NXT has had a fantastic 2017 which saw many incredible Takeovers and the debut of some big stars like Adam Cole, Kairi Sane and Lio Rush. But it was again the match quality that made them stand out. It was hard to narrow the top NXT matches down to just a list of five, but these are the matches that kept us on our feet and exemplified what WWE’s developmental promotion is all about.
5. Asuka vs. Nikki Cross – Last Woman Standing, NXT Television
Despite going to the main roster, Asuka is still undefeated after several years under the WWE umbrella. That streak has come close to ending several times, but none closer than the NXT television match with Sanity’s Nikki Cross. It was as brutal as anything NXT has ever presented, and when Cross hit a superplex from a ladder through the announce table, fans finally thought that The Empress of Tomorrow’s streak was done. She somehow managed to get back to her feet before the 10-count, ending what was a fantastic bout, but it proves that both Asuka and Cross have incredibly bright futures within the WWE.
4. The Revival vs. DIY vs. The Authors of Pain – NXT TakeOver: Orlando
These are three of the greatest tag teams in NXT history and when they all collided over WrestleMania weekend, it was absolute chaos, but in the best way possible. It marked the last time that DIY and The Revival clashed after their incredible rivalry in 2016, and the bout also saw them team up. The match saw some incredible moments, with one member of each DIY and The Revival teaming up to perform their signature double team finisher. But it was to no avail as the AOP ended up retaining their championships. The match stole the show in Orlando and proved just how much potential all three teams have.
3. The Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black – NXT TakeOver: WarGames
This is a match that not many people thought could be great, but NXT proved again that simple story telling is often the most effective when done correctly. Going into the match, all Velveteen Dream wanted was the attention and recognition of Black, as he wanted Aleister to simply say his name. So the bout was all about proving himself to the former Tommy End as well as the entire NXT Universe. The match itself kept on telling that story, and brought the fans in Houston to their feet on multiple occasions. But at the end of the hard-fought bout, it was Black who kept his undefeated streak alive. It was after the match where the story was concluded, as Black finally said Dream’s name, and it proved that he belonged in the elite of the NXT ranks.
2. WarGames – NXT TakeOver: WarGames
We heard rumors for quite some time that WWE was looking to bring back WarGames. They made a great call by using it in NXT, as we know the main roster would have likely botched it. Despite all of the changes from the original concept, NXT’s version of WarGames delivered. The bout pitted The Undisputed Era, Sanity and The Authors of Pain + Roderick Strong against each other, and it featured all the carnage that the match became famous for all those years ago in WCW. We can’t tell you all the amazing stuff that happened here, as there isn’t enough room, but it simply has to be seen to be believed. The match cemented the trio of Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish as a force to be reckoned with in NXT.
1. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne – NXT TakeOver: Chicago
If the WWE were to produce a true Match of the Year list without bias, this is undoubtedly number one. These two young men went out in front of 15,000 fans in Chicago and truly cemented their place as elite performers in the wrestling world. It was the perfect escalation of their encounter in the final of the WWE UK Championship Tournament, and with just 15 minutes to work with, they told a great, engaging story. Bate and Dunne took the current UK style and made it even better in front of the biggest crowd either had wrestled in front of. After several standing ovations, Dunne captured the UK Championship but this isn’t close to the end of the rivalry. If the first two matches are anything to go by, these two could go down in WWE history as the two best wrestlers to ever come from the UK.
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