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Posted in: Requesting Flyby
REQUESTING FLYBY: The Mid Year WWE Match Of The Year Round Up (Part 2: May to July)
By Maverick
Jul 26, 2017 - 4:37:33 PM

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The Mid Year WWE Match Of The Year Round Up (Part 2: May to July)

Welcome back to this run down of the best WWE has had to offer in 2017 thus far! You’ll notice the Punjabi Prison didn’t make the cut...funny that. If you haven’t checked out part one yet, go back and read that first. Go on, I’ll wait...Ok then! May to July was perhaps less fruitful than the first part of the half year, but there were still some excellent bouts to choose from. As with the previous installment, this is in chronological order, as ranking things endlessly has somehow or other become my latest pet peeve in wrestling. To business!

Pete Dunne defeated Trent Seven by pinfall in 15:55 in a number one contenders match to the WWE United Kingdom Championship, the WWE United Kingdom Championship Special, May 7th, 2017

It may not have got the exposure and hype that the next match on this list got, but in many ways I actually prefer it. The Bruiserweight’s rich history with Trent Seven fed into this match a treat, with a pre-match assault on Seven’s arm, Owen Hart style, forming the backbone of the story. The intense, psychological beginning, where the two warily circled each other looking for an opening, eventually gave way to the trading of vicious strikes, and all to the sound of a raucous crowd proudly chanting “BRITISH STRONG STYLE!” Dunne’s period of ascendency saw him continually focus on the arm, wrenching the joint as far out of the socket as it could feasibly go. The match entered its third act with an enormous bang when Seven suddenly hit a desperation dragon suplex on the apron to briefly turn the tide, followed by his signature Seven Star Lariat for a breathtaking near fall, but as he moved into the kill, The Bruiserweight countered another suplex attempt brilliantly and innovatively into The Bitter End for the three. Such a smartly paced and shrewdly structured piece of work. I urge you to check it out again.

Pete Dunne defeated Tyler Bate by pinfall in 15:27 to win the WWE United Kingdom Championship, NXT Takeover: Chicago, May 20th 2017

In contrast to the more traditional, psychological affair between Dunne and Seven, Bate and Dunne’s rematch from the final of the UK Championship Tournament went the ultra modern hyperactive route, something which I’m not always in favour of, but when it’s done this well, you just have to sit back, gasp at the spots, and admire what’s happening in front of your eyes. In echoes of the Angle vs Benoit multi year series which kicked off over sixteen years ago, the two men alternately work stiff shots, pure wrestling holds and high impact manoeuvres with equal skill, delighting the usual volcanic Chicago crowd with its sense of theatre. Some of the counters, strength moves and near falls were heart stopping, whilst the balls to the wall pace did not stop them from constructing a convincing story (Bate’s underdog hero meeting a supervillain with too much firepower). Still feels as fresh now as on the night.

The Miz defeated Dean Ambriose by pinfall in 20:17 to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship (had Ambrose been disqualified, he would have lost the title), Extreme Rules , June 4th 2017

While Dean Ambrose is my favourite wrestler of the current era, and I hugely respect the way that Miz has rebuilt his career following years of irrelevance, I have to confess that I was dubious about this stipulation when it was announced. I shouldn’t have been. The Lunatic Fringe is arguably the premier storyteller in the business today, and paired with a character that is his polar opposite in Miz’s brash yet fragile egotist and a stipulation which worked against Ambrose’s instincts to punish transgressions of his foes with extreme prejudice, he was able to work magic. The feature length run time gave them the breathing space to properly weave a multi-layered narrative, with the scheming Maryse given plenty of opportunity to interfere in her husband’s best interests. The storytelling touches were legion; the chair that Ambrose threw away, the exposed turnbuckle he had to pull out of using, the attempt by Maryse to get Dean disqualified by slapping her own husband, all the way to the finish where trying to convince the referee he shouldn’t be disqualified cost Ambrose the pinfall loss. Wonderful attention to detail in a midcard title instant classic that will be remembered for years to come.

Neville defeated Austin Aries by submission in a Submission Match in 17:35 to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, Extreme Rules , June 4th 2017

In 2017, no-one, absolutely no-one, in any division, in any company, has been on the Neville level. The man is just on fire, as a character outside of the ring, and as a kind of Cerebral Assassin who can fly inside it. For his remarkable consistency, I just had to include one of his bouts, and I think the decider of his series with Austin Aries might just be my favourite. It was the ideal stipulation given the fact that both men were using submission finishers, and given earlier matches where Neville had escaped the Last Chancery through a cheat’s poke in the eye. This match was the most intense and gruelling encounter of the three they had, with the tension ratcheted up to ten as they worked to snare each other in the decisive submission. The finish was fittingly brutal, as the Red Arrow to the back set up the Rings of Saturn for the tap out. Little did we know at the time that this would be Aries’ last hurrah as a WWE employee. It was a hell of a way to go out.

Samoa Joe defeated Roman Reigns, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt and Seth Rollins in a Fatal Fiveway for number one contendership to the WWE Universal Title in 29:15, Extreme Rules , June 4th 2017

Given the arguably lazy booking which preceded the match, the actuality of the execution was a breath of fresh air. Balls to the wall from the opening bell, all five men had the chance to shine, with Wyatt and Joe’s alliance dominating proceedings early on as the action spilled to the outside, with the steel steps being a prominent and equal opportunity offender. The non stop, exhausting action led to a glorious crescendo, with Reigns’ missed spear through the barrier, Rollins’ frog splash on Wyatt through the announce table, Balor’s Coup De Grace on Reigns and Joe’s opportunistic application of the Coquina Clutch to Balor to win the day. The positioning of the talent in the match was spot on, and the finish was all the more well received given that it seemed as if Finn was about to get the babyface super push which WWE wisely dialled back on, plumping for Joe as Brock’s challenger instead. Definitely a match which retains its appeal after several watches, and one with more story than one might realise.

Well everybody, that’s my half year two parter done and dusted. What would you have on your own May to July list? Be sure to hit me up below or on Twitter. Until next time, this is Maverick, requesting flyby!