The Best WWE Matches of 2017 (Part 2)

Tyler Bate Pete Dunne NXT Chicago


Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles – Survivor Series

Taken from Match Review: I love David vs. Goliath matches like this one. Lesnar entered this bout as the unstoppable monster he’s always been against the smaller but durable AJ Styles. At first, Lesnar completely decimated Styles with stiff knee strikes and suplexes. Styles was treated like a rag doll for several grueling minutes until he dodged a flying knee strike from Lesnar. At that point, this match got all the more intense. Styles switched his focus to Lesnar’s now injured knee and used everything in his arsenal to further weaken “The Beast.” The crowd (and me included) went nuts as Styles landed Phenomenal Elbows, a Pele, DDT’s and a Calf Crusher on his larger foe. The story being told here was simple but oh so effective. Styles fought hard to keep Lesnar on his knees, while Lesnar relied on his brute strength to cut through the WWE Champion. While it hurt to see Styles eat that final F5, I was none too disappointed with the match as a whole. This interbrand Champion vs. Champion match delivered in spades!

Johnny Gargano vs. Pete Dunne – NXT (Episode 422)

After witnessing this match go down when it initially aired, I fell in love with it. Imagine if this one had taken place during NXT TakeOver: WarGames instead of being filmed beforehand. Nevertheless, Johnny Gargano vs. Pete Dunne for the United Kingdom Championship featured smart storytelling, painful limb work on behalf of Dunne and Gargano’s penchant for always getting the crowd on his side. Dunne pulled out all the stops as he dropped Gargano with some painful suplexes (the one given to Gargano on the ring apron made me flinch pretty hard). Gargano suffered for a good while thanks to Dunne’s submissions and masterful brawling skills. Gargano had some fun comeback moments, like the one where he flipped out of Dunne’s finisher and spiked him with a DDT. I truly thought Gargano had the match won when he Superkicked Dunne while his mouthpiece was left laying on the mat. Dunne soon recovered, landed a stiff elbow shot on Gargano and then proceeded to finish him with Bitter End. Dunne and his UK Championship reign shined once again during this bout.

Kassius Ohno vs. Johnny Gargano – NXT (Episode 424)

It feels so good to see the knockout artist formerly known as Chris Hero back in WWE. Ever since his return to NXT, Kassius Ohno has constantly competed in solid to great bouts against everyone he’s pitted against. When it came time to determine who’d be a part of the Fatal 4-Way match to determine the next NXT Championship contender, KO got a shock – he’d be facing Johnny Gargano. Ohno clocked Gargano with a bevy of Burning Elbow’s and big boots during the majority of this bout. Gargano may have faced a ton of punishment here, but he proved to be extra resilient while facing a larger opponent. Even after dealing with a bevy of vicious strikes from KO, Gargano recovered and laid in some big moves of his own. Gargano finally claimed victory after making KO submit to his patented Gargano Lock. These two indie wrestling greats showed the NXT faithful just how amazing their chemistry continued to be while competing in WWE’s developmental territory.

Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne – NXT (Episode 426)

THEY DID IT AGAIN! Triple H really needs to get that show dedicated to all the UK talent off the ground. If it features Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne every week, then count me all the way in! This match definitely closed out the year on a high note. These destined rivals even went as far as topping their encounter in Chicago. Dunne seemed to have upgraded his “Bruiserweight” style a bit during this bout as he pulled Bate’s nose several times and even suplexed Bate on the outside off the steel steps. Bate got the worst of Dunne’s offense, but he tapped into his well of Exploder Suplexes, knockout punches and Deadlift Powerbomb’s. After the big Airplane Spin spot, this match kicked into a higher gear. Bate and Dunne included elements from their previous matches and even threw in some things we’ve never seen before. At the end of it all, Bate and Dunne showed the wrestling world that they can repeat greatness.

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