. Nakamura has not been the same and is just another upper level face. While that is fine for most wrestlers, the special charisma and talent of Nakamura is rotting away. Kenny Omega referred to WWE’s presentation of Nakamura as soulless and it is hard to argue.
9 Terrible 2018: Kid Rock Entering WWE Hall of Fame
The WWE Hall of Fame is clearly flawed given a lot of the names that are already in there. However, things are bound to reach new lows as WWE is reportedly planning to induct Kid Rock into the 2018 Hall of Fame class. Many of the celebrities are horrible choices, but they at least contributed to memorable segments or participated in a story that made money for the company.
Kid Rock performed at a WrestleMania and contributed a few PPV theme songs. There is no reason for WWE fans to have any fondness for Kid Rock. Fans will pay multiple times WrestleMania weekend. If Kid Rock is getting inducted into the 2018 Hall of Fame as rumored, he will likely have a theme song and live performance at WrestleMania 34.
8 Worst of 2017: Goldberg Ending Kevin Owens' Title Reign
A huge move in early 2017 featured Goldberg winning the Universal Championship heading into WrestleMania 33. Kevin Owens was coming off a lengthy run as Universal Champion that was meant to establish him as a top guy in WWE. The 50-year-old Goldberg defeating Owens in a few seconds thanks to Chris Jericho’s distraction hurt Owens in a major way.
Owens spent most of 2017 trying to find relevance after losing the biggest prize on Raw. Goldberg destroying him with such ease erased all his momentum built from being the Universal Champion. It was yet another example of WWE sacrificing current talent for a veteran that would be on the roster for a few months. Goldberg winning the Universal Championship truly hurt the title, Owens and the entire roster of active stars.
7 Terrible 2018: Finn Balor As The Demon Full Time
The return of Finn Balor in 2017 could be categorized as one of the worst moments of the past year, but things may get worse going forward. Vince McMahon has reportedly given up on Balor being a top guy and removed him from a planned Royal Rumble Universal Championship title match against Brock Lesnar. Balor returned from injury following WrestleMania 33 and never received a rematch for the title he never lost.
The persona of the Demon takes Balor to another level that has hurt him in some ways. WWE doesn’t present him as a star unless he is wearing the paint and in the character. It won’t be too long until Finn is rocking the Demon paint every night. The problem here is that Balor won’t be booked like Roman Reigns or Braun Strowman. Balor will lose matches and be used like a normal wrestler causing the gimmick to lose its luster.
6 Worst of 2017: Bayley and Sasha Banks Sacrificed for Alexa Bliss' Push
Alexa Bliss has been a huge star for the Women’s Division all year moving from SmackDown to Raw in the Superstar Shakeup. The move to Raw showcased Bliss even more as the most successful woman on the roster. Unfortunately, that came at the expense of the other ladies on Raw. Sasha Banks and Bayley both were huge stars entering the year coming off impressive years in 2016.
Bayley ended Charlotte Flair’s undefeated PPV streak and defended the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 33. That was forgotten after Bliss absolutely destroyed her on multiple PPVs. Bliss demolished her in a few minutes in a kendo stick match. Banks would defeat Bliss at SummerSlam but lost the title right back on her first defense. Alexa was booked to be above Bayley and Banks in a way that hurt the other two as much as it helped her.
5 Terrible 2018: Daniel Bryan Leaving WWE
Daniel Bryan has been adamant that he will be leaving WWE in 2018 when his contract ends if they don’t clear him to wrestle. The current SmackDown General Manager has been a huge reason why the show is better than Raw by diehard fans. Bryan still receives the biggest pop on the SmackDown brand getting more support than the wrestlers in storylines.
WWE has started setting up a Shane McMahon versus Bryan feud with two rumored plans. There’s the chance of Bryan being cleared and wrestling Shane in his first match back next summer. The other plan would see Shane fire Bryan to write him off television if he chooses to leave the company. Bryan leaving would hurt SmackDown and add a huge void in WWE.
4 Worst of 2017: The Jinder Mahal Experiment
Jinder Mahal had the biggest career transformation in WWE this past year going from an enhancement talent to the longest reigning WWE Champion of 2017. Vince McMahon realized he loved Mahal’s look after the physical improvements in the gym along with the desire to expand in the India market. Mahal was moved to SmackDown in the Superstar Shakeup and became a main eventer.
The title reign turned out to be a disaster that added a huge roadblock in SmackDown being a great show. Mahal had horrible matches against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura to hurt the momentum of the brand. To make matters worse, it was discovered through metrics and stats that WWE struggled in India. WWE canceled one of their live events in India and ended Jinder’s WWE Championship reign weeks before for the proof that it was a flop.
3 Terrible 2018: Ronda Rousey Winning The Women's Royal Rumble
The rumors of Ronda Rousey training for her WWE match debut are heating up. WrestleMania 34 is expected to Rousey’s first match in a singles bout. Nothing has leaked regarding the exact opponent, but the speculation leads to Charlotte Flair facing the UFC legend. Rousey is already the betting favorite on gambling websites to make a surprise entrance in the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match and win it.
A win in the Rumble would get the mainstream attention WWE badly wants for the historic match. Rousey would also be set up for a title shot against Charlotte in a huge WrestleMania match. This sounds good in theory, but it destroys the chances of any full-time woman benefiting from the match. Carmella became a credible star when winning the Money in the Bank. Rousey will be a big deal regardless of how she debuts. Someone on Raw or SmackDown would benefit way more from winning the Rumble.
2 Worst of 2017: Jason Jordan Revealed as Kurt Angle's Son
2017 was a shocking year for the career of Jason Jordan. The tag team of American Alpha with Jordan and Chad Gable started the year as SmackDown Tag Team Champions. The tag team of Jordan and Seth Rollins are now Raw Tag Team Champions to end the year. Jordan made the jump from SmackDown to Raw after it was revealed that Jordan is the son of Raw General Manager Kurt Angle.
This was the first big storyline WWE placed Angle in by teasing a huge secret for years. It finally was revealed that Angle found out Jordan was his long-lost son from a college relationship. Jordan and Angle have been playing out the storyline for most of the year with fans continuing to boo Jordan for being an annoying character. Both guys just look worse off for this ridiculous storyline that is bad enough to make you wonder if Vince Russo is back.