IT’s been one other thrilling yr for WWE and its prime superstars – however who’ve been the true winners and losers between the ropes?
Solar Sport seems again at the easiest (and worst) of what went down in 2017 for our finish of yr awards.
It has been one other motion packed yr within the wacky world of WWE
Celebrity Of The 12 months Award
He began the yr as simply one other considered one of Vince McMahon’s plodding monsters. Who’d have thought Braun would finish 2017 as WWE’s most entertaining anti-hero?
Braun received himself over with quite a few crowd-pleasing assaults on Roman Reigns – together with one the place he despatched Roman flying off a ledge whereas strapped to a stretcher.
Even some ineffective reserving – together with a lukewarm effort within the WrestleMania battle royal and clear loss to Brock Lesnar – didn’t cease Braun from successful over followers.
He appeared like a monster within the SummerSlam four-way and even survived being stuffed in a rubbish truck trash compactor at TLC.
He then lived within the rubbish truck for every week earlier than he retuned like a horror film monster – precisely the type of factor that’s made him essentially the most enjoyable a part of Uncooked in 2017.
Worst Celebrity Of The 12 months Award
Mockingly, Braun’s former chief Wyatt has been WWE’s worst performer.
He received the WWE Championship in February – a low level for the title – then choked in a ridiculous match in opposition to Randy Orton at WrestleMania.
WWE additionally pressured followers to endure his abysmal Home of Horrors match in opposition to Orton at Payback.
Bray then entered a unending feud with Finn Bálor, killing Bálor’s warmth along with his nonsense promos (what precisely have been they combating over? We’re nonetheless not solely certain).
A bout of mumps mercifully spared us from seeing Bray wrestled in a gown as “Sister Abigail”, although he’s certain to do it someday sooner or later.
Finest Present Of The 12 months Award
The UK Championship Match, January 15
The group was electrical for this two-night event at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom, the place WWE topped its first ever UK Champion.
Tyler Bate performed the plucky underdog babyface, whereas Pete Dunne was the vicious heel who’d cease at nothing to win the title.
It turned a gripping story because the pair made their approach by means of the quarter and semi finals to fulfill within the climatic match.
Bate received the championship but it surely made superstars out of each males – proof that old skool storytelling remains to be on the coronary heart of prime wrestling drama.
Match Of The 12 months Award
Tyler Bate v Pete Dunne – NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Might 20
The Two Brits adopted their success on the event with an absolute belter for the UK Championship 5 months later.
This time, Dunne beat Bate for the title.
However it was a dynamite showcasing of “British Robust Type” from each males – which is on the core of the UK’s greatest wrestling growth interval for many years.
The match not solely stole the present on the evening, it raised the bar for the entire of WWE – a bar that even WWE’s prime superstars have failed to succeed in since.
Second Of The 12 months Award
The Hardy Boyz return a WrestleMania 33
As any fan is aware of, WWE is all in regards to the “moments”. And the skin-prickling return of the Hardys was the best second by far this yr.
Hypothesis was rife that Matt and Jeff – the most popular free brokers in wrestling because of their Damaged gimmick – would return.
And the Citrus Bowl stadium exploded when the Perspective Period legends made their shock entry into the tag staff ladder match – after which received the Uncooked tag titles.
One of many true WrestleMania moments that calls for repeat viewing.
The Going Power-To-Power Award
The Girls’s Division
It’s simple to be cynical about WWE’s “girls’s evolution” – the Uncooked division has been creatively poor for many of 2017 and WWE remains to be obsessive about “historic” moments.
However there have been large successes. Each the Mae Younger Basic and girls’s Cash within the Financial institution match – regardless of its controversial end – have been nice moments.
Asuka has retained her killer aura, whereas superstars equivalent to Alexa Bliss, Naomi, and Carmella have had career-defining years.
The ladies’s division additionally had WWE’s hottest storyline final month when each Paige’s Absolution and the Riott Squad invaded Uncooked and SmackDown respectively.
With the announcement of the primary ever girls’s Royal Rumble match, 2018 might be a good higher yr for WWE’s feminine superstars.
Betrayal Of The 12 months Award
The Competition of Friendship – Uncooked, Feb 13
It’s been a yr of betrayals. Tommaso Ciampa turned on Johnny Gargano, Mojo Rawley attacked Zack Ryder, and Massive Cass put the boots to Enzo Amore.
However one of the best of all was Kevin Owens’ brutal assault on Chris Jericho – made much more devastating as a result of it occurred throughout Jericho’s celebration of their friendship.
Owens gave Jericho the “Checklist of KO”, earlier than attacking him and smashing his head by means of a TV display screen Shawn Michaels/Marty Jannetty-style.
It was a spotlight of a improbable yr for KO – and one other nice second within the ongoing reinvention of Jericho.
Tag Group Of The 12 months Award
Sheamus & Cesaro
They began the yr as an odd couple, earlier than connecting with the followers as super-over babyfaces.
A heel activate the Hardy Boyz arrange one of many yr’s hottest feuds and so they had extra nice matches in opposition to The Protect and The Usos, successful the Uncooked titles thrice.
They’re essentially the most constant performers of 2017 and proceed to have one of the best matches on Uncooked week-in week-out in each tag and singles competitors.
Feud Of The 12 months Award
Brock Lesnar v Samoa Joe
It was brief lived, however pound-for-pound essentially the most thrilling and dramatic feud on WWE tv all yr – and culminated in a bruising match at Nice Balls of Hearth.
The feud was pure fantasy reserving – there was a time when followers thought they’d by no means see Joe in WWE, not to mention sq. off in opposition to the Beast himself.
Joe choked out Paul Heyman in a scorching section and – to many followers’ shock – dominated Lesnar on Uncooked in quite a few altercations.
Followers knew Joe wouldn’t defeat The Beast, however Joe’s depth and Lesnar displaying real weak point arrange Joe as a reputable contender to the Common Championship.
Failure Of The 12 months Award
Jinder Mahal as WWE Champion
Longtime jobber Jinder defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in a stunning upset at Backlash final Might.
WWE was making an attempt to swerve followers and get Jinder over as a headliner – however at the price of its supposedly most prestigious title, which quickly turned a mid card belt at finest.
It’s not all Jinder’s fault – he’s truly improved massively this yr – as WWE booked him in dreary feuds in opposition to Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura.
All the WWE Universe breathed a sigh of reduction when AJ Kinds beat Jinder for the belt in Manchester final month – and once more when Jinder did not regain the title at Conflict of Champions.
Celebrity Troll Of The 12 months Award
No famous person has been capable of wind up followers fairly like Roman Reigns has in 2017.
Already hated, he entered quantity 30 into the Royal Rumble (when followers have been anticipating Kurt Angle) then did the unthinkable – retired The Undertaker at WrestleMania.
His post-Mania look on Uncooked was pure trolling – standing silently within the ring for 13 minutes whereas followers spat venom at him.
He additionally defeated John Cena – proof that he actually is the way forward for WWE and destined to be an much more despised babyface than Cena himself.
However the greatest wind up of all is that whereas followers savagely boo him, they’ll’t change the truth that he’s an amazing wrestler and getting higher on a regular basis.
Most Disappointing NXT Name Up Of The 12 months Award
Vince McMahon’s observe report with NXT skills is lower than stellar. Tye Dillinger, Baron Corbin, and Finn Bálor have all floundered on the principle roster.
Most disappointing although is former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, who made his much-anticipated major roster debut on the SmackDown after WrestleMania.
Nakamura had the compulsory feud with Dolph Ziggler however then misplaced clear to Jinder Mahal in a woeful feud over the WWE Championship.
The “King of Robust Type” has since been a supporting participant within the Kevin Owens vs Shane McMahon feud.
However it’s not all Vince’s fault. Nakamura hasn’t appeared anyplace close to as dynamic within the ring as he did in NXT. Is he probably he’s stopped making an attempt?
The Please Flip Heel Award
Sasha confirmed depth in a barnstormer in opposition to Alexa Bliss at Nice Balls of Hearth, however suffered below the poor artistic course of Uncooked’s girls’s division for many of 2017.
She had a number of alternatives to show heel in the course of the yr – particularly when teasing tensions between her and BFF Bayley – however WWE by no means pulled the set off.
Possibly it could have been one betrayal too many in 2017? Regardless of the purpose, she’s too gifted to be wasted in a supporting function.
Sasha might take centre stage on Uncooked if WWE gave her the liberty to resurrect her heel Boss character from NXT.
The Cautious What You Want For Award
Kurt Angle again within the ring
Followers have needed Angle again in a WWE ring for years – and when he was revealed as the brand new Uncooked GM it appeared it could ultimately occur someplace down the street.
However Angle was rushed right into a major occasion match at TLC as a final minute substitute for Roman Reigns – then wrestled once more at Survivor Sequence.
It was apparent Angle wasn’t in ring form and that years of accidents have taken their toll. Together with his stiff restricted motion, he had all of the grace of a sweaty wardrobe within the ring.
We don’t doubt Angle has one other basic in him, however for the sake of his legacy and well being we don’t need to see him wrestle once more till he’s 100 per cent prepared.
The Higher Late Than By no means Award
“Woken” Matt Hardy
The WWE followers have been buzzing for the Hardys once they returned – and particularly on the prospect of seeing the Damaged Hardys in WWE. However it by no means occurred.
Actually, it appeared like WWE had completed its ordinary trick of squandering potential because the Hardys have been relegated to glorified jobbers.
However the gimmick – with Damaged Matt Hardy reimagined as “Woken” Matt Hardy – lastly debuted just a few weeks in the past.
It instantly turned essentially the most thrilling factor on WWE tv. Hopefully Hardy will likely be given the artistic freedom to make sure 2018 is crammed with Woken Knowledge.
The Spoiled Brat Of The 12 months Award
It was a bumpy begin for Jason Jordan when he was revealed as Kurt Angle’s illegitimate son.
Followers knew he didn’t have the charisma to tug off such an enormous storyline – and regardless of strong performances in opposition to John Cena and Roman Reigns, followers turned on Jordan.
However he’s performed as much as the warmth by turning into an entitled brat in latest weeks. That’s not a criticism – it’s been enjoyable to look at and is definitely the beginning of a much-needed heel flip.
Anticipate the second he snaps and hits his outdated man with a belly-to-belly. Jordan has potential to be rather more than a spoiled brat in 2018.