2017, like any other year was, one of positives and negatives for the WWE, as we had some great feuds, phenomenal matches and some decent stories, but there were also stereotypical, horrid stories, terrible matches and poor treatment of some great stars, so today we are going to look at both sides of that coin. Now we all know that WWE will not look back on these stories and matches and try to improve, because like John Cena has said, the WWE is after moments that you will never forget, rather than well-told, nuanced stories, so let’s focus in on that with the 8 best and 7 worst moments from all around the WWE in 2017.
17 Best – AJ Styles Makes History In The UK
AJ Styles has been the best wrestler in the entire industry for quite some time now, and after Jinder Mahal’s terrible reign on top of the Smackdown Live show, it was only fitting that AJ was the one to end it, but by doing it in dramatic fashion in the UK, Styles became the first man to ever win a WWE Championship outside of the United States. This moment was even bigger when you consider that it’s the thing that led into the amazing Styles vs. Lesnar match at Survivor Series (avoiding Mahal vs. Lesnar which no one wanted to see), and it’s just another feather in the cap of The Phenomenal One. This was a great match also, proving that AJ really can drag a good match out of anyone, and hopefully Styles can hold that newly won WWE Championship all the way through to WrestleMania.
15 Worst – The Punjabi Prison Returns
There have been countless different match types and stipulations in the WWE over the years, and some rightly haven’t been seen for quite some time, so when the WWE announced that the Punjabi Prison would be returning for Jinder Mahal’s title defense against Randy Orton, fans all around the world were not excited, not in the least. As we know from the past 2 matches, it’s hard for the fans both at home and in the arena to see what’s going on in the ring, and with the two competitors in the match, there was literally no excitement for this match at all. It went on to be one of the more average matches these two had, and even saw the return of The Great Khali for some reason, so all around it was just horrible.
14 Best – The List of KO
Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho’s friendship was a major highlight of the beginning of 2017, and although the ending of their partnership may have broken a few hearts, it was incredibly well done, and was one of the best betrayals in recent WWE memory (something that they don’t always do too well). Jericho was at his comedic best here, and the segment seemed really touching, until Kevin gave his friend his gift, a new list, unfortunately, this turned out to be the ‘List of KO’, and Owens began absolutely demolishing Y2J. This rivalry should have culminated in a Universal Title match come WrestleMania, but the WWE downgraded it to the US Championship, but the two made the best of it and had a great match, capping off what was a very well told story between the two former friends, and that match was all set up by this fantastic segment.
13 Worst – Roman Enters At #30
We all know that WWE have an obsession with pushing Roman Reigns as the top guy, and it hasn’t worked particularly well, and they should know by now that after two Royal Rumbles where the fans were outraged at Roman’s booking, they should play it cool here, but of course that isn’t what the WWE did, not at all. After losing his Universal Championship match against Kevin Owens earlier in the night, fans saw it as unfair that he would get a shot in the Royal Rumble, as AJ Styles didn’t, but we were all expecting a big surprise (mainly Samoa Joe) at #30, but the WWE opted to go with Roman Reigns. It was all to set up what was a good match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania, but the moment itself was just about as anti-climactic as anything you’ll find in the year 2017.
12 Best – Tyler Bate Becomes The Inaugural UK Champion
When looking back on the year that was in WWE, there will be many choices for event of the year, but for me there is only one winner in that category, and that’s the first ever WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament, and after what was a phenomenal two days of action, we saw the 19 year old Tyler Bate crowned after a fantastic match with Pete Dunne. In just two days in front of a great crowd in Blackpool, the WWE crafted a great babyface/heel narrative with Bate and Dunne, and by the end of the final, fans reacted with a thunderous ovation when the young Bate finished off the job. They haven’t followed up too well on the UK division, but Bate and Dunne had a great match in Chicago, and both look to be superstars, started by one of the best moments of the year 2017.
10 Worst – Bayley, This Is Your Life
Back in the Attitude Era, The Rock and Mick Foley ran what is still considered one of the greatest segments in RAW history, but Bayley and Alexa Bliss aren’t on that level, and their version of the segment bombed horrendously, and will likely go down as one of the worst in WWE history. Alexa Bliss is very talented with a microphone in her hand, and it’s for that reason that you can tell all of this came from the terrible creative team in WWE, and it was very hard to watch the entire segment. Bliss attempted to bring some personal life into this rivalry, but it was awkward and just down right cringey, and it was received as poorly backstage as it was by the fans, and that’s saying something.
9 Best – The Hounds Of Justice Reunite
The Shield are one of the greatest trios in WWE history, and despite all 3 being baby faces for the first time after Rollins’ betrayal 3 years ago, there were no signs of a comeback, but in late 2017, the company decided to bring them back together, and that one moment was absolutely fantastic. The three emerged from the back together for the first time in 3 years, but it wasn’t down the ramp like everyone else, instead they kicked off RAW by coming through the crowd in their matching riot gear, and the fans were absolutely ecstatic. The inevitable breakup is coming before WrestleMania, and while this return didn’t work out the way WWE wanted, it was amazing to see Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins all back together.
8 Worst – Bray Is Sister Abigail?
Bray Wyatt is one of the most unique and interesting characters WWE have had for quite some time, but for some reason, the company hasn’t decided to get behind him, and after 4 years on the main roster, it’s safe to say that they’ve just about ruined him, and the only way they can bring our faith back in him is to debut Sister Abigail, but please not this way. In the midst of a very boring feud with Finn Balor, Bray decided to tease the debut of the mysterious Sister Abigail, but instead of teasing a different presence, he transformed on the ‘tron with horrible special effects, and while it excited some, it was just plain dumb. They’ve gone away from this tease, and it’s likely he’ll be facing a broken opponent in the near future, and thank god because this was one of the dumbest things they’ve done this year.
7 Best – The Hardy Boyz Return!
After having an incredible year in Impact Wrestling with the Broken gimmick, The Hardy Boyz were rumored to return home to WWE at some point in 2017, but how they did it was most unexpected, but it genuinely couldn’t have been done any better by the company. It was WrestleMania 33, and before a ladder match featuring The Bar, Enzo & Cass and The Club, The New Day came out to seemingly interject themselves into the match, but what we got instead was the legendary tag team, and it was a moment that sent the sold out crowd in Orlando absolutely wild, with defeaning “Delete” chants being heard all around the building. They would go on to capture the RAW Tag Team Championships in their match, and although their momentum fell off quite a bit, this moment was one that no WWE fan will forget any time soon.
6 Worst – Mr. Money in the Bank
No, we aren’t talking about Baron Corbin and his terribly failed Money in the Bank cash in, but rather how WWE decided to handle the very first women’s Money in the Bank ladder match. Instead of having one of their stand out women make more history, the company opted to go with James Ellsworth capturing the briefcase for his partner Carmella, and while the result was the right way to go, having Ellsworth climb the ladder certainly wasn’t. The story of fans outraging and Carmella still going on to win the rematch was well done, and having Ellsworth cheat to win wasn’t a bad idea, it was just that he climbed the ladder and retrieved it himself, and it makes it stand out as a horrible decision.
5 Best – Styles and Nakamura Face Off
Ever since they both arrived in WWE just weeks after their amazing bout at Wrestle Kingdom 10, fans all around the world have been anxiously awaiting the first confrontation of The Phenomenal One and The King of Strong Style, and at Money in the Bank 2017, they got their wish. During the match, both men were about to go for the briefcase suspended above the ring, but instead decided to face off, and the fans went absolutely crazy, sending chills up the spine of most people watching. The action that followed wasn’t long, but it was enough of a tease to make us want their first match even more, and if WWE can hold off on it until WrestleMania 34, it will go down as one of the best matches in company history.
4 Worst – Jinder Mahal… WWE Champion
Less than a year ago, Jinder Mahal was brought back to the WWE, and in a matter of weeks he’d returned to the enhancement talent state that he was in before leaving the company, but he was moved to Smackdown Live, and within months, the man who had won 2 televised matches in almost a year was WWE Champion, and that’s still not right. We know why the WWE did it, as it was a ploy to get into the lucrative Indian market, but they sacrificed good, believable storytelling to get to that point, and it became embarrassing to have Mahal holding the prestigious WWE Championship. It could happen again at Clash of Champions, but fans just hate the idea of Mahal on top, and with AJ Styles holding the title now, it needs to stay that way, and Jinder should be pushed back down into the mid card.
3 Best – Taker's farewell
The Undertaker has been a key part of the WWE since the very early 1990’s, and despite rumors to the contrary over the past few months, it looks like WrestleMania 33 was the official send off for ‘Taker, and despite the fact that it wasn’t his best ‘Mania match, it was a very touching moment, and one that will never be forgotten. After losing in a hard fought match to Roman Reigns, ‘Taker left his gear in the middle of the ring, and departed through a trap door in the entrance ramp, and it all adds up to a beautiful retirement moment. Who knows, in the next few months we may know more about The Deadman’s future, but if this is the end, he couldn’t have retired any more gracefully, and he will be missed as a part of the WWE.
2 Worst – Kurt Angle’s… Son?
Kurt Angle’s return to the WWE has been one of the biggest stories of the year, and he was deservedly inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, but unfortunately, there’s been just as much bad as there has good, and nothing is worse than this storyline, which borders on Attitude Era style horrible booking. For weeks on RAW, a big secret was teased involving The Olympic Gold Medalist and Corey Graves was also involved, but with all the possibilities the booking team could have gone with, they opted to reveal Jason Jordan as the son of Kurt Angle, and it was as horrible as it sounds. Ever since then, Jordan has been receiving a baby face push (which hasn’t been received well), and it’s clear the WWE have just pushed him too fast, too soon, but even if he was ready for a big push, the idiotic storyline definitely hurt his chances right from the beginning.
1 Best – Braun Flips An Ambulance
Braun Strowman has been a revelation for the WWE in the year 2017, and it mostly comes from them giving him amazing moments (we likely could have done a top 15 Braun Strowman moment’s from 2017 article), with things such as throwing Big Show through a cage, almost killing a security guard (seriously, is he even still alive?), but nothing will top this moment. In the midst of an amazing feud with Roman Reigns, the WWE decided to literally have Strowman flip an ambulance with Reigns inside, and it was one of the most jaw dropping moments in wrestling history, which continued The Monster Among Men’s rise to the top of RAW. There’s not much else that can be said about this moment that hasn’t already been said, but it’s going to be spoken about a lot in WWE Year in review videos and articles soon, because there simply isn’t a limit to the amount of times we can see this, and each time our jaws still hit the ground.