WWE continues to improve the quality of in-ring matches on the main roster, and despite the plethora of problems with creative (that’s a list for another day), this year was one of the best in WWE history. We likely could have made a top 15 list regarding Match of the Year, but these are what we feel were the best WWE matches of the year (and don’t worry, there is no Jinder Mahal on the list).
5. Elimination Chamber match – Elimination Chamber
After John Cena claimed the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble, there was only one match left to see who Randy Orton would challenge at WrestleMania, and out of nowhere, it was Bray Wyatt who came out on top. WWE doesn’t do this often, but they managed to weave several smaller stories into this match, and it was non-stop action like you’d expect for this kind of match. There’s been a few singles matches that could have been placed in this spot, but when looking back, we can see that this was one of the most exciting Elimination Chamber matches WWE has put on in years.
4. Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder match – Money in the Bank
Money in the Bank matches have always been incredibly exciting, and when you have guys like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura in one match together, you know it will be money. From the incredible spots we expect in these matches to the epic standoff between Styles and Nakamura, this was fantastic. Unfortunately, the ending kind of fell flat, with Baron Corbin coming out on top (let’s not mention his failed cash-in attempt). But up until that, the fans in attendance barely sat down.
3. AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar – Survivor Series
AJ Styles has built up a bit of a reputation for being able to have a good match with any performer in the world, so when he won the WWE title from Jinder Mahal in order to face The Beast at Survivor Series, fans rejoiced. Paul Heyman built it up, and with a bit of physicality, it felt like the best thing Brock Lesnar had done since his bouts with John Cena several years ago. We knew Lesnar would come out on top, but The Phenomenal One had us believing for a minute. It’s rumored that The Beast was selling it backstage, proving just how much respect he has for Styles.
2. Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins – Fatal 5-Way, Extreme Rules
The WWE is full of one of the most talented rosters in the history of the company, and this proves just how true that is, as Raw’s top 5 stars were pitted against each other to get a chance at Brock Lesnar, and they delivered. It was chaotic from beginning to end, and proved that all 5 men are capable of putting on great matches. It was surprising to a lot of fans out there as Samoa Joe came out on top. He came up short against Lesnar, but this proved that Joe is a top star, and that if WWE wants to push him at the top in 2018, fans will react well too it.
1. AJ Styles vs. John Cena – Royal Rumble
This match was historic for the WWE, as it saw John Cena crowned WWE Champion for the 16th time, equaling Ric Flair’s record. While the reign wasn’t very memorable, the way in which he achieved it certainly was. Much like their matches at Money in the Bank and SummerSlam, we knew this one was going to be an instant classic, and while it wasn’t as good as SummerSlam, it certainly was a classic. It took no less than 3 AAs for Cena to finish off The Phenomenal One, and it was the final bout in what will go down as one of the best rivalries in recent WWE history (let’s just hope for at least one more between the two).
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