Tag Archives: Wrestling

Progress Super Strong Style 16 2017: Thoughts On Wrestling Podcast

Join Rob and Dan for the Thoughts On Wrestling Podcast as they discuss Progress Wrestling’s three day, Super Strong Style 16 2017 Tournament. It’s Rob’s first ever taste of Progress and he likes it quite a lot.

WCPW: True Destiny

I’ve been keeping my eye on WCPW since its creation last year. Tonight was the first time I’ve been to see a show though, in fact tonight was the first time I’ve seen an entire show. Instead of just highlights. It’s crazy how big things have gotten in such a short amount of time. Yes What Culture clearly has a lot of financial might behind this promotion bringing in big names from around the world but I’m still impressed by the crowd sizes they attract.

Overall True Destiny was a good show, it started off well with Will Osprey versus Ricochet, had a fantastic Tag Team Title ladder match, a solid World Title match and it finished with Kurt Angle. Which will always be great. Unfortunately it did have a post opening match lull however. Zack Sabre Jr. versus Travis Banks was quite frankly boring. Primate versus Rampage just happened, it wasn’t bad and it wasn’t good.

Meanwhile Pentagon Jr wasn’t able to make the show and was replaced by Hijo de Dos Caras to face Drago. It was a slow match, a little bit clumsy as well and the crowd never really got behind it after hearing Pentagon wouldn’t be there. Tessa Blanchard also wasn’t on the show. However, instead she was replaced by the returning Nixen Newell who came back and beat Bea Priestley, the self-declared Women’s Champion, in  quick and dominate fashion to reclaim her title. So that was pretty neat.

Will Osprey vs Ricochet

I’m always torn between whether or not I like the style of Ricochet and Will Osprey, it is a little bit too much like a gymnastics routine for me. Having said that, it is a lot of fun and it is very impressive and considering that I don’t see it that often. It’s actually a very nice change of pace.

The story of this match is that the top rope snapped in the opening few minutes during one of their lengthy acrobatic exchanges. Complete disaster right? Well no actually, the two continued to put on a fantastic match. Which had to be completely changed on the fly and the crowd loved every minute of it. We had comedy spots as the duo had to rethink ways of performing their offensive arsenals and they continued to put on a great performance on throughout. They didn’t skip a beat. Honestly, it was a pleasure to watch.

4-Way Tag Team Title Ladder Match

This was one of the best tag team ladder matches I’ve seen in a long time. Johnny Moss and Liam Slater (c) took on Gabriel Kidd & El Ligero, Prospect (Lucas Archer & Alex Gracie) and The Swords of Essex (Scott Wainwright and Will Osprey). Two Will Osprey matches in one night? Amazing. The Aerial Assassin pulls double duty to replace Paul Robinson.

After a post opening match lull in crowd enthusiasm and match quality. It picked all the way back up with an excellent tag team ladder match. This match was full of great comedic spots, mostly from comedy heels Prospect (Alex Gracie is amazing), but it also had some brutal ladder spots too. Scott Wainwright got smashed into both ladders he set up. Everyone had a jump over the top rope spot, with Moss consistently getting denied his chance to wipe everyone out. There was a double stacked Doomsday Device and a cutter from the top of a ladder as well.

All brilliant stuff. The only down note on the match was Drake coming out to help Prospect win the titles, only to turn on them as they climbed the ladder. Why come out at all you silly goose? In the end The Swords of Essex won the match and I expect to see them work under the freebird ruling with Paul Robinson. I highly recommend you watch this match.

Drew Galloway vs Joe Hendry

A solid World Title match between Galloway and Hendry. World Title you ask? That’s right, Galloway has been defending it in America as well, much like Cody Rhodes has been defending the Internet Championship. Thus giving the main What Culture World Title status.

A good match but unremarkable to be honest. The ending did seem rather sudden and it never really got going. General Manager Martin Kirby was the special quest referee and played absolutely no part in the match, sort of odd to have him out there really but whatever. Galloway retained his title, proving once more that Hendry can’t win the big one.

I feel bad not really rating this match, but it was on a card with 2 great matches (Ricochet/Osprey and the Tag Team Title Match) and everything else was at least one or two steps down. I do really like Galloway though, WWE messed up big time with him.

Kurt Angle vs Alberto El Patron

The main event of the evening was Kurt Angle versus Alberto El Patron (Del Rio). In a match that was a first and potentially last ever meeting. Kurt Angle was obviously over huge with the crowd and El Patron, who started as an equally popular face, wisely switched through the match to play a more heel like role. A frustrated babyface with heel tendencies for one night only kind of thing. It set up a nice dynamic between the two that the crowd would have forced anyway. People want to cheer for Angle? Let them but switch Alberto so it works properly. That way we avoid a Rock versus John Cena face versus face, when one is blatantly the bad guy for the crowd.

Kurt Angle won, but was attacked post match by Joe Hendry! Heel turn for the local hero. Local villain now? Will this new mean streak lead to him finally winning the big one?

It was great to see Kurt Angle for what could be his last UK show ever, or at least in a while. It was actually my first time seeing him wrestle live. I so wish that I had seen him in his prime, that would have been amazing. Will he have one last match in WWE? I think he will yes, probably at Summerslam I’m guessing. Against Rusev, because why not.

Top 5: Best Looking Title Belts In Wrestling Today?

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Speaking of the exact opposite of a nice looking title. Here’s the WWE’s Jam Championship from Monday Night Raw.

In 2016 there were a lot of new title belt designs, mostly in WWE after their brand split. Some of these titles looked okay such as the new silver (with either red or blue straps depending on the show) tag team titles. The Raw and Smackdown’s Women’s Titles look pretty nice as well. I’m not quite sure on my opinions of the new UK Championship though. I like the centre piece but I’m not sure in meshes very well with the modern WWE Title design.

Meanwhile the new Universal Championship with looks like the WWE World Title dipped in strawberry jam. I’m sure we’ve all gotten used to it by now, but that doesn’t mean it looks good.

So this got me thinking, what are the best looking titles, currently active, in wrestling today? Here are my top 5.

#5 NXT Tag Team Titles

wwe_nxt_tag_team_championshipNumber 5 on my list is the NXT Tag Team Titles. I think they are far superior than the main roster equivalents, which until recently looked like big copper pennies. Now they look like big silver pennies instead.

It does undoubtedly help that I really enjoy the NXT tag team scene and I’ll happily admit that this is probably the reason that they made the cut. Dash and Dawson of The Revival, are personal favourites of mine, but the whole division has been excellent for over 2 years now.

I find it remarkable that the design of these titles can be so simple and so right. While the main NXT Title looks awful. Not only that, since the main roster got it’s new Women’s Titles, the NXT Women’s title looks more like the old butterfly Divas Title than I think people realised.

What I really like about these titles is that unlike other tag titles, they aren’t a matching pair. As far as I’m aware that is a very unique feature. Instead they are mirror images of each other.

Sleek, clean and simple. In fact they are the epitome of the new championship designs coming from WWE.

#4 IWGP Intercontinental Championship

2nd_version_iwgp_intercontinental_championshipA late addition to my list is the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, having watched Wrestle Kingdom 11. I took some consideration over whether I was going to include this title or the IWGP Heavyweight Championship instead.

The two do look relatively similar but overall I prefer the shape of the Intercontinental Championship. It doesn’t have the extra space on the top and as a result looks cleaner and more symmetric.

Plus it has a white leather strap, much like the WWE version. Which is almost like a trump card for title belts in my opinion. I just think they look really cool. It’s the combination of white leather and gold plate that makes this title look so special. If every championship in the world was on white leather it would lose its appeal very quickly, but for now its still very unique and I like that.

#3 WWE World Title

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When The Rock first introduced the new design for the WWE Title it was immediately met with a wave of relief and delight. Finally the WWE had replaced that God damn awful John Cena Title that had been around forever. It looked like a toy and only ever really suited one man, John Cena. On anyone else it looked, well, rubbish.

It wasn’t until it received the updated logo that it really started to work though. The old attitude era style clashed with the new clean design and quite frankly looked a little ridiculous.

It’s a modern design but still keeps its legacy and legitimacy intact. I even like the fact that WWE have made the top title for male and female competitors look similar. However, I’m not a fan of the Universal Titles look and I’m not 100% sold on the UK Championship either. Those problems aside, you can’t deny that this title looks great. It might actually be my favourite WWE Title design ever. Winged Eagle fans please don’t shoot me!

#2 WWE Intercontinental Championship

wwe_intercontinental_championshipThe WWE Intercontinental Championship came very close to being my number one pick. For a long time I would have said that this is the best looking title belt in not only the WWE but in all of wrestling.

I fell in love with this title back in 2011 when Cody Rhodes introduced the modified classic design on the white leather strap. For a brief moment I wanted to be a ‘traditionalist’ with the belt kept on a black leather strap, but there is no denying how good this looks. Its pure class.

That’s why I had to rank it higher than the WWE World Title itself, obviously I like the World Title design, but it the IC Title is in a league of its own. Unfortunately the title itself has been treated like the after thought of an after thought for the majority of the last decade. Even with its modern design introduction. Hopefully now that it is a Smackdown exclusive championship it will keep receiving more focus than it had prior to the brand spilt. Which will, in theory, return some of the prestige that it lost years ago. Basically, just keep it on The Miz forever is what I say.

#1 Ring of Honor World Title

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Here we are, my number one pick for best looking, currently active, championship title. The Ring of Honor World Championship. There’s something about this title belt that just shouts prestigious to me.

Obviously its a great looking belt straight away. The front of the strap is black while it has red on the back. The centrepiece with its multiple gold wreaths. The continents on either strap. It all just creates this image of luxury, class and history.

For a relatively new design, it is actually a throw back to the older design of titles. It reminds me of the Winged Eagle WWF title belt in many ways. While the majority of WWE titles have been super modernised, it’s really cool to see a championship look like this.


Have I missed any obvious ones? If I have let me know! And if you think my opinion sucks and I’m a big dumb fat idiot moron face, keep your opinions to yourself please. Fragile ego and all that.

Review: Royal Rumble 2017

The Royal Rumble 2017 is in the books and the road to Wrestlemania has officially begun. I’ve got mixed emotions about this event. On the one hand I had a lot of fun watching it with my friends in London. On the other, despite an excellent WWE World Title match between John Cena and AJ Styles, with the added bonus of Kevin Owens retaining his Universal Title too, I still have a bad taste in my mouth.

Main events make and break PPVs, they can drag them down and they can pull them up to greatness. This years Rumble match, while nowhere near as disastrous at 2014 and 2015 proved that WWE still haven’t learnt lessons from the past. With all the rumours of potential surprise entrants, most of whom would clearly never happen, do we have any right to be disappointed? Well yeah kinda. WWE hype the hell out of surprise returns and debuts every year and if they don’t happen it does fall a little flat. Especially if they enter the realms of ultimate fantasy booking such as, Kurt Angle, Kenny Omega, Samoa Joe, Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor. Granted having Dillinger come out at number ten was nice, but other than that the only other surprise was Roman Reigns. No one wants that surprise.

At least the production crew managed to focus on the action better this year. We didn’t miss any eliminations or a repeat of watching Roman Reigns face while AJ Styles makes his big debut. So that is nice.

Pre-Show

058_rr_01292017ej_0659-50e043f088223938d385781452e2839dI didn’t watch the pre-show, I never do actually. If it’s not on the main card, WWE clearly don’t consider it that important. So I don’t bother. I’m delighted that The Club finally won the Raw Tag Team Championships though. It was almost make or break for them having failed so many other times, where could they have gone if they failed? In the other two matches the faces were victorious in the 6 women tag match and Nia Jaz defeated Sasha Banks, both as I expected.  I don’t see why one of these matches, specifically the tag team title match, couldn’t have been on the main card though to be honest. The PPV ended early, so there was definitely time.

Undercard

202_rr_01292017cc_2701-e10cb4227d2244c4b4ff261daeb6154eMoving onto the main show, I thought both the Raw Women’s Title and Cruiserweight Title matches were solid. I’ll admit to not focusing too much attention to either if I’m honest, but I enjoyed them for what they were. Charlotte remains the dominate heel Champion and remains on her undefeated PPV streak.

Meanwhile Neville is the new Cruiserweight Champion which is great. He’s by far the best cruiserweight and I don’t really like Rich Swann anyway. Thought that could be down to me not watching 205 Live.

Universal Championship

It’s no secret that I don’t like Roman Reigns and I’ll admit that it makes it difficult for me to enjoy his matches. So have been admittedly quite good butt there is always the under lying feeling of ‘oh for Gods sake its Roman Reigns, watch him look overly strong for no reason’ that blocks my vision. I can’t get the feeling of Cena 2.0 out of my head. I suffered 10 years of SuperCena, I don’t need a new one. It’s one of the reasons I prefer Smackdown if I’m honest.

2d8eb3c198b84b68-600x400I mean must he kick out of everything? Head thrown into a chair set up in the ropes? Kicks out. Brass knuckled Superman Punch? Kicks out? Put through a table, doesn’t affect him. Why does it always seem like Reigns is far more willing to dish out horrible bumps than to take them himself? Owen’s falling on those chairs looked horrible and the bumps AJ Styles took for him were nuts.

WWE seem content or obsessed with showing that Kevin Owens is completely outclassed by Roman Reigns at every turn and is a totally undeserving champion. I can’t actually remember the last time he won a match clean.

Chris Jericho didn’t really get involved in the match that much when you think about it. Yes he gave Kevin Owens the brass knuckles (which would have been legal from the start) but considering it didn’t do any damage what was the point? In a surprise twist though, instead of Jericho being the difference maker for the match it turned out to be Braun Strowman. Strowman, I assume was getting revenge for those spears from Reigns over recent weeks. Making it a No DQ match kind of nullified that previous gimmicks importance really. Gotta make sure Reigns looks strong though!

I’m assuming we will be getting Jericho versus Owens at Wrestlemania, which will be awesome. Whether or not it’s for the Universal Championship I’m not sure. It will probably be for the US Title I imagine, which would be a step down. They’ve been the best thing on Raw since the brand split and they deserve to fight at Wrestlemania in a main event.

WWE World Title Match

239_rr_01292017cc_2863-4d5e8362ec55fde017437b255f27b877This was a really good match. Match of the night by far and yet more proof that AJ Styles and John Cena are both really good. Could you imagine people cheering John Cena tying Ric Flairs record 5 years ago? Not a chance. Over the last two years though he’s been putting on great matches with a lot of people and has won me and other fans over.

Couple of little points that frustrate me about this feud. While AJ looked really strong having to be beaten by four AAs I’m not sure why WWE had Cena talk so much shit about Styles pre-Rumble. It made him look small time and a bit of a chump. Styles however, is amazing, but not only that he’s been carrying Smackdown since the brand split. So it just seems uncalled for and necessarily damaging.

Also, I feel like Cena winning his 16th title was a little rushed. I would have had Styles win for a 3rd time, really knocking Cena’s over confidence (which, now isn’t over confidence) before having him tie Ric Flair’s record at Wrestlemania. Huge ‘Mania moment. I guess you can’t save everything for Wrestlemania though otherwise the other shows matter even less than they do now. Still, it felt rushed since his return.

Overall, great match though. Really enjoyed it. Cena once again proving he can go with the best of them. Question; why hasn’t this Cena been allowed to exist for all of his run?

Royal Rumble Match

It is really difficult to review a Royal Rumble match, you don’t want to end up just listing what happened spot by spot. So I’ll just list a few highlights before moving onto the analyses:

  • Chris Jericho as a chicken shit heel, constantly getting out of the ring to avoid people.
  • Braun dominating early on, I didn’t expect Baron Corbin to be the one to eliminate him. I thought that Reigns would return to get revenge from earlier.
  • Tye Dillinger entering at number 10 was both awesome and smart. The only thing WWE could have done other than him entering would have been having The Miz come out. Instead we got a really cool moment and the crowd were very happy.

This years Royal Rumble was very tail heavy. Far too many big stars back loaded. Brock Lesnar 26, Goldberg 28, The Undertaker 29, Roman Reigns 30. The balance was off and the big names should have been spaced out more.

The Lesnar/Goldberg confrontation was even shorter than at Survivor Series. I was hoping for slightly more but I guess it moves the story forward. Michael Cole drove the point home that “Goldberg has Lesnar’s number!”. It’s the second year in a row though that this untamable beast just gets eliminated and just walks to the back. I was expecting repercussions!

Okay here’s the thing. Up until this point the Rumble match has been fine. It hasn’t been amazing, but it’s had a few cool moments and it’s ticking along nicely. WWE has trained its fans to believe that the number 30 spot is a big deal. It’s normally a big return, a debut or just big name in general. So when The Undertaker comes out at number 29, you automatically assume the next person out has to be even more important. Otherwise, it will be an anti-climax. So when Roman Reigns comes out, the mood in the arena and in the pub I was in absolutely tanked. It died. Suddenly it’s the 2015 Royal Rumble all over again. Last nights #30 entry just goes to show that one important mistake can ‘ruin’ an entire event. It went from an okay show with a great WWE Title match to “Not this crap again!” event. Roman Reigns was the exact opposite of what people wanted.

Why does Reigns even get a spot in the Royal Rumble when he lost? Why doesn’t Styles get a second chance? The character of Reigns is so spoiled, he gets everything on a plate which is why fans reject him so entirely when he gets pushed constantly as the most important thing in the world.

Suddenly there is a slew of eliminations with next to zero fanfare. Other than Goldberg, The Undertaker and Roman Reigns did the commentary team bat an eyelid about any of them? They even ignored Jericho and Zayn who had been in since numbers 2 and 8 respectively. It’s a recurring problem that important moments aren’t mentioned in recent years.

9b2fb107ff382baa-600x400The crowd went absolutely crazy when Randy Orton won, but that’s mostly because he isn’t Roman Reigns. It’s just like last year when Triple H won, we didn’t really want to see another victory. We just didn’t want Reigns. Not that it mattered in the end, as he still main evented Wrestlemania in a really boring and depressing match.

Did Orton need this win though? It seems like a really ‘safe’ and boring choice. He’s actually been doing some of his most interesting work in years as part of the Wyatt Family and unless this is going to continue that story arc it’s really dumb. Of course, if this does end up with Bray Wyatt as champion in the main event of Wrestlemania then I am fine with everything. Still though, couldn’t we have put someone new over? Like Bray himself? If the plan is for Orton/Wyatt it gets to the same destination but…better.

282_rr_01292017jg_2469-8a94685de1011e73d22d909760556729Orton winning is better than Reigns winning but it still left me feeling deflated. Just when you think WWE are going to start pushing the younger and newer talent. They make the entire rumble about three or four old part timers and give Orton his second Rumble victory instead of putting over someone knew. It’s not a disaster it’s just a missed opportunity.

WWE UK Championship Tournament: Night 2 Review

Wow! Night 2 of the UK Championship Tournament was simply amazing. I criticised the first night being solid yet unremarkable, but everyone really kicked it up a couple of gears for round 2. As you’d expect in a two-day tournament obviously.

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Tyler Bate is the inaugural WWE UK Champion!

Being a wrestling fan can be very frustrating at times. Nonsense storylines and dumb booking decisions. This past weekend has been a perfect example of wrestling done right. I honestly hadn’t been this invested in wrestling in months. This is coming from someone who only knew 5 of the 16 competitors at the start of this whole thing! Excellent work by everyone involved.

 

All of the matches from night two were fantastic, despite only 2 of them going over 10 minutes. The match of the night has to be the main event, but a close second would be Trent Seven versus Wolfgang. Not only was it a good match, but it also had a surprising ending which really rocked the entire tournament. With Seven out suddenly it was anyone’s to grab.

I did correctly predicted that Pete Dunne would make it to the final but it was Tyler Bate who won was declared the first ever UK Champion. It was the perfect decision has he quickly became the most over man in the entire thing. A true fan favourite. Dunne was built up as the main heel very well over the 2 nights. Attacking Gradwell twice and Bate’s after his semi final victory over Wolfgang. It’s simple story telling but it set up a perfect hell/face final.

 

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Great work by all 16 competitors, especially those who made it through to the second day. Excellent performances.

It was nice to see Neville appear before the main event. He cut a very logical promo about being excluded from the CWC, 205Live and now this tournament too. Careful though WWE, in a world with your rubbish babyfaces you don’t want a heel to actually be justified in his thinking! I must admit I really wanted to see Wade Barrett as well, even if just for a promo. I knew it wasn’t going to happen but still find myself disappointed.

 

The commentary of Michael Cole and Nigel McGuiness was again very good. Although Cole being surprised that Balor was here this weekend was odd considering he’d introduced him the previous night. I wonder what the WWE’s plan for McGuiness is now that this is over?

Actually, I wonder what the plan for the UK Championship in general is now. Will it get its own show on the WWE network? Will it just be an annual or bi-annual tournament? What happens next?

My Top 5 Favourite Wrestling Themes Right Now!

Almost a year ago I wrote a Top 5 list (the internet loves top 5 and top 10 lists) detailing the 5 best themes in WWE and NXT at that point. Well I’m back to do an update as things have changed! New competitors, new challengers and new themes to rock out too. I’ve even expanded my reach ever so slightly with a Ring of Honor competitor making my top 5. So, who has made the list this time? Let’s find out!

Before we begin it’s time for the honourable mentions for Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who all made my list last year but have now fallen from the Top 5. Still all great entrance themes, but they’ve been usurped!

5. Sheamus

Sheamus has a had a weird run over the past year or so. He’s been mostly directionless for the most part. Spending time as a comedy heel midcarder before a short World Title run was then followed by months of being Roman Reigns’ punching bag in the League of Nations.

Finally it looks like he might have something to do for a little while with his make shift tag team with Cesaro after their tied best of 7 series. Unfortunately as part of that team comes the gimmick of Cesaro always cutting of his entrance with his own. So we don’t get to hear this song in all its glory. However, we can all agree on is that his theme song is awesome. I could listen to it all day!

4. Finn Balor

My number one for last year drops down to number four this time around. Last year nothing really came close to it so it was justifiably my top pick. Now though, it’s got stiff competition. Still a brilliant theme it’s a major part of the phenomenal theatrics for Finn’s entrance. It has an epic aura on it’s own but paired with the lighting and choreography it’s simply amazing to watch and listen too.

3. Bobby Roode

If you had to use just one word to describe Bobby Roode’s theme song, what would it be? Perfect? Brilliant? No of course not, it would be summed up as Glo-…adequate. Obviously I’m joking! It’s bloody Glorious isn’t it!

On it’s on it’s a pretty great theme for an egotistical heel who loves everything about himself. Yet it’s the fan response to it that has made it so darn good. At Takeover: Brooklyn 2 the crowd exploded when his theme hit and sang along as loudly as they could. It’s continued ever since. At Takeover: Toronto he did one better with a choir singing his entrance theme while he walked to the ring. I loved it.

2. Dalton Castle

My new favourite wrestler with one of my favourite wrestling themes. Dalton Castle has got it all. Sparkling jumpsuits, sequin capes, ‘his boys’ and an absolute belter of a theme song!

I’ve had ‘Dalton Wants It Now’ by Adam Massacre on repeat since I saw Ring of Honor live back in November. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the gimmick and excellently references Freddy Mercury, Queen and the whole flamboyant, glam rock vibe. Mostly, because it’s essentially an extended instrumental version of the opening guitar solo for Queen’s ‘I Want It All’.

It’s brilliant.

1. Shinsuke Nakamura

Let’s be serious, it kind of had to be really didn’t it? Last year Balor had the stand out theme but since Wrestlemania weekend and his debut Nakamura’s theme has been on a different level.

The crowd absolutely love singing along with it. They love singing it during promos and they love singing it during matches. Much like Bobby Roode his Takeover entrances also take his theme to that next level again. Specifically his one from Takeover: Brooklyn 2. It was awesome.

 

My Top 5 WWE/NXT Matches of 2016

We’re 9 whole days into 2017 and I’m back for one more time to count down my favourite ‘somethings’ from 2016. This time its my top 5 favourite matches from within WWE and NXT. The quality of wrestling was much improved in 2016 with WWE marketing wrestling ability as a reason to actually watch a show. Rather than just mega personalities, which is weird because you kind of want both really.

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler – No Mercy

20160926_nomercy_mizzig-0c68821c170e826f60cba340c6a94dc8The Mix verses Dolph Ziggler was probably the best feud that the WWE have done all year, especially post brand split. It had all the emotions and the unpredictability you could ever want and on top of that, it was a really good wrestling match as well. This is the sort of feud we live to see in the WWE. You don’t see it enough these days, but when you do. It’s great.

The Miz was on absolute fire before No Mercy with his worked shoot promo against Daniel Bryan. Meanwhile Ziggler was proving that fans do still care about him and cutting earnest, impassioned and meaningful promos. The whole thing was great, it just all came together perfectly.

John Cena vs. AJ Styles – Summerslam

AJ Styles has had quite a few fantastic matches in 2016. Obviously he had that classic against Nakamura at Wrestle Kingdom 10 (but that’s eligible) but within WWE he’s had quite a few too. He’s had two great matches with Roman Reigns and two great matches with John Cena as well. It’s the second match with Cena that makes the list.

Yes it was a great match. Styles is amazing and Cena has proven time and again that he can in fact put on a show. Yet it’s not just the standard of wrestling that is the reason this match makes the list. It’s the fact that Styles beat John Cena for a second time. Not only that, he beat him completely clean.

Cena is such a big name in the WWE that when he does put someone over it is a huge moment. Most fans were expecting the usual, Cena loses once and then wins 8 rematches to prove a point. That didn’t happen! Styles won and it made him a made man. It was fantastic to see.

Since then Styles has only gone up in the world of WWE and is currently the WWE World Champion, will he eventually lose to Cena. Yes, does it matter? No. It was a great match. A great moment. And it meant so much for Styles’ career.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn – Takeover: Dallas

I’m not entirely sure there has ever been a better debut match than the one Shinsuke Nakamura had at Takeover: Dallas against Sami Zayn.

Nakamura came into NXT with all the hype in the world surrounding him. When his entrance music hit the building (myself included) exploded. Did he and Sami Zayn deliver the weekend stealing match we had been promised? You’re God damn right they did!

Nakamura was pure charisma from start to finish and NXT fan favourite Sami Zayn always delivers. The 20 minute onslaught delighted fans around the world, despite the fact that it looked like both Zayn and Nakamura could step it up at least a few more levels than they actually did.

The match had plenty of back and forth and both wrestlers were over 110% with a rabid NXT crowd. The stiff, hard-hitting knees, kicks and punches were absolutely brutal from both men. It was a truly awesome moment. One I’m delighted I was involved in.

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg – Survivor Series

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It may have been short, but what it lacked in length it made up for it in’OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED!?’ moments.

Granted it only lasted one minute and twenty-six seconds, but holy hell what a moment. No one saw that coming. No one. If you say you did I’m going to call you a liar.

Two spears and one Jackhammer. It’s over.

Well…f*ck me!

“But how can it be your number two match of the year when it was so short?” Well, voice in my head. It’s really simple. Literally nothing this year has made me feel, the excitement, shock, anger, bewilderment and frustration that the decimation of Brock Lesnar did.

I was stunned. At first I was livid, but I quickly realised that when wrestling makes you feel the way this made me, like a kid who just met Santa putting presents under the tree, then it has to be a good thing. This match came pretty close to matching the feeling I had when I saw Seth Rollins cash in his Money in the Bank contract at Wrestlemania. It was huge.

The length, seen by some as the reason it shouldn’t be on the list is actually the reason it is. Had this been a 15 minute slog in which Goldberg won. I doubt it would have been any good. Now I’m desperate to see a rematch! Never thought I’d want a rematch of Goldberg verses Lesnar after Wrestlemania 20…

NXT Tag Team Championship: The Revival vs. #DIY – Takeover: Brooklyn 2

 

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Without a doubt, my favourite match of the year.

Over the last 2 years I have become a huge fan of tag team wrestling again and it’s mainly down to a couple of teams. Dash and Dawson of The Revival, American Alpha, New Day, #DIY and Enzo and Big Cass. For of those teams are recent NXT alumni and the reason I enjoy them so much is because NXT, like with the Women’s division a year or so back, just seem to get it. The Revival specifically though, just seem to understand how to put on great matches. Why do I single them out? Well, because they’ve had great matches with all of them (excluding New Day).

It might come as a surprise that I’m picking this match, rather than their rematch at Takeover: Toronto. A match that was actually listed by WWE themselves as the best of the year! Granted, it was an absolute stonker as well, with that amazing feel good moment when Gargano and Ciampa won the gold. Yet in my opinion, Brooklyn 2 was better. In reality the Toronto match is actually my second favourite of the year and maybe I should have ranked it, but I wanted to mix up the list a little and feature some other matches so I had to compromise.

So why do I prefer this match? It’s simple really. I just believe that there is so much more going on during it. Yes the wrestling is amazing. The chemistry between these two teams is sensational. The false finishes, the perfect timing. It all adds up into an excellent bout. The same can be said for Toronto too.

What makes this match so great is the countless directions that could result from the result. So many potential storyline options all leaving you on the edge of your seat. Are Ciampa and Gargano going to win the big one in WWE or will they fall short and Ciampa turn heel so they can feud. After all they’d had a great match in the Cruiserweight Classic and a feud spawning from that look almost inevitable. At the same time, if The Revival lose what will happen to them? Will they be called up to the main roster to bulk out Smackdown’s tag team division? Afterall, we were just weeks after the WWE Brand Split and anything was possible.

When you’ve got great wrestling and you don’t know what the finish will be, that makes for a brilliant moment. I think the Toronto rematch while excellent, had a more predictable finish so thus has to drop down ever so slightly. Plus, and I’m just being honest, I’m a huge mark for The Revival and I just love to see them win.