The Year That Was – Top Wrestlers of 2017: Part I
As the year draws to an end, we at Buzz Continuum take a look at some of the top performers from the world of professional wrestling. 2017 has been yet another great year for the business, with some of the best matches in ages having taken place this year. Therefore, it became very tough for us to choose the Top 10 performers of this year, as several made the cut with their accomplishments. So to narrow it down we looked at the general accomplishments of each wrestler for the year, the frequency and quality of matches they put up as well as their overall in-ring wrestling and on-mic capabilities. Having pondered over several nights we arrived at our Top 10 wrestlers of 2017 in time for the end of the year.
But before we get to that, let us have a look at 5 wrestlers who although not making the Top 10 list, deserve to be called out for their achievements this year.
‘The King of the Cruiserweights’ dominated the division for a majority of the year, brushing aside legit competition in the form of the veteran Austin Aries, multiple times. The champ also managed to fend off competition from the entire roster through the course of 2017. While Neville had quite a year, it ended on a very bitter note when he decided to walk away from the WWE soon after losing his title to Enzo Amore in late September. However this withstanding, Neville did manage to become a 2-time Cruiserweight Champion in the process bringing much-needed legitimacy to the belt. Recent rumors suggest that Neville could be in ‘positive talks’ with WWE management and we definitely hope we get to see the talented performer back in the ring soon.
The Miz (and Maryse/Miztourage)
2017 was another great year for the ‘Awesome One’. The Miz is one of those great heels who can sustain heat through long periods of time without much effort. With Maryse and the Miztourage in tow, The Miz was one of the best heels on screen this year. Having started the year by participating in multiple matches for the WWE Championship, The Miz and Maryse put up an extremely entertaining pre-Wrestlemania program for their (not so memorable) mixed tag match with John Cena and Nikki Bella. It was after this when he was drafted to Raw, when Miz started to shine again. Capturing the belt from Dean Ambrose in June is a very good feud, The Miz held onto the strap for the remainder of the year only losing to Roman Reigns in November ending his title reign of 169 days, and in the process becoming the third longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion in WWE history by combined days – a very commendable feat for the bankable star.
The Beast has been conspicuous by his absence onscreen for most of the year. He, however, has been at his best whenever he IS present. All-in-all Lesnar has had a total of five matches during the year (not counting the Royal Rumble match), all of which were highly entertaining. Lesnar managed to become the first person in history to defeat Goldberg cleanly, and the second person to kick out of Goldberg’s Jackhammer finishing move – capturing the Universal Championship in the process. He has since retained the title throughout the year, feuding prominently with Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman in the process. Lesnar also put up an amazing match with AJ Styles at Survivor Series in a ‘Champion vs Champion’ bout, which The Beast ended up winning.
Lesnar would have figured higher up on our list, if only he had featured more prominently in the ring during the year.
KO has had a mixed year of sorts, and yet he managed to make it to the honourable mentions section of our list, showing the high – caliber performer that he truly is. Starting the year as Universal Champion at the back end of a phenomenal program with Chris Jericho, KO had to drop the title to Goldberg for the Goldberg-Lesnar feud to take precedence. However, his subsequent feud with Y2J for the US title was entertaining as well, leading to his very first reign as US Champion. The following ‘New Face of America’ gimmick was met with mixed reactions, developing into a decent feud with AJ Styles, whom KO eventually dropped the title to. This was followed by a well-built anti-authority feud with Shane McMahon and an exciting match at Hell in a Cell. The program has only gained traction since, with Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan being added to the mix. All of this thrown in with two stints as US Champ through the course of the year gets KO a well-deserved place on our list.
Toni Storm has been one of the brightest and most talented revelations of the year for the business. Storm gained global attention as one of the participants in the inaugural WWE Mae Young Classic tournament. Impressing everyone with her in-ring ability, she went on to the semi-finals, losing out to eventual winner Kairi Sane. Storm was a part of two great matches in the tournament – the quarterfinal square off against the UK’s Piper Niven (aka Viper) and the semi-final bout against Sane. Apart from an impressive performance in her first outing with the WWE, Storm has been taking the indies by storm (quite literally) as well! At the young age of 22, Storm is currently the reigning World of Stardom and SWA World Champion as well as the reigning Progress Wrestling Women’s Champion. With age in her favour, Storm is set to be one to look out for in the future, a prospective star on whom the WWE and the rest of the world will keenly be keeping an eye on.