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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - These are the Seven Best Segments of 2017 (+ Clash of Champions Predictions)
By Super Chrisss
Dec 16, 2017 - 1:15:22 PM

Tom Jenner rocks!

I told you I’d be back sooner than later, didn’t I? Not only did I keep my promise, but I also have a double-feature for you good folks today. In addition to looking back at the best – in my opinion – promos/segments of the year, I’m also going to quickly give my Clash of Champions predictions at the end. Like the majority of the IWC, I have little interest or excitement in tomorrow night’s card, other than praying that Vince isn’t crazy enough to put the WWE Championship back on Jinder Mahal. Then again, this is the same man who is rumored to be possibly bringing back the XFL (LOL), so you can never be too sure. Speaking of the old man, he makes an appearance on today’s countdown as we look back at the best segments of 2017.

7. AJ Styles assaults Shane McMahon backstage, setting up a match between the two at WrestleMania 33

Many people aren’t too happy about it, but 2017 was a busy year for The Boss’s legitimate son. An underappreciated one, if you ask me. Shane was the special guest referee at SummerSlam for the best match in the disappointing AJ/Kevin Owens trilogy, had a great – and memorable - match with KO at Hell in a Cell, and for the first time in his career, was the last man standing for his team at Survivor Series. Prior to all that, Shane was involved in what turned out to be a very good feud with AJ that resulted in arguably a show-stealing curtain-jerker at this year’s WrestleMania.

That all kicked off with Styles, frustrated after being more or less screwed out of a WWE title match at ‘Mania, decided to ambush Shane backstage and make The Billionaire’s son pay for the on-screen booking of The Phenomenal One. It was a vicious assault that highlighted a mean streak from Styles that he had never really exposed, not even when he feuded with James Ellsworth around this time last year. I enjoyed the brawl a lot more than I thought I would, especially since I was formally in the camp of “AJ vs. Shane at Mania? Really?”. Both guys did a great job with what they were given and exceeded all expectations come WM33.

6. Randy Orton betrays Bray Wyatt by burning down the Wyatt Compound and Sister Abigail’s remains

This is probably a controversial pick, especially based on the beyond-lackluster feud and matches that followed, but if we could go back in time for a second, let’s not pretend that this segment didn’t have people talking. Some people liked it, some people hated it – others had no idea what to make of it. I for one really enjoyed it, but my love for the horror movie genre could have something to do with that. Nevertheless, I prefer to remember this segment in a good light, as it opened the door for Wyatt vs. Orton to be something unique and main-event worthy (before they ruined it with terrible booking and build-up in the weeks that followed). Consider it like a wedding before a terrible marriage that followed: so much potential, so much fun, but everything went downhill in a hurry.

Anyway, I thought it was really cool how they filmed the segment, with the camera being shaky and all the visuals. It was a much more unique way of Orton finally turning on Wyatt than The Viper formulaically hitting his leader with an RKO Outta Nowhere. WWE got creative with this segment, and I appreciated that. I also really enjoyed the ending, with Orton doing his signature pose while the compound burst into flames (many amazing memes were also created from that image, by the way). It was wacky, it was different, and it got people talking. It’s just a damn shame their feud and matches were complete ass.

5. Brock Lesnar beats up Universal Champion Goldberg and leaves him laying

There were very few people who were more critical of the Lesnar/Goldberg feud than yours truly. I HATED Brock’s squash loss to Bill at Survivor Series 2016 – I still do, truthfully – and was as excited at the prospect of Lesnar vs. Goldberg at WM33 as I currently am for Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns at WM34. After all, the two of them had a shit match when they were thirteen years younger - what made Vince & co. think they could do better after a lot more time and way, WAY more ring rust?

But then something happened. Goldberg beat/squashed Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship at Fast Lane – another decision I still don’t agree with - and not only was Goldberg surely on track for a WM33 match with Lesnar, but the two would be fighting over Raw’s world title. Therefore, I tuned into Raw the next night with a feeling of dread, and thanks to my PVR making early 2017 Raw watchable, and watched The Beast’s confrontation with Goldberg with very low expectations. Instead, their segment – and later, their match at WM – blew me away. Goldberg looked good and credible with the title, Paul Heyman was on point with his promo, and Brock finally got the upper-hand on his nemesis. However, the cherry on top were the segment’s final moments: as Lesnar and Heyman exited the ring, proud of what they accomplished, a fallen Goldberg weakly reached out and clenched his Universal title to his chest, as if it was the most precious thing in the world to him. That little touch right there convinced me that Goldberg vs. Lesnar at WM might not be that bad after all.

Lo and behold, I was right – the two of them put on the most entertaining, sub-ten-minute title match in recent memory. Kudos to everyone involved – including the writers – for making me care about Goldberg vs. Lesnar in one night after months of apathy.

4. Kevin Owens beats up Vince McMahon and makes him bleed on live television

My viewing habits of SmackDown Live under the Jinder Mahal era were very limited, but I am glad I tuned in the night Vince McMahon was advertised to return to the blue brand to confront Kevin Owens. I – along with many - simply thought Vinnie Mac would show up, announce KO vs. Shane at Hell in a Cell, and bounce, with “No Chance” playing in the background. I did not expect Vince to offer his body as a sacrificial lamb in getting KO over as a top-level heel (not that KO needed it, but the show’s structure was all out of wack due to Jinder being WWE Champion and AJ Styles the United States Champion).

KO, however, went much further than other superstars who have interacted with Vince the past few years ever did. While guys like Roman Reigns and CM Punk got in a shot on the boss and then exited the ring to end the segment, KO went as far as making The Chairman bleed and even forcing Vince to be stretchered out of the arena. That’s a big deal for KO. How many wrestlers – past and present – can brag about beating up The Boss in such violent fashion? The attack was shocking, extreme and instantly made the KO vs. Shane feud must-see. Their match at Hell in a Cell gained a lot of momentum because of this segment; if the angle had concluded by now or was still as hot in December 2017 as it was in October, KO’s merciless beatdown probably would have made the top three. Instead, it’s on the outside looking in because the writing for SmackDown is so, so bad.

3. Seth Rollins invades NXT TakeOver: San Antonio; calls out Triple H

Hey, look, another segment that got me excited for this year’s WrestleMania! I honestly believe this moment – much like many that happen in the first quarter of the year – is somewhat forgotten because of what I call “distant memory syndrome”. Basically, unless something crazy or truly awesome happens between January and mid-March (Styles vs. Cena at the Royal Rumble, for example), most people tend to overlook this period of time when reflecting on the past year. The same thing happens when local radio stations countdown the biggest songs of the year; often, you’ll hear songs on the list you once loved – or hated - but completely forgot about because it came out nearly a year ago. Therefore, it’s perfectly understandable if Seth Rollins showing up to NXT last January before the main-event, shouting, “This show’s called ‘TakeOver’, right? Well, I’m taking this bitch over!” escaped your memory.

That’s why it’s my job to remind you how awesome that moment was. The Rollins/Triple H feud had been all but irrelevant prior to that week, when Rollins all but ‘forgot’ about HHH screwing The Architect out of the Universal Championship back in September 2016. It took the writers almost five months to bring it up again, but when they did, they brought it up with an exclamation mark. Rollins invading an NXT event to confront The Game – who has made no secret of being the mind behind the brand – was brilliant and unexpected. The segment, albeit short, contained a key ingredient to professional wrestling’s success – an element of realism. The days of main roster stars going down to NXT were a distant memory; it felt like Rollins had no choice but to resort to breaking the kayfabe rules by going to HHH’s home turf. In other words, it didn’t feel like Seth Rollins challenging Triple H to a fight: it came across as Tyler Black invading Paul Levesque’s personal territory. It was incredible, and so was their WM33 match.

2. After weeks of tension, Dean Ambrose finally forgives Seth Rollins and the two fist-bump in the middle of the ring

It was a tight race between this feel-good moment and its competition for the top spot, but I placed this one at number two mainly due to the difference in rewatchability. While I’m sure some people feel otherwise, I personally don’t think this holds up on repeat viewings as well as my decision for the year’s best moment.

All that to say…this was still an incredible moment for two guys who spent the better part of three years hating and fighting with each other. Three years in the world of pro wrestling is a very long time, folks. Think about all the Pay-Per-Views, all the feuds, all the face and heel turns that take place during that time period. For two wrestlers to practically never falter in how much they despise each other – it’s quite a remarkable feat. Therefore, the prospect of Dean and Seth finally mending a bridge that was not only broken, but burned down to the ground (pun sort of intended), was a big deal and treated as such. It is not uncommon in today’s wrestling environment for two wrestlers to spend half a year feuding with year only to wind up as partners in the main-event of Raw or SmackDown just because one of them became villainous or heroic. To the best of my knowledge, that never happened with Ambrose and Rollins: excluding a live event or something, I really don’t think the two of them ever competed on the same side in any type of match.

That’s why the idea of Ambrose and Rollins finally reconciling seemed so special. Both had gone down very different paths in their career and it was borderline unimaginable for the two of them to team up again. The fans wanted it, Seth wanted it, but did Dean want it? That was the question. Finally, after weeks of swerves and ups and downs, Dean finally gave in and the two of them extended their fists at exactly the same moment. It was magical; the crowd was reacting as if they had just witnessed Daniel Bryan return from retirement and regain the WWE Championship. We knew what we were seeing, but we didn’t believe it. They followed that up by having one of the best tag team matches of the year and capturing the Raw tag team titles at SummerSlam. Mind you, the reunion of the entire Shield didn’t come close to being as epic as that fist-bump was, but that’s a story for another day.

1. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens co-star in ‘The Festival of Friendship’

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. If you rewatch this year’s Royal Rumble Pay-Per-View to help remind you of some of the year’s best matches, you’ll also see this pair on your screen: the former best friends known as Jeri-KO, also known as the duo that carried the Raw brand for the majority of September through February. Jericho and Owens were such an amazing team; they complimented each other magnificently, they were hilarious, and you never wanted to see them split up.

But, alas, they did go their separate ways - in the most entertaining, heart wrenching manner possible. On a random edition of Monday Night Raw – weeks before Goldberg challenged Kevin Owens for the Universal Championship at Fast Lane – Jericho decided to debut a segment called ‘The Festival of Friendship’. No one saw the turn from Owens coming, mainly because KO needed Jericho more than ever before in a few weeks, when he faced the greatest threat of his title reign in Goldberg at the upcoming PPV. Yet, Owens did in fact turn his back on his best friend, and in dramatic fashion. After plenty of shenanigans ensued, including the re-debut of Gillberg and putting ‘Friendship the Magician’ on The List of Jericho, Owens decided to repay his best friend with a gift of his own: a brand-new list. There was only one problem, though: when Jericho examined the new list, he saw a familiar name on it, and in a tone that resembled a young child finding out that his puppy was not coming home, Jericho wondered, “Why is my name on this”?, to which KO responded by brutally attacking his former best friend.

Although this was by the far the longest segment on this countdown, it was also the best. Sometimes, quantity does equal quality (unlike poor Alexa Bliss and her ‘Bayley: This Is Your Life’ segment). There was so much emotion involved and the segment even included some Easter eggs (the final name to be put on Jericho’s list was ‘FRIENDSHIP’). They followed The Festival of Friendship up with two stellar matches, one at WM33 and another at Backlash (fuck Vince McMahon’s opinion on their WM match). While KO vs. Jericho may not have been the best feud or storyline of the year (Dean & Seth probably deserve that accolade), The Festival of Friendship was arguably the strongest and most entertaining segment, one that I look forward to revisiting often over the years.

Honourable mentions:

-Braun Strowman tips over an ambulance with Roman Reigns inside
-The Miz & Maryse parody Total Bellas
-Big Cass is revealed as Enzo Amore’s mystery attacker


Clash of Champions Predictions:

-Mojo Rawley over Zack Ryder (unfortunately)

-The Bludgeon Brothers demolish Breezango

-Rusev Day to capture the SmackDown tag team titles

-Charlotte Flair retains her SmackDown women's championship; Carmella cashes in her Money in the bank briefcase after the Riott Squad attacks post-match

-Baron Corbin retains his United States Championship by pinning Dolph Ziggler (Corbin's feud with Bobby Roode continues)

-Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defeat Shinsuke Nakamura & Randy Orton (thanks to help from Daniel Bryan, which is a really dumb idea, by the way)

-AJ Styles retains his WWE Championship over Jinder Mahal (and sends Mahal back to jobberland where he belongs)


YOUR Two Centsss: What would you say was the best WWE segment of 2017? Did I exclude any memorable ones?

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