I'm Back And Better Than Ever!
So yes after a little hiatus, I'm back posting here in MWC and what better way to return than to recap the biggest happenings in the world of professional wrestling for each month in 2017!
Quite an eventful year we had indeed, across promotions around the world from WWE, NJPW, ROH, and more we've seen new champions crowned,amazing matches,crazy shenanigans,and unforgettable moments among others!
Without further ado, let's just get straight to business!
Kazuchika Okada vs Kenny Omega = Wrestle Kingdom 11
After winning the 26th annual G1 Climax, Kenny Omega faced Kazuchika Okada at Wrestle Kingdom 11 for the prestigious IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Although he failed on beating the champ, those 46 minutes of action changed the careers of both men forever and some even classified this match of them as the greatest pro wrestling match of all time!
It was the beginning of what would become a trilogy of great matches between The Rainmaker and The Cleaner.
Tyler Bate Becomes Inaugural WWE UK Champion
The WWE announced a UK Tournament and the winner shall be crowned the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion! That honor went to then 19 year old: Tyler Bate and he has certainly made a name for himself this year as one of the best wrestlers in the world.
Jimmy Snuka Passed Away
"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka has been one of the most controversial figures in wrestling. On one hand he was a beloved wrestling legend and innovated in the high flying style but on the other side of things, he was suspected of murdering an ex-girlfriend of his, a case that was revived around in 2016 and continued to haunt Snuka until the day he passed on January 15.
Bray Wyatt Wins The WWE Championship
I've always been a fan of Bray Wyatt ever since his resurgence on NXT forming "The Wyatt Family" but it hasn't been easy for him, taking multiple losses from various wrestlers. But it seemed like at February on Elimination Chamber, the tables have turned as he became WWE Champion!
He pinned both John Cena and AJ Styles CLEAN to win the biggest prize in wrestling! At the time, Cena also broke Ric Flair's record of 16 World Title Reigns which made Wyatt's victory even more significant. Unfortunately though, after the events of WrestleMania 33 this reign is mainly forgotten by most fans already for Wyatt is back to being the loser that he is being treated. Ain't that a shame.
Naito def. Elgin = IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Naito as the IC Champion has been one of the most enjoyable title reigns I've ever witnessed. Him not giving a single fuck about the belt is both hilarious and great, especially if you know his story! Throwing the belt around to the point of it being destroyed. Some might say it's a disrespectful act, to them I say "TRANQUILO!"
Katsuyori Shibata Wins New Japan Cup
Ever since his return to NJPW, Katsuyori Shibata has proven that he can hang with the big stars and become a recognized wrestler on his own! His momentum even rose some more when he won the 2017 New Japan Cup beating Bad Luck Fale in the finals. He would then go on to challenge Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Title in April, which we would get more on to later.
Goldberg def. Kevin Owens = Universal Championship
After beating Brock Lesnar in mere seconds clean at Survivor Series, the returning Goldberg continued his path of victories by beating Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship at FastLane! Who would've thought Goldberg would ever win a championship in 2017?!
Christopher Daniels def. Adam Cole = ROH World Championship
It was the end of an era for Adam Cole as he got defeated by Christopher Daniels for the ROH World Title at the promotion's 15th Anniversary Show. Afterwards the former Bullet Club member would head his way to the WWE and make some impact there.
Diamante Azul def. Pierroth = Mask vs Mask
A luchador losing his mask is always a big deal, especially if it concerns veterans such as Pierroth. Pierroth has been one of the most notable stars for CMLL in the past decade. His time as a masked wrestler though came to an end at the March 17th show of the company where he loss to Diamante Azul.
The Undertaker Retires
April is certainly filled with some crazy wrestling events but most notably it seemed like we just saw the last of The Undertaker ever competing inside the squared circle! Of course we can never say never but this seemed like it was the official retirement as Taker would break character a few times after his match with Roman Reigns. Tears were certainly poured during the conclusion of WrestleMania 33 for The Deadman.
All we await now is his induction into the Hall of Fame.
Hardy Boyz Returns at WrestleMania 33
Another one for Mania 33 we saw The Hardy Boyz make their return in the RAW Tag-Team Title match and winning the belts in the process too! It was certainly one of the greatest returns ever and unexpected for some too as just days before Mania, they wrestled The Young Bucks for the ROH World Tag-Team Championships!
Okada def. Shibata = IWGP Heavyweight Championship
On NJPW Sakura Genesis we saw another potential final match this time for Katsuyori Shibata. He went out on a great match though as him and Okada delivered one of the greatest matches of their respective careers! After years of injuries, Shibata's body gave up on him but through his fighting spirit was able to survive and made a return appearance at the G1 Climax. A heartfelt moment for sure.
Jinder Mahal Becomes WWE Champion!
"Anything Can Happen in the WWE" and boy isn't that the case when Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton for the WWE Championship in Backlash! WWE attempted to cash in on the Indian market by making Jinder THE Champion but now that hindsight is 20/20, we all know it was a colossal failure. I went it on the Jinder title reign with an optimistic view, thinking he would prove the doubters wrong but nope, his reign was shit.
If Goldberg winning a title in 2017 is unbelievable, then this is even more as who would ever thought the former 3MB member would ever win the biggest championship in wrestling?!
Ciampa Betrays Gargano
#DIY is my favorite tag-team of today ever since they were formed, but sadly as they say nothing lasts forever and the same goes for friendships. After suffering defeat from the Authors of Pain at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Tommaso Ciampa betrayed his "best friend" Johnny Gargano by attacking him post match! It was a turn that nobody really saw coming, but the feud has been set aside for now with Ciampa being legit injured.
Pete Dunne def. Tyler Bate = WWE UK Championship
Back at NXT TakeOver: Chicago again and we just witnessed in my opinion the greatest WWE match of 2017 as Pete Dunne defeated Tyler Bate to become the new WWE UK Champion! Every second of this match got me glued on my monitor, just what an amazing sequence of action for such young talents! Can't put it over enough, just watch it if you haven't yet!
Billy Corgan Buys The NWA
After a failed experiment with TNA/IMPACT, Billy Corgan still continued his wrestling pursuits this time buying the historic National Wrestling Alliance. It's a slow run to the top of the hill, but the NWA is certainly gaining more attention nowadays in comparison to the last five years.
Cody def. Christopher Daniels = ROH World Championship
The American Nightmare Era began for ROH at "Best in the World" when Cody defeated Christopher Daniels and became the ROH World Champion! Some hate it, while some love it, but me personally I enjoyed Cody's run as ROH Champion and he certainly kept the belt relevant in his entire run!
Okada vs Omega II = Time Limit Draw
At this year's NJPW Dominion we witnessed another classic bout between Okada and Omega for the IWGP Title, this time ending in a time limit draw! Fans and wrestlers alike are saying it was even better than their first outing! Me personally, I think the prequel was better but we all got different opinions.
Baron Corbin & Carmella Winning MITB's
For WWE, this year's Money in the Bank is memorable both in a good and bad way. We got the first ever Ms. MITB in Carmella, she is still yet to cash in at the writing of this post. As for Mr. MITB, Baron Corbin joins the "elite members" of failed cash ins as he was unsuccessful on doing so. We got an AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura faceoff in the MITB match itself though so that was a good one!
Braun Strowman def. Roman Reigns = Ambulance Match
In my opinion the most improved wrestler of the year goes none other than to Braun Strowman! He is one of the few shining gems in what is a dull WWE programming right now! Sure he may not be the most technically sound wrestler, but Braun doesn't have to be as he is charismatic enough to be entertaining! His best match of the year in my opinion is the Ambulance Match against Roman Reigns which happened at Great Balls of Fire, of all PPVs!
Kenny Omega The Inaugural IWGP US Champion
NJPW held their first ever events in the US entitled "G1 Special in USA" with it was also a tournament to crown the inaugural IWGP United States Champion. As we know the belt was won by Kenny Omega, beating Tomohiro Ishii in the finals in what was another instant classic from both great wrestlers!
Austin Aries Leaves WWE
Certainly a surprise to many, Austin Aries after a fairly short stint with the WWE has left the company. He wasn't happy with the way his career is going and after unsuccessful attempts at the Cruiserweight title, A Double now goes back to the indies. In fact he is the current Defiant Wrestling Champion (fka WCPW.)
Alberto El Patron def. Lashley = Unified Global Championships
Another prominent name for 2017 is good ol' Alberto El Patron. At IMPACT's Slammiversary event this year, El Patron was given the honor of beating Bobby Lashley to unify the GFW & IMPACT World Titles. But not so long after being crowned the champion, he was stripped off the belt and was suspended by the company after allegations of sexual abuse from his then girlfriend Paige came up. However, he has since returned with the company because LOLTNA!
Tetsuya Naito Wins The G1 Climax
This is year was my first time watching the NJPW G1 Climax at it's full and boy was I in for a treat! Every match was great from top to bottom! From the hard grueling matches of Omega and Tanahashi, to even the comedy matches of Yano, not a single second did I feel was wasted. But the man that shined throughout the whole tournament is the leader of LIJ: Tetsuya Naito! Naito has proven that he is indeed ready to take the top spot at NJPW and after a wonderful performance at the G1 Climax, I can't wait for his match against Okada at the Dome!
Drew McIntyre def. Bobby Roode = NXT Championship
Drew McIntyre has made his return to the WWE this year at NXT. After a successful run in the independent circuit, he was quickly shot at the main event and beating Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship at TakeOver Brooklyn III. After winning the match though, he was attacked by the debuting Adam Cole with his new goons: Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish!
Eddie Edwards Wins GHC Heavyweight Championship
At NOAH Summer Navigation, history was made by Eddie Edwards when he defeated Katsuhiko Nakajima for the prestigious GHC Heavyweight Championship! Edwards is the first gaijin wrestler to ever hold the belt, the same title held by legends such as Misawa,Kobashi,Taue,Takayama,among many others!
Psycho Clown def. Dr. Wagner Jr. = Mask vs Mask
Another history making event was at this year's AAA's TripleMania. While the event itself is shrouded with controversy, the main event showcased an unforgettable bout for lucha fans as the legendary Dr. Wagner Jr. loss in a mask vs mask against Psycho Clown, for the first time ever Wagner's face was shown for the world to see.
Bobby Heenan Passed Away
A sad one for September, we loss the great Bobby Heenan. The Brain will always be remembered by many wrestling fans, especially those who grew up watching and listening to him. As JR said Heenan is the greatest entertainer in all of wrestling as he did it all: wrestle,manage, and commentate. Truly a once in a lifetime talent.
Kairi Sane Wins Inaugural Mae Young Classic
Cashing in on the success of the CWC, we got the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament compromising of many of the great women's wrestlers around the world. While not as good as it's predecessor, WWE still did a decent job with the presentation (maybe not so much with the commentary) and everyone is satisfied with the winner being Joshi sensation: Kairi Sane! She defeated Shayna Baszler in the finals.
Terry Funk Out Of Retirement... Again!
Last year at Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore, Terry Funk announced that he will be retiring for good in wrestling. But this is Terry Freaking Funk were talking about, retirement is pretty much non-existant in his vocabulary! Terry made his return to the ring at the age of 73 yrs. old for Big Time Wrestling in a 6 Man Tag-Team Match where he teamed up with the Rock N'Roll Express against his nemesis Jerry Lawler,Brian Christopher, and Doug Gilbert. Funk's team won via DQ.
Kurt Angle Teams Up With The Shield
This year Kurt Angle made his return to the WWE by being inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame, he also became RAW's GM after Foley's departure. The Gold Medalist made his official in-ring return, replacing an injured Roman Reigns teaming up with Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins beating Miz,Kane,Strowman,Cesaro,& Sheamus at TLC. He even had his own SHIELD-inspired gear on, oh it's true!
Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon = Hell in a Cell
One of my favorite feuds of WWE this year has been Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon. That segment alone with KO & Vince sold me in! Then their crazy HIAC match happened with a shocking Sami Zayn heel turn being the cherry on top! The feud is still ongoing and is going to be one of the main highlights for next year's Mania.
Neville Leaves WWE & More Releases
More departures for WWE at the month of October, biggest one of them all is Neville. Which is actually quite an odd situation, after losing the Cruiserweight title to Enzo Amore, Neville pulled a "CM Punk" on the WWE if you will, apparently his contract is still up and the higher ups aren't planning to end it yet anytime soon. As for other releases: Emma,Summer Rae, and Darren Young are now gone with the company.
Lance Russell Passed Away
The voice of Memphis Wrestling, Lance Russel passed away at the age of 91. Some considered him as the greatest wrestling commentator of all time.
Chris Jericho Returns in NJPW!
Y2J never stops on shocking the world and making an impact as at NJPW Power Struggle a vignette was aired of his challenging Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12! The commentary team and the crowd itself told it all, I'm both shocked and hyped when this happened and can't be anymore excited for the eventual face-off of "Alpha vs Omega."
AJ Styles def. Jinder Mahal = WWE Championship
For a staggering 170 days Jinder Mahal reigned as the WWE Champion! That's longer than the title reigns of Daniel Bryan,Mick Foley,and Edge just to name a few. The suffering finally ended though at the Manchester episode of SmackDown where AJ Styles put an end to the Maharaja failed experiment!
Undisputed Era Wins War Games
The return of the War Games match also made some headlines this year and the match itself delivered and in my opinion is the best gimmick match in WWE this year! Props to all 9 men for giving us a fantastic main event. The Undisputed Era of Cole,O'Reilly,and Fish continue their domination though by winning said match. Dusty would be proud!
Jay White is Switchblade
After many months of hype via vignettes, at Power Struggle Switchblade is finally revealed to be former Young Lion: Jay White! Returning from his successful excursion in the US, White is immediately put up on a pedestal by getting a match against Hiroshi Tanahashi at WK 12 for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship!
Matt Hardy is WOKEN!
We never thought it would see a light of day in the WWE, but the WOKEN (fka Broken) gimmick has finally entered the soul of Matt Hardy! It may be just vignettes as of the writing of this post, but they surely have been an entertaining part of the WWE and I'm very happy for Matt to finally get the chance to showcase this character he worked hard for all this time.
Dalton Castle def. Cody = ROH World Championship
Cody's run as ROH World Champion ended at the hands of Dalton Castle when the latter defeated him at Final Battle. It's a pretty great moment for Dalton and he's certainly deserving for this title win as he has been one of the most popular acts in ROH that isn't involved in the Bullet Club. Good for him and The Boys!
Paige Returns in WWE
Last but not the least we got Paige making her return to the WWE. I've always been a fan of her's and after all the controversy she's been through, I'm just happy to see her back in a wrestling ring again! She made her return with two NXT rookies: Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville, both she coached at Tough Enough. On the SD side of things, a similar faction of threesome women made their debut: Ruby Riott,Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. So far Paige has had quite an underwhelming return but I wish nothing but success for her from here on out.
Nick Aldis def. Tim Storm = NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Another notable title change this year actually took place in CZW of all promotions when Nick Aldis (fka Magnus) dethroned the 414 day reigning Tim Storm for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
So that's it for the recap of major happenings in the world of professional wrestling this year! Feel free to let me know in the comments below if I missed anything else.
If you haven't yet, check out my Top 100 Greatest Wrestlers list! And spread the word around too about MWC, I'm planning more stuff for the site soon.
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