Our Top Five Pro Wrestling Events of 2017By Brian Denny | @tellitB | Jan 1, 2018 10:42 am
Editor's Note: With more monthly PPV-esque events available to watch than ever, an elite group rises to the top when it comes to total pageviews on our site -- a good indication of what moved the meter in terms of general fan interest for both pro wrestling and MMA. The other day, we brought you 6-10 and here's the top five. Despite the buzz about NJPW this year, WWE is still what moves the needle.
5) WWE Survivor Series | November
The 30th Survivor Series in history came to us from Houston, Texas, billed as "the one night a year that RAW and SmackDown Live superstars compete against each other" -- almost ad nauseam. The card featured the champions from each show facing off against one another and the night culminated in a 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series match for "brand supremacy". SmackDown Live would get the edge early in victories leading up to the final two matches on the card.
The most intriguing/anticipated match for most was was AJ Styles representing Smackdown Live as the WWE Champion taking on RAW Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, voted as the best match of the show by readers of the Observer and garnering a ****3/4 rating from Dave Meltzer. The main event, however, would not fare as well. Team RAW (HHH, Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe & Finn Balor) against Team SmackDown Live (John Cena, Shane McMahon, Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton & Bobby Roode) would be voted worst match on the card by readers of the Observer and only grabbed a *3/4 rating.
4) WWE Fastlane | March
What normally would be considered a B show became an A show if for nothing else than for the main event featuring legend Bill Goldberg challenging Kevin Owens for the Universal title. At that point, Owens owned the longest Universal title reign in history but that come to an abrupt end when he lost to Goldberg in just 20 seconds. Another streak also ended that night as Roman Reigns defeated Braun Strowman, ending his undefeated streak. That this was the fourth most viewed show on our site says a lot about how well the nostaglia run of Goldberg worked.
3) WWE SummerSlam | August
The biggest event of the summer came to us from Brooklyn for the third straight year with a main event of Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe & Braun Strowman in a four-way. Voted as the best match of the night by Observer readers, Lesnar successfully defended the gold in a wild and thrilling match. Lesnar, after doing a stretcher job, returned to the ring and was able to get out of Brooklyn with the title after hitting Reigns with an F-5.
The unlikely WWE Championship title reign of Jinder Mahal also continued as he downed Shinsuke Nakamura with some help from the Singh Brothers. AJ Styles retained the US title against Kevin Owens with Shane McMahon as special guest referee with the story in this match being that Owens didn't agree with McMahon's referee skills. SummerSlam also saw the return of "The Demon" Finn Balor as he defeating Bray Wyatt in a feud that lasted months.
2) Royal Rumble | January
The Road To WrestleMania kickoff centered around the Rumble match itself as the participants were a who's who of stars like Goldberg, Brock Lesnar and even The Undertaker. There were several title changes and one milestone reached on the night "where anything can happen". Braun Strowman continuing to dominate the scene as he eliminated the most superstars at seven while Goldberg eliminated Lesnar to continue their grudge from Survivor Series. Goldberg was eliminated by Undertaker who was then eliminated by Roman Reigns, leaving the final two were Randy Orton and Reigns. After an RKO and a toss, Orton won his second Rumble.
Perhaps most impressive on the show was the highest-rated match of the WWE calendar year between then-WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. John Cena, garnering a ****3/4 rating by Dave Meltzer. Cena tied Ric Flair's vaunted 16 World title reigns in a classic battle between the two.
Also on the show, The Club became the Raw tag team champions when they beat The Bar and the Cruiserweight title changed hands when Rich Swann lost to Neville.
1) WWE WrestleMania | April
The biggest professional wrestling show of the year came to us from Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, with the main event ofThe Big Dog going one-on-one with The Deadman for control of "the yard". There were also five title changes on the show, a mixed tag match that featured a marriage proposal, a non-sanctioned match, and a Rob Gronkowski run-in.
The annual Andre the Giant Memorial battle royal was won by Mojo Rawley when he eliminated Jinder Mahal after he got some help from the aforementioned Gronkowski. Kevin Owens beat Chris Jericho to regain the U.S. gold while the Raw tag titles were the next to find a new home when the returning/surprise Hardy Boyz won a ladder match that featured The Club, The Bar & Enzo/Big Cass.
Naomi became the SmackDown Live Women's champion when she won a six-pack challenge match while John Cena and Nikki Bella got the best of The Miz and Maryse and afteward, Cena proposed to Nikki (she said yes).
Bray Wyatt lost his WWE Championship to Randy Orton in a weird match that featured images of maggots and such on the canvas while Brock Lesnar become the Universal Champion by beating Goldberg in a memorable brawl that ended Goldberg's WWE return run.
The main event of the evening saw Reigns defeat Undertaker in his unofficial retirement match. The show ended with Taker placing his coat, hat, and gloves in the center of the ring, kissing his wife at ringside and vanishing from the entranceway as he saluted the crowd. Fade to black.