Many consider 2016 as the best year of in-ring work that the WWE has ever had.
Sure, the times of Hulk Hogan and the Attitude Era are largely regarded as the greatest times in WWE history, but it's hard to find a roster that is as athletically talented and gifted as this past year.
And with the way things are set up for 2017, there's a chance they can top that success.
When looking up and down each roster — RAW, SmackDown Live, NXT, and 205 Live all included — there are dream matches that can take place at a moment's notice. John Cena vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles, and Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock can all happen at some point this year.
But that doesn't mean every matchup will be a good one. For every star-studded encounter that can take place, there will be an overhyped dud that happens as well. After all, as we saw at the Royal Rumble, the WWE is far from perfect from booking proper feuds and we should expect some horrible mistakes to take place in 2017. With that being said, here are eight WWE feuds we want to see in 2017 and seven feuds we do not want to see.
15 Want: Neville vs. Austin Aries
After the Cruiserweight Classic came with a ton of fanfare, there were high hopes for the newest edition of the Cruiserweight Division on WWE television. Unfortunately, however, it has been anything but that, as unknown wrestlers, a lack of TV time, and underwhelming contests have been at the forefront of WWE's byproduct. They did take a step in the right direction by making Neville a focal point for 205 Live — but with Rich Swann on the backburner, the "King of the Cruiserweights" is running out of challengers.
Fortunately, Austin Aries isn't only recovering from injury but is also a commentator on the Cruiserweight-exclusive brand. Once he's ready to get back into the ring, the division will benefit from having two big names carry the show. Not to mention, Neville and Aries will put on tremendous matches that will add some excitement that has yet to be showcased.
14 Don't Want: Braun Strowman vs. The Big Show
When looking across the internet, many WWE fans haven't been happy with the way RAW has been booked ever since the brand split. There's no denying, however, that they've made Braun Strowman out to be an absolute monster and a legitimate main event player. But when there is a new big man in town, he must always pass through the old guard — which means a showdown against The Big Show may be inevitable. If Strowman is going to continue to rise up the ranks, facing bigger names is the way to go.
Since The Big Show is not close to what he used to be (even though he's looking great these days), it would be wise for the creative team to steer clear of the resident giant. The duo squared off in the Royal Rumble match and Strowman dumped Show with ease. That should be the end of any matchup between the behemoths.
13 Want: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
It's hard to forget what one-half of the Four Horsewomen accomplished when they were a part of the NXT brand. Each time Banks and Bayley shared a ring, they raised the bar for women's wrestling — and that was never more apparent than NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, when the female superstars raised the bar and put on 2015's Match of the Year. Ever since being promoted to the main roster, both Banks and Bayley have had some highlights but have also fallen to inconsistent booking as well. Currently working as best friends, there have been signs of a potential rift in their friendship.
Banks works best as a heel while Bayley is great as the underdog, and attempting to recreate the magic they made in NXT would be an awesome site to see on WWE television.
12 Don't Want: Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte Flair
Like the previous slide, Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair have created magic inside of the squared circle every time they've shared a ring together. The focal point of the show's Women's Division, the stars traded the RAW Women's Championship over the final six months of 2016. While many were confused at the flip-flopping, there was no denying that the historic matches put on between the two were nothing short of awesome. With that being said, that's exactly why Banks and Flair need to stay far apart.
The contests between the two have been oversaturated as it is — and the only way to lose more luster is to continue pitting the pair against one another. The longer Banks and Flair stay away from each other, the better.
11 Want: Sami Zayn vs. Roman Reigns
There are no two different superstars on the entire WWE roster than Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns. On one hand, you have Zayn — a quirky, fearless underdog who can take a beating like no other but can also get the fans behind him with ease. Then you have Reigns, the rejected chosen one who has everything the WWE looks for in their stars...except fan support. At some point in 2017, one would think that Reigns will eventually take his turn on the bad side — and who better to take him on than the Underdog from the Underground?
Zayn has Daniel Bryan-like potential to be the unlikely superstar, while Reigns has the chance to be a modern Triple H circa 2000. With Zayn's selling ability and the badass nature of Reigns, the duo has the chance to put on a classic one-on-one encounter.
10 Don't Want: Kevin Owens vs. Brock Lesnar
When Kevin Owens made his WWE debut, he was a no-nonsense jerk who had no problem making a fool of the opposition. If he was still booked that way — instead of a chicken scratch heel — he would've been a fantastic choice to face Brock Lesnar at one of the big four events that the Beast Incarnate showcases his talents. Unfortunately, however, if Owens and Lesnar were to share a ring today, it would be nothing more than a glorified squash match. While Owens' comedic nature and backstage antics make him a perfect fit for the WWE, he'd have to revert back to his killer ways from ROH to take on Lesnar in a believable match. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it's gonna happen anytime soon. Which is exactly why this match shouldn't happen anytime soon.
9 Want: John Cena vs. Dolph Ziggler
They've both been a part of the WWE roster for over a decade but John Cena and Dolph Ziggler have never been a part of a legitimate, long-term feud. But now that the two veterans are top stars on the SmackDown Live brand, they should eventually clash — and by all accounts of their past matches, the feud would be a tremendous one. Look no further than when Ziggler answered Cena's Open Challenge for his United States Championship.
During that time, Cena put on amazing matches with almost everyone he encountered. It could be argued, however, that the match against Ziggler was his best. They both have great chemistry, have a real life tie-in with a love triangle involving Nikki Bella, and they're on opposite ends of the face/heel spectrum. SmackDown Live has been nothing short of great thus far, and having a Ziggler/Cena feud would only further that narrative.
8 Don't Want: AJ Styles vs. Shane McMahon
As it was said in the previous slide, SmackDown Live has been tremendous — and among wrestling loyalists, it's been WWE's A-show ever since the brand split. It could be attributed to fresh match ups, uninvolved figureheads, or the two-hour time slot, but it could be argued that AJ Styles is the main reason behind the blue brand's resurgence. It would've been hard to imagine back at the Royal Rumble in 2016 that Styles would be arguably WWE's top star, but his unmatched in-ring ability, comedic nature, and charisma has pushed him to the top.
One way to squander that? Having him share the ring with Shane McMahon. It's not to say that their match wouldn't be a focal point. But McMahon's best efforts are in brawls and gimmick matches. The best Styles is when he's inside of the squared circle in a one-on-one encounter with no shenanigans. Let's keep it that way.
7 Want: Brock Lesnar vs. Cesaro
Ever since Goldberg easily defeated Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series, many fans have been upset at the fact that Lesnar's first true defeat since ending The Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania XXX didn't come at the hands of someone who can use a major rub. Sure, the complaints are understandable and warranted — but it isn't like Lesnar's past accomplishments are all of a sudden tarnished because of one loss. Once Lesnar is done with Goldberg, he needs to move on to bigger and better things. Cesaro has been pushed as a tag star on multiple occasions, but when it comes to single's opportunities, inopportune injuries and ineffective booking have plagued his status.
One way to put him over the top is by matching him up with Lesnar. There aren't many men on the roster that can physically compete with the Beast Incarnate but the Swiss Superman is an exception to the rule. A hard hitting, physical, suplex filled contest would be a site to see.
6 Don't Want: John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
With John Cena positioned as the top dog of SmackDown Live, there's a strong chance that he'll be matched up with some of the brand's up and coming stars. One of those said stars is Baron Corbin. Many were surprised when he received the promotion from NXT to the main roster but Corbin has silenced those critics by performing well when booked in the right scenarios. Cena, however, has had trouble putting young talents over — from Wade Barrett to Bray Wyatt, the 16-time WWE Champion has largely come out on top in these types of feuds.
If the WWE is insistent on making Corbin a big draw, they should have him as far away from Cena as possible. And after watching their matchup a couple of weeks ago, it's not like their chemistry with one another is off the charts...
5 Want: AJ Styles vs. Bray Wyatt
Back onto the topic of Styles, there isn't much more to be said — he's the top wrestler that's under the WWE banner, bar none. In his brief career with the company, he's put on compelling matches with the likes of John Cena, Chris Jericho, and Roman Reigns, proving that he can adjust to any wrestling style and make it work. One intriguing matchup that's bound to take place as long as they're on the same brand is Styles going up against Bray Wyatt.
The Eater of Worlds is far from a slight figure but his agility and athleticism are on full display every time he's working. The two couldn't be any more polar opposites — and because of that, a matchup between Styles and Wyatt isn't only a dream but it's something that can be a main event program for months on end.
4 Don't Want: Triple H vs. Sami Zayn
In what has been stated time and time again, Sami Zayn can work as the next Daniel Bryan. Will fans be firmly behind him like they were the leader of the YES! Movement? It's hard to imagine. But like Bryan, Zayn works best as a pushed-aside underdog and has a knack for getting an insane amount of crowd support. In theory, a feud between Zayn and the Godfather of NXT, Triple H, could be a great one. But fans aren't dumb and if they see that it's just a rehash of the Bryan storyline from 2014, it could cause the WWE Universe to turn their backs on the program.
A match would certainly fit the bill of a marquee contest, but the creative team would be smart to let Zayn create his own path and carve out his own legacy.
3 Want: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor
When Seth Rollins and Finn Balor had their mini-feud leading up to SummerSlam, it appeared as though the program could carry the RAW brand into the new year. Before Rollins went down with an ACL tear, he was positioned as the number one star of the company. Right when he was getting back into the groove, Finn Balor was brought up from NXT and immediately became arguably the top star on Monday nights. Rollins and Balor put on a tremendous showing at SummerSlam, but a shoulder injury to Balor halted any plans of a rematch. It would be wise for the WWE to reintroduce Balor by taking out Rollins for putting him on the shelf for so long. Picking up right where they left off, both men can put on star-studded encounters on a weekly basis.
2 Don't Want: Anything That’s Puts The Shield Against Each Other
From the day they were introduced to the WWE Universe up until today, it was always apparent that The Shield would be a part of the main event scene for the foreseeable future. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose have all branched out and have become marquee talents, as evidenced by each of the three holding the WWE World Championship. Unfortunately, however, the WWE has oversaturated their hatred. Whether it's Reigns against Rollins, Rollins against Ambrose, or Reigns working side by side with either Rollins or Ambrose, the potential reunion of the most dominant faction in WWE history hasn't been as looked forward to as once believed. If the WWE wants to reignite the special spark that The Shield had, they would be wise to keep the three men away from each other for as long as possible.
1 Want: AJ Styles vs. Finn Balor
Unlike in former renditions of the brand split, the 2016 version did a great job of keeping the shows separate. Outside of Randy Orton facing Brock Lesnar and SummerSlam and brand warfare at Survivor Series, RAW and SmackDown Live haven't interacted. As WrestleMania season approaches, Finn Balor's return is on the horizon while AJ Styles doesn't seem to have a clear direction for the show. What better way to feature both stars than to have them face of on the grandest stage of them all?
The WWE loves to incorporate New Japan Pro Wrestling on their television shows, so it would be easy to tie in their past, as Styles took over for Balor as the leader of Bullet Club. The story is there, and the in-ring work between the two would be an instant classic. If the WWE truly wants to compete with Omega vs. Okada from Wrestle Kingdom, Balor vs. Styles at WrestleMania is the way to go.