5 Best Wrestling Matches Of 2017 So Far
What's the best wrestling match of 2017 so far? We managed to narrow it down to just five of our favourites.
From Flair vs. Steamboat to Michaels vs. Undertaker, the history of wrestling is replete with classic matches and it seems like there are an increasing amount each year. This is, like all sports, partially due to an increase in fitness and training but it can also be attributed to the revival of New Japan, the UK scene and independent wrestling.
This year there has been five star matches, for want of a better term, on an almost monthly basis and with the level of talent in most major promotions potential classics are always on the horizon. Here are the best of 2017 so far.
1=. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Title) – NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 11
1=. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega (IWGP Heavyweight Title) – NJPW Dominion
It’s a rare thing when, at the halfway point in the year, the two best matches involve the same wrestlers. The two Okada vs Omega matches are both incredible though, and are a step above anything else this year. The chemistry between the two is right up there with any great rivalry from wrestling history and choosing between their two matches seems somewhat redundant. I like to look at them as two parts of a larger story, one that will hopefully see it’s final chapter soon. I urge anyone who hasn’t seen these matches to search them out. You won’t be disappointed.
3. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (WWE UK Title) – NXT TakeOver: Chicago
Both Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne have had excellent years so far and their match against each other at NXT TakeOver: Chicago was the pinnacle of that. They had already met in an excellent match in the final of the UK Championship Tournament but this match raised the bar. The standard of wrestling was superb, the story they told in the ring was excellent and it had that x-factor that turns a great match into potential classic: a hot crowd. It’s everything that is good about wrestling.
4. Authors Of Pain vs. #DIY vs. The Revival (NXT Tag Titles, Elimination Match) – NXT TakeOver: Orlando
The fourth spot is taken up by another NXT match, this time from WrestleMania weekend. I know there are people who felt this match dropped off after #DIY were eliminated but personally I think that, in terms of story, it was the right call. It showed that, despite working incredibly hard to isolate the Authors of Pain, all it takes is one mistake and it’s over. It also garnered nuclear heat for the Authors of Pain, something that is increasingly hard to get in the modern era of wrestling. All in all a great match.
5. Kazuchika Okada vs Katsuyori Shibata (IWGP Heavyweight Title) – NJPW Sakura Genesis
Rounding out this list is a match that is equal parts triumph and tragedy. Katsuyori Shibata is a wrestler known for his hard hitting physical style, but on this night it would be his undoing. Most of Okada’s title defenses this year have seen him fighting back from increasingly precarious situations and that was definitely the case here, as Shibata punished him with strike after strike. The bad news was that one of those strikes was a sickening headbutt that could be heard clearly on the broadcast. It would later transpire that this headbutt had caused a subdural haematoma which would require surgery and in all likelihood be the end of Shibata’s career. It is obviously a terrible thing the injury happened, but unlike many wrestlers Shibata got to leave with the crowd chanting his name following a world class match.
This list will almost certainly be different come year’s end as New Japan’s G1 Climax Tournament always throws up a whole host of top class matches.