5. Roman Reigns
DA BIG DAWGGGG IS GONNA HUNT! Who else loves Michael Cole? *crickets* Ok then…Anyway, let’s talk about another Samoan Joe. So I was out on WWE from about 2010 to SummerSlam 2016. So, I missed Roman being shoved down our throats as the second coming of John Cena. So, from the week after SummerSlam 2016, I was taking Roman at face value and I thought he was great. I still do. His performance in the ring is undeniable. He has a great look. And he flat out gets it. He knows how to be a WWE Superstar. I respect that. He started off the year in the hunt for the Universal Championship. He lost the match at the Royal Rumble to Kevin Owens and a bunch of cheers. He then entered 30th in the Royal Rumble and lost that as well…to a bunch of cheers. He would then be the most hated man in WWE after defeating the Undertaker at WrestleMania 33, seemingly retiring the Deadman. One of the best promos of the year saw Reigns say 5 words in the middle of the ring on RAW after WrestleMania…”It’s my yard, now.” Reigns would go on to continue a great feud with Braun Strowman, putting on beautiful slugfest after beautiful slugfest with the Monster Among Men. From the previous entries, I think you get it from here. He would lose the five way at Extreme Rules, lose the four way at SummerSlam, and reunite with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose before he got a bad case of the mumps. After clearing that up, he won the Intercontinental Championship. It’s hard to argue against Reigns at this point. You can hate him for his booking, but it’s hard to hate him as a performer. He can put on a great match, he can take the fall, he’ll do whatever he needs to put on a good show. For the love of God, give the guy a break. He’s put on great matches for you all year and will continue to do so in 2018. He at least deserves his due respect. Also, I don’t wanna hear it about his music being no different from the Shield’s. Firstly, it is (octave’s, bro). Secondly, that song is too badass to not be a mainstay song, even after the Shield’s breakup.
4. Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss began the year as Smackdown Live! Women’s Champion and ended the year as RAW Women’s Champion, becoming the first woman to win both titles. Along the way, she would lose the Smackdown Live! Women’s Championship to Naomi on two separate occasions before making the jump to RAW. She would quickly work her way up the ranks and earn a title shot against Bayley at Payback, which Bliss won. Bliss would hold onto the belt until SummerSlam where she lost to Sasha Banks, but would quickly reclaim her championship…poor Sasha can’t hold onto a belt can she? She has been champion ever since and is on a crash course with Asuka and/or Absolution. She also had a great match with Charlotte at Survivor Series which pitted the best all-around female sports entertainers against one another. We all know she has a great pedigree and a bright future, but I don’t think enough can be said about her growth as a performer. Her in-ring skill has improved drastically, her promos and facial expressions are great, and she is a heel champion in the mold of Charlotte in that it will seem like a big deal when she is dethroned. Little Miss Bliss is great and if you’re not a fan, you should be.
3. The Usos
The Usos are the best Tag Team in the world. Fight me. To begin the year, the Usos turned heel, drew on their childhood and brought to us the Day One Ish gimmick which has been straight fire since the pair debuted it. If they haven’t been Smackdown Live! Tag Team Champions this year, they were always in the picture. With this entry, the championship wins don’t matter as much as the absolute BANGERS of matches this duo has put on all year. The feud with the New Day might be Feud of the Year for me. The feud lasted the better part of the spring and summer and it was perfect. Every match they had built off of the previous one. If the last one had a bad finish, the next was false finish city. If the last one was stiff, the next had a bunch of high spots. They were truly dedicated to their craft and proving that they were the best in the world. Also, hats off to the New Day because it takes five to tango. But the Usos proved that they don’t need their real-life friends in the New Day to have great chemistry as they had a FANTASTIC match with The Bar at Survivor Series. The Usos have now entered a tweener role, leaning more towards the face side after showing the New Day respect on TV after their awesome Hell in a Cell Match. Be it Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin, Rusev and Aiden English, or the New Day again, the twins will continue to prove themselves as the best tag team in the world. Also, their entrance music is FIRE!
2. Braun Strowman
So close. Braun was so close to being #1. I actually think Braun is #1, but my own criteria worked against me here. Regardless, Braun is THE MOST OVER SUPERSTAR ON THE ROSTER. If you don’t believe me, go to a house show, RAW, or PPV, and listen to the insane pop he gets when his music hits. It’s absolutely deafening. IT’S AWESOME! Braun had a great feud with Roman Reigns, and he’s never publicly said he’s finished with him so who knows what the future holds there. He made a badass entrance coming out of the back of an ambulance after Roman Reigns almost killed him (ya know, that whole driving an ambulance with Strowman in the back full speed in reverse into a Semi). He then made a similar entrance after Kane dumped him into a garbage truck at TLC, emerging from a different garbage truck in a different city to stalk and destroy Miz and the Miztourage (MAGIC!). Strowman is like a young Big Show if Big Show just ran around obliterating people in his younger days. Strowman showed this year that he is an athletic freak and is the first big man to instill universal fear into the locker room since Kane debuted. In the name of all that is good, please, WWE, give Strowman a title run. He has deserved it. And he will draw…I promise you.
1. AJ Styles
Started the year as WWE Champion, ended the year as WWE Champion. AJ Styles continues to be the best wrestler on the planet (you can also fight me about that all you NJPW NEEEEEEERRRRRRRDDDDDDSSSS). Styles started the year off having the second-best match of the year in a losing effort to John Cena at the Royal Rumble (despite what I just said, Omega vs. Okada II is Match of the Year). He then went on to put in a great showing in the Elimination Chamber Match, defeat Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 33 in a match that shouldn’t have been as good as it was (give you 3 guesses to say why), feuded with Kevin Owens over the US title, had an incredible short notice match at TLC with Finn Balor, won back the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal, liberating us from the reign of the Modern Day Maharaja, and had a dream match with Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. Styles bumps like a crazy person, has an incredible moveset, and has that IT factor which makes him the best wrestler on Planet Earth. Probably Mars too. Think about every dream match you want to see with Superstars in today’s WWE. Now how many of those involve AJ Styles? If it’s less than 50% then, I hate to break it to you, but you’re delusional. If things go the way we want them too, we’ll get the dream match of dream matches at WrestleMania with Styles facing off against Shinsuke Nakamura in a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom 10, with the top prize in professional wrestling on the line. One can only hope.
There you have it. The Top 20 WWE Wrestlers of 2017. I know I don’t even have to say it, but please let us know what you think in the comments. I’m gonna go have a Steve Austin sized beer binge because this was a super difficult blog to write. Have mercy.