2017 was a both a history making and a memory making year in professional wrestling, full of “spots” that we will never forget. While some spots are glorifying and death-defying, others should be remembered for the cerebral nature of the spot.
Thus, I present to you 2017’s move clever spots, WWE edition!
5. Charlotte Hits Natural Selection On The Ring Apron
Natural Selection, a reverse blockbuster to a kneeling opponent if you will, was Charlotte’s finisher before the Figure Eight Leglock came into prominence. At the 2017 Royal Rumble (you’ll see this PPV name again), Charlotte used a former finisher in a whole new way. Charlotte hit Natural Selection on the ring apron, which for decades has been referred to by commentary as “the hardest part of the ring” (and this is true), and immediately scored the pin.
The immediacy of the pin was my favorite part–no need to use this as a transition. It sells the brutality of the once-finisher when used on the ring apron. That should, and was, enough to win this particular match.
4. AJ Styles Avoids An RKO
Randy Orton has made a career on one move–the RKO. Once a Vine sensation (RIP), Orton will forever be known for the move that both carries his initials and can be hit…well, you know where he can hit it from.
So leave it up to AJ Styles, the man most consider to be the very best in the world, to use the most clever of methods to avoid the RKO when facing Randy Orton for his WrestleMania title shot. AJ went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but dropped back down to the apron (again, the hardest part of the ring!) and tricked Randy Orton into slamming his own back against the canvas.
It still wasn’t meant to be for Styles, who eats a Pop-Up-RKO moments later and loses the match. But this isn’t about winners and losers, it’s about cleverness. And AJ was a big winner in that category.
3. Roman Reigns Enters The Royal Rumble At #30
I mean, this was just awesome. The vaunted number 30 spot in the WWE Royal Rumble, and it was occupied by yhe man the internet loves to hate, a man who had already wrestled earlier in the show, and a man who would go on to likely retire The Undertaker.
That man was Roman Reigns.
In the video above you see suggestions of Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, and more. But nope–it was Roman Reigns!
The fan reaction for this was priceless, and it all culminated at the RawAfterMania, where the crowd tore into Roman Reigns for an eternity, only to be met with a reply of “It’s my yard now!” by The Big Dog himself.
2. The List of KO
The breakup of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens was an example of good predictability in wrestling. We all knew it was going to happen, but it happened earlier than we expected (likely due to Jericho’s schedule), and in a way that we won’t ever forget.
And it led to a WrestleMania match that gave us #1…
1. The One Finger Rope Break
Kevin Owens had a banner year, including the headbutt to Vince McMahon, a once-in-a-lifetime showdown with Goldberg, and a match against his idol Chris Jericho at WrestleMania.
And each moment added to his legacy, which is obviously in the early stages of a Hall Of Fame career.
But he also added one of my favorite moments of the year, The One Finger Rope Break.
Top 5: WWE Raw Superstars That Should Go To Smackdown In 2018
The brand split has given us two distinct rosters with their own faults. While both shows could stand to mix the rosters up, today we look at five Raw superstars that should come to Smackdown Live within the next year.
5. Apollo Crews (Titus Brand)
Since coming to RAW, Crews was able to find a mentor in Titus O’neil, and did get a few wins under his belt. With Reigns and Lesnar holding both singles titles, the best opportunity for gold lies with the tag team championships, and that doesn’t seem probable at this point. A switch to Smackdown Live, not only for Crews, but Titus Brand, would open up opportunities. Smackdown’s tag team division is the best it has been in a while, and with a new U.S. champion getting crowned Crews can be a viable challenger for the victor.
With both Asuka and Paige top contenders for Alexa Bliss’ Woman’s Championship, and Sasha and Nia waiting in the wings, Bayley doesn’t have much she can do. Smackdown Live’s Woman’s division is in need of new competition, with Becky Lynch and Ruby Riott being the freshest competitors to challenge Charlotte. Reports are coming out that WWE is giving up on Bayley, but a switch to the blue show could open up
3. Samoa Joe
Unless he wins the Intercontinental Championship, there doesn’t seem to be anything for Samoa Joe to do on RAW until Roman eventually gets the Universal Championship. Even then the likely candidate to be a worthy challenge to the Big Dog is Braun Strowman. A move to Smackdown Live would give the main event scene a big player heading into WrestleMania and could provide for some memorable dream matches. Joe is one of the few NXT call-ups that still has a good bit of his aura still intact, but moving to SmackdownLive could provide much more prominent role.
2. Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel
While a trade to the blue brand might not do much for the Miztourage, a change of scenery could do them justice. Bo and Axe are two talents most fans believe to be underutilized, as Axel is the son of Curt Henning and Bo is a former NXT Champion. The Smackdown Live tag division is flourishing at the moment, and while the two may not be challenging for the titles, at least Harper and Rowan can have another team to destroy outside of Breezango.
1. Finn Balor
Like Joe, Balor will have to wait a while before getting the chance at one of the two singles titles on Monday nights. A plethora of challengers awaits Roman Reigns with both his I.C. and Universal Championships, and while Balor could be one of those challengers, it is unlikely he will take one of them. A brand change could open up a possible run at AJ Styles, as Balor has a victory over him. Not to mention, like Joe, the plentiful amount of dream matches that could come of this.
Official Rundown: The Chairshot 2017 Match of the Year
All of the voting is done, and we finally know the winner of the Inaugural Chairshot Match of the Year. We’d like to thank everyone who participated across multiple groups, we saw a total of 400 people express their opinion in the results. Each of the five matches brought something a little different to the table, and in most groups we had a difference of merely 3 or 4 votes between first and second place. However, one group tipped the scales significantly for the match that ended up winning.
So let’s see where each of the Top 5 ended up in the final rankings:
(t) 5th – The Usos vs The New Day – WWE Hell in a Cell – 17 votes
While many people enjoyed this match, the in ring quality wasn’t quite up to par with the other options, as well as people preferring one of the other matches between these two teams. Given the year both teams had, and how The Usos are most people’s tag team of the year…tying for 5th in this vote isn’t really an insult.
(t) 5th – Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Brian Cage – NOAH Summer Navigation – 17 votes
This match suffered from the lack of overall exposure to the general crowd. Brian Cage’s popularity in Lucha Underground helped to put this on some people’s radar but, Japanese companies not named New Japan still have issues garnering more fans. This match showcased a lot of Brian Cage’s ability not seen on Lucha Underground. So the fact it at least tied for 5th, instead of getting no traction, is a small testament for word of mouth still doing work in the social media age.
3rd – John Cena vs AJ Styles – WWE Royal Rumble – 56 votes
The WWE’s Match of the Year, finishes third, with a respectable number of votes. A very good match for WWE standards, had the uphill battle of following Wrestle Kingdom 11, and put up a good fight. Cena ties Ric Flair’s record 16 Heavyweight Title reigns with this match, but it sadly didn’t measure up to the caliber of our top two matches this year.
2nd – Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne – NXT Takeover: Chicago – 91 votes
When this match ended and Meltzer’s ratings gave it less than 5 Stars, the internet wrestling community collectively lost their minds. NXT as a brand is highly beloved since it’s basically the WWE’s version of a Indy promotion, with better production values. The match was quite good and even won the vote in a few of the groups we extended the poll into. Definitely a well deserved Top 5 entrant, but still fell to the match that won over many critics and decisively won our vote.
1st – Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega – NJPW Dominion – 219 votes
Was there really any doubt? These two have put on enough classic matches this year to basically have a Top 10 of matches just including them. Not only did this match surpass their first bout, which was Kim Kardashian’s backside levels of breaking the internet, it immediately drew comparisons to Steamboat vs Flair thanks to the 60 Minute Broadway, which isn’t seen often, much less for the Heavyweight Championship. Regardless of where you lie on your feelings between the best match of the trilogy, or what trilogy is the best, or who the better wrestler is, the main fact is; without these matches capturing your interest, you wouldn’t have a basis for argument in the first place.
This vote caps off 2017 nicely as the year of New Japan. It became more visible to the public even before Jericho’s announcement and gives fans a plausible number 2 to try to rally behind. Would it be nice to see WWE step up their game a little? Yes it would, but it probably won’t happen yet. Should you be hopping on the Japanese Wrestling Hype Train and look into NOAH, Dragon Gate and All Japan? Definitely yes, at times those three companies put on matches that were better than New Japan and have stars that can easily compete with your favorites in NJPW.
Use your internet connection to educate yourself further…and Always Use Your Head.
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