With 2017 officially behind us, we can now look forward to 2018! If the rumors are true, 2018 is going to be a huge year for pro wrestling, hopefully making even more history than 2017. In my opinion, WWE’s 2017 was pretty good. Of course, like all relationships, it had its ups and downs, but the WWE Universe continues to expand and wrestling continues to amaze us nonetheless. Now, as my first article of the new year, I would like to honor WWE’s performers that stood out above the rest in my 2017: Best of WWE Awards!
Male Superstar of the Year – AJ Styles
In my eyes, there is absolutely nobody else in the WWE that deserves this more than AJ Styles. He started off the year as WWE Champion, and ended it the same way. As if that wasn’t enough, WWE put their faith in him to carry Smackdown Live. Styles claims that SDL is “The house that AJ Styles built” and I couldn’t agree more. SmackDown LIVE was always viewed as the B show, and because of AJ Styles, I actually prefer it to Raw. He always seems happy to work multiple matches a night, and lost the last two weeks in a row by pinfall. Not many WWE Champions are as flexible as AJ Styles in that sense. His mic skills are on point, and of course, he is one of the best in-ring performers on the planet. He leaves it all in the ring, every damn day, and that’s why the Phenomenal One wins Male Superstar of the Year.
Female Superstar of the Year – Alexa Bliss
Similar to AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss started off the year as Champion, and is ending it that way as well. The difference is, Alexa Bliss was SmackDown Women’s Champion before eventually dropping the title and winning it over on Raw. She is greatly improving in the ring, and is always brilliant on the mic. Her work is beginning to earn her the reputation of one of WWE’s most well-rounded female talents. As the first performer to win the Women’s title on both Raw and SmackDown LIVE, Alexa Bliss deserves Female Superstar of the Year.
Enjoy it while it lasts, because Asuka is coming to kick your head off!
Match of the Year- Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate – NXT TakeOver: Chicago
The highest rated WWE match of the year took place at NXT TakeOver: Chicago. A rematch from the U.K. tournament finals, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne showed the world why British Wrestling is one of the most underrated and unnoticed hidden gems of the wrestling world. I was lucky enough to view this match live and I was absolutely blown away. The now 20 and 24-year-old performers had the rowdy Chicago crowd on its feet for the entire match. JR announcing was a great touch, and the crowning of a new Champion was just what the match needed to become the hard-hitting, fast paced masterpiece that it is.
Segment of the Year – The Festival of Friendship
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens’ Festival of Friendship segment on Raw had it all. It had comedy. It had drama, and of course, it had the plot twist we had all been waiting for. Between the elaborate gifts given to Kevin Owens by Chris Jericho, the new list, and Chris Jericho being smashed through the “Jeritron” reminiscent of his feud with Shawn Michaels, the WrestleMania 33 U.S. Title match was immediately hyped. This segment delivered and was more entertaining than any other segment in 2017.
Promo of the Year – John Cena Buries Roman Reigns
“It’s called a promo kid! If you wanna be the guy around here you’re gonna have to learn how to do it” – John Cena
*Applies ice to burned area* – Roman Reigns
That’s pretty much how this promo battle between John Cena and Roman Reigns went. As Roman Reigns struggled to find the words to his promo, John Cena lit him up with a barrage of insults that buried Roman Reigns on the mic before the match had technically even been set in stone. John Cena absolutely obliterated Roman Reigns here, and in my opinion, delivered easily the best promo of the year.
Return of the Year – The Hardy Boyz
As The New Day’s “Who’s” echoed throughout the arena, fans became unglued as the rumor of The Hardy Boyz return was suddenly a real possibility. It only took milliseconds for fans to recognize the iconic theme song and charismatic duo of Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy. As I write this, I actually have the chills, which speaks to the magnitude of the situation. The timing for this could not have been any better. The return allowed for The Hardy Boyz to win the titles in their WrestleMania return, also giving Jeff Hardy his first WrestleMania win. With Jeff Hardy on the shelf due to injury, “Woken” Matt Hardy is still tearing it up, but it all stems from their spectacular WrestleMania return.
Best Non-Wrestler – Renee Young
Renee Young is so good at her job. That’s probably why ESPN is trying to hard to sign her to an exclusive contract. Luckily for us, the beautiful Renee Young won’t budge. The Pre-Show Panelist and backstage interviewer is slowly becoming one of WWE’s most recognizable faces. She’s knowledgable, fun to watch, hard-working, incredibly good at selling her interviews, and married to Dean Ambrose! Renee Young is a severely overlooked part of the WWE and no one should take her for granted because she is by far the best at her job in all of wrestling.
Tag Team of the Year – The Usos
The Usos had 2017 on lockdown. They reminded us every single week with their “Uso penitentiary” promo, and backed it up. As multi-time Tag Champs, the new heel gimmick took a few months for people to start accepting, but their feud of the year with The New Day really put them over the edge. Before long, The Usos were having incredible matches with every single team on SmackDown LIVE. The twins are astonishing and some of the hardest workers in WWE.
Feud of the Year – The New Day vs. The Usos
Speaking of tag teams, The Usos didn’t take too kindly to Raw’s New Day splashing onto the scene on SmackDown LIVE. The two teams went at it for multiple PPV’s in a row, yet kept it fresh every time. For example, a segment such as the rap battle that seemed destined to fail from the beginning turned out to be one of WWE’s best segments/promos of the year. This is because the two teams working had undeniable chemistry, passion, and creativity.