Another year in professional wrestling has come and gone. As we look forward to the squared circle magic we will see in the New Year, 2017 had a lot of stellar matches.
New Japan Pro Wrestling delivered the goods in spades while WWE churned out some fun moments. ROH and the Independent scene are on fire like never before as a new era of wrestling is coming around.
All lists of this nature are subjective. My rankings don’t mean any more or less than anyone else’s rankings. These are my picks for the top wrestling matches of 2017
1. Kenny Omega vs. Kazuchika Okada III – New Japan Pro Wrestling: Okada won the first match in 46 minutes and they wrestled each other to a 60 minute draw in the second match. Their third encounter was saddled with a 30-minute time limit in accordance with the rules of the G-1 Climax tournament.
This was augmented by the fact that Okada needed either a win or a draw to advance to the finals while Omega needed to win or go home. These two went after each other and exhibited the will to win like never before. With three minutes left in the match, Omega hit the one move he couldn’t deliver to Okada in their previous bouts. One Winged Angel equaled 1,2,3.
2. John Cena vs. AJ Styles – WWE Royal Rumble: Cena downed Styles to capture his 16th WWE title and thus tied Ric Flair’s record for most world titles won. WWE did a great job of playing into the perceptions of the diehard fan base. Cena and Styles represent their sub genre of pro wrestling. Epic story telling tipped off by a stellar match that had me on the edge of my seat form bell to bell.
3. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne: NXT Takeover Chicago: Dunne pinned Bate to become the second WWE UK Champion in a match that needs to be seen to be believed. The Chicago crowd was chanting “U.K.” and “fight forever.” If the WWE can’t get the U. K. Division started, they need to bring these two to the main roster or at least a permanent developmental deal where they will be regulars on NXT.
4. Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito – New Japan Pro Wrestling: The G-1 Finals came down to these amazing athletes. The story was simple. The winner would headline the Tokyo Dome in the main event for the world title held by Okada.
Omega needed this win to break the tie against Okada. Naito needed this win to erase the memory of winning the G-1 three years earlier but not getting the main event. The performance these two put on was something out of a video game. In the end, Naito pinned Omega to claim the G-1.
5. Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii NJPW G-1 Special Day 2 7/2/17: Kenny Omega pinned Tomohiro Ishii to become the inaugural IWGP U.S. Champion in a bout that had one of the craziest ending sequences I’ve ever seen.
The crowd in Long Beach was at a fever pitch when Ishii bit the top rope to prevent Omega from suplexing him off the apron and through a table. Omega eventually delivered the snap dragon which made me stand out out of my seat so fast I nearly hit the ceiling.