Match Of The Year
ZAH: MOTY is tough for me because I’ve seen a LOT of great matches in 2017, but there isn’t one that truly stands above the rest. I know most people are gonna choose something between Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada, but they had multiple matches that were phenomenal and I don’t know if I can pick just one.
This is going to sound absolutely insane… but my MOTY for 2017 is Big Show vs. Braun Strowman inside of a steel cage from RAW on September 4th. Why? Quite frankly, this cage match had such an old-school feel to it that it really gave me flashbacks as to why I was a wrestling fan in the first place. Add to that the incredible (a) athleticism displayed by both (!!) men, (b) the no-nonsense hard-hitting style that both brought to the match, and (c) the way the live crowd was popping for everything near the end of the match says everything you need to know.
To have two of the largest men in the business put on a cage match without blood that was so well-done that the WWE Universe was standing on their feet means that they did something extremely well. And honestly, out of all of the matches in 2017, this one really stuck out to me the most. Let the flaming begin…
Mike Rickard: John Cena vs. AJ Styles (Royal Rumble). AJ Styles can carry anyone to an excellent match, but he had a good opponent in John Cena. Their Royal Rumble match was well-booked with Cena looking to tie Ric Flair’s 16 world championships record. Excellent match with a great finish of Cena making sure Styles got the message he’s more than a part-timer (even if he is).
Adam Zimmerman: Brock Lesnar vs Samoa Joe. It's always exciting when Lesnar has a match because you never know what might happen (like, when he split Randy Orton's forehead open with an elbow). Granted, his opponents probably won't ever try to take liberties with him because 9 times outta 10... okay, probably 10 times outta 10, he would destroy them. I've seen him fight, though, and he can get a little crazy. You never know what he might do. Samoa Joe had the "believability" here to pull off an excellent match. Definite match of the year.
The Big Rybowski: Usually the choice for match of the year is swayed by recency bias, but not this year. I remember watching John Cena vs. AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble and thinking “this match will be hard to top for match of the year”. Turns out they set the bar so high that it was never reached.
A great match with non-stop, back and forth action. Lots of near falls and false finishes. The crowd was fully invested (the biggest pop coming from Styles kicking out of an AA off the top rope). Cena ends up winning with his hundredth Attitude Adjustment.
Canadian Bulldog: Every time we've done these awards (both here and for other sites), my Match Of The Year has defaulted to WWE. It's not that New Japan and other groups haven't presented incredible matches, but they seemed to be missing something. But the "six star match" featuring Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom was everything you could ever want in a MOTY candidate and then some. Let's face it - when a match goes 45 minutes and you're still left wanting more... you know you've seen something very special.