Okay, it’s late…but here are my Top 10 WWE/NXT Matches of 2017! I’ve taken time to go back and rewatch those matches that have stuck in my mind…which amounted to fifteen matches! A lot to re-watch, as you can appreciate. Let’s be honest, the main event scene in both NXT and WWE hasn’t been stuffed full of fantastic matches. Bobby Roode was a great champion, but his wrestling style doesn’t immediately lend to a great match. On the main roster, Jindar Mahal stunk up the arena and Lesnar wrestled occasionally. Still, the sheer amount of quality wrestlers meant that we were never far away from a great match. And here’s my Top 10 WWE/NXT Matches of 2017!
10. The Authors of Pain vs. #DIY vs. The Revival (Triple Threat NXT Tag Team Championship Elimination Match, NXT TakeOver: Orlando)
I was torn between this match and the ladder match between The Authors of Pain and #DIY. The former had many big spots and a shocking epilogue, but this triple threat match gave us #DIY and The Revival working with each other against The Authors of Pain! They mixed and matched their signature moves and their finishers in impressive fashion. Yes, after #DIY were eliminated a little of the excitement evaporated. But before that, this was a triple threat tag team match for the ages.
9. Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream (NXT TakeOver: WarGames)
Colour me impressed after The Velveteen Dream’s performance here against Black. I’ve never doubted Black’s aptitude for wrestling, but I doubted Dream’s. He looks in great shape and has a great flying elbow drop, but apart from that, he hasn’t done anything special. Here, the story, the psychology and the wrestling were second to none. It was born out of a simple storyline: Dream wanting Black to say his name. But they fought like the NXT Championship was on the line (and had a better match than most NXT Championship matches in 2017!). Simply awesome.
- WarGames (NXT Takeover: WarGames)
Could the sanitised WWE/NXT ever hope to emulate the ultraviolent spectacle that used to be WCW’s WarGames? Yes, yes they did, and with aplomb. From weapons, to big spots, to brutality, this was all we wanted in a WarGames match (and more) in 2017. True, they did seem to stick to the left hand ring for the majority of the match, but that didn’t stop them from battering each other. From The Authors of Pain laying waste to everyone in their sights, to Killian Dane putting in the best performance of his NXT career, to a superplex off the top of the cage onto wrestlers below, this was the definition of insanity. Spectacular brutality!
- Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman (Fatal 4-Way Universal Championship Match, SummerSlam)
What happens when you get four titans to go to war? This match! This is exactly what you’d expect from these four monsters fighting for the Universal Championship: utter destruction! Of course, Strowman has the most memorable moments of destruction, beating Lesnar so badly Brock needed to be stretchered out. But everyone else has their own moments of destruction. This is easily the best main event of 2017 (admittedly, the main event scene wasn’t great in 2017…but that’s another story!).
- Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Cesaro & Sheamus (Raw Tag Team Championship Match, WWE No Mercy)
For my money, this was the best straight WWE tag team match of 2017. Yes, the drama of Cesaro’s gruesome mouth injury may have added to the overall quality, but there’s so much more to the bout than that. Take four of the best wrestlers in the WWE, who comprise of two teams that work great together, and you have a recipe for greatness. Neither team wanted to lose, and Cesaro seemed to wrestle even harder than usual in spite of his injury. The last ten minutes are spectacular.
- The New Day vs The Usos (Hell in a Cell match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship, WWE Hell In A Cell)
I thought that the Hell in a Cell match was exhausted, but The New Day and The Usos gave us one of the craziest and fresh HIAC matches of recent history. They innovated, they made us laugh, and they made us wince in sympathy. It was a perfect blend of comedy and brutality, which is a feat in itself if you think about it. The New Day and The Usos gave us a great match at Summerslam, but I reckon this bettered that effort. They gave us the best tag team match in HIAC history, and the best gimmick tag team match of 2017.
- Asuka vs Nikki Cross (NXT Women’s Championship, Last Man Standing, NXT, 26.6.17)
I’m not sure why they insisted on calling this match a Last Man Standing match. Two women were involved! But no matter, these two women battered and bruised each other like two titans going to war. Chairs, tables and ladders were involved in this epic of brutality. It’s by far my favourite WWE women’s match of 2017. There’s enough horrifying spots in this match to make Cactus Jack wince, including Cross powerbombing Asuka onto a pile of chairs (surely one of the most memorable spots of the year!). Easily Asuka’s best match of her NXT tenure.
- Brock Lesnar vs AJ Styles (Survivor Series)
Just think: this match could have been Lesnar vs Jindar Mahal. How awful would that have been! Instead, we were treated to the first ever match between Lesnar and Styles. And what a match we were given. Styles played the underdog to perfection, and Lesnar played the BEAST to perfection. Styles dragged the best performance out of Lesnar for years. He knows how to wrench the best out of every opponent. You’ll be on the edge of your seat by the end, as Styles and Lesnar squeeze every ounce of drama out of this battle of David and Goliath.
- AJ Styles vs. John Cena (WWE Championship Match, Royal Rumble)
Welcome to the best WWE Championship match of the year! It also had the most raucous crowd atmosphere, a great measure of a main event. This was the final match of their trilogy of matches, and I don’t think it topped their second one…but that doesn’t mean this was inferior in any way. I just prefer the second bout. However, this is both Styles and Cena at the top of their game. This is two of the best in the world going toe to toe and using everything at their disposal to prove who’s the best.
- Tyler Bates vs Pete Dunne (UK Championship, NXT Takeover: Chicago)
A match starring two twenty year olds, with little to no build, over a Championship that was barely six months old, blew anything else away, including anything on the main roster. These two youngsters fought like they were in the main event of WrestleMania. Hell, they should have main evented Mania. It was miles better than the main event we did get. These two Brits showed a more adept knowledge of pacing, psychology and wrestling than most wrestlers on the main roster. And they did it all within fifteen minutes! A stone cold classic.
Agree or disagree? Any you’d take away or add? What is your Top 10?