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Welcome to the second part of my listing for the best WWE matches of 2017. These bouts took place from May until December.
Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne – NXT TakeOver: Chicago
All praises due to our true wrestling Lord and savior, Triple H! Due to his old-school mentality and appreciation for great in-ring talent, he helped put the UK Championship tourney together. The two men to make it to the final match got the chance to butt heads again during NXT TakeOver: Chicago. Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne’s amazing chemistry with each other resulted in this 5-star classic. Both men started out with some technical wrestling wizardry. Then the action spilled to the outside, which is when those stiff strikes and big suplexes began being dished out. After that, Bate and Dunne beat each other silly with everything in their arsenal (and more!). “The Bruiserweight” laid in some wince-inducing elbow shots, float over suplexes and painful submissions. Bate countered all that with a beautiful Shooting Star Press, a sick Tiger Driver and some nasty strikes of his own. After Dunne finally laid out Bate with the Bitter End, I was left in awe of what I just witnessed – an amazing, hard fought match from two of the UK’s biggest stars.
Nikki Cross vs. Asuka – NXT (Episode 399)
Nikki Cross is the madwoman who runs alongside Eric Young and his stable of anarchists. Asuka once reigned as the most unstoppable force the NXT Women’s Division had ever seen. When it came time for these ladies to settle their beef, it took place during a Last Man Standing contest. I expected this one to be good, but it ended up exceeding my expectations. Asuka went crazy with kicks as she punished Cross while she was stuck in a trash can. Cross answered back with several Swinging Fisherman Neckbreakers in the ring. Their brawling got even greater once they both took some severe punishment to their backs after landing on numerous steel chairs. The two standout moments from this match came when Cross Powerbombed Asuka into a bunch of chairs on the outside and when Asuka planted Cross through the announce table with a Superplex. Eventually, Asuka ended up being the Last (Wo)Man Standing. I can’t wait to see these women go to war once again.
Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III
Johnny Gargano and Andrade “Cien” Almas have to be considered NXT’s MVPs for 2017. They’ve faced each more than once this year, but I have to consider this one their finest performance. Almas still had a bit of that “Tranquilo” attitude around this time, but his new female valet was starting to steer him in the right direction. Johnny took advantage of Almas’ “too cool for school” nature at one point by Superkicking him while he hung between the ropes. Once Almas began taking things more seriously, the intensity level of this match went sky high. Johnny ate a particularly nasty Powerbomb into the corner and got fed Almas’ stiff knees to boot. But he came back to life later on to throw Almas like a lawn dart into the corner and deliver two Superkicks. The emotional ending to this bout (which saw Johnny lose focus after acknowledging a #DIY shirt) capped off this hard-fought battle.
Ember Moon vs. Asuka – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III
I knew this one would be amazing once Ember Moon wasted no time in dropkicking Asuka after the bell rang. Things started off hot and continued to be that way all the way through. What we got here was the story of Ember giving Asuka her hardest challenge to date. Ember looked great in the beginning, but Asuka found a weak point (Ember’s arm) and went to work wearing it down. Once Ember started making her comeback, things got a whole lot more interesting. Ember reached into her well of suplexes and kicks to weaken the champ. Asuka would have none of it as she used her knees and a German Suplex into the corner to stay in control. The biggest near fall of all came when Asuka became the first woman in NXT to kick out of Ember’s Eclipse finisher. The catchphrase “NO ONE IS READY FOR ASUKA!” rang true after Asuka flipped out of a pinning predicament and forced Ember to submit to the Asuka Lock. The ladies of NXT showcased their excellence once again.
The Usos vs. The New Day – SummerSlam
Taken from Match Review: This might be the first time in Kickoff Show history where the crowd was caught chanting “THIS IS AWESOME!” And I have to agree with everyone who yelled that inside the Barclays Center. Both these teams have incredible chemistry with each other, which was evident during their excellent Battleground match. They put on another amazing performance here that felt a bit fresher thanks to some innovative tag team moves from Woods and Big E. The Usos shocked me and the live crowd with something just as cool (I legit hopped off my couch when Woods got thrown to the outside and then destroyed with a Samoan Drop). This match was built up efficiently and by the time it got into the middle portion, the crowd began losing their minds (and so did I). Big E’s destruction via a double Superkick/Superfly Splash and the shocking result makes this one of the standout matches from this year’s summerSlam. Can we get a 2-out-of-3 Falls rematch next?