As begins to wind down, it’s time to start reviewing everything and where better to start than the top ten WWE moments of
was a year that lacked a jaw dropping heel turn or a big babyface WWE World Heavyweight Championship win, but it still had a heap of moments that will be remembered forever.
Before the list is unveiled, here are a few candidates that just missed out on the top ten: Firstly, the debut of Becky Lynch, Charlotte and Sasha Banks on Raw was one of the biggest moments in the history of the women’s division. However, it claims the number eleven spot on this list just because the idea of having nine people involved in one feud like this wasn’t very smart. Don’t you dare be sour, women’s wrestling fans, you’re definitely going to want to read on. Secondly, one you probably weren’t expecting, the ovation received by Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady at NXT Takeover Brooklyn rivals anything in WWE history and you have to hear it to believe it. The final honorable mention goes to The Shield’s brief reuniting at Payback which was just plain awesome and something we hopefully see again in the future.
It’s fair to say this list contains A LOT of spoilers so if you haven’t seen any of these moments, go and watch them before reading on.
Number Salida Del Sol off a Ladder through a Ladder
In what was the most insane spot of , Kalisto hit his Salida Del Sol on Jey Uso from the top of a ladder through another ladder. It was a moment that rivals any move ever performed on a ladder and the most terrifying part was the sound as both men crashed through the ladder lying beneath. There really is no way to do the move justice with words, you have to see it for yourself and if you have, you know why it makes this top
Number 9: Sting and Randy Orton Clear the Ring
Number nine goes to a moment that occurred on Raw in March this year. Randy Orton was scheduled to face Seth Rollins before their encounter at WrestleMania, but was instead greeted by the entire Authority including Triple H, Big Show, Kane and J&J Security. The group surrounded the ring as Orton waited for them, chair in hand. Just as they were about to storm, the lights went out and Sting appeared side by side with Orton. The two legends cleared the ring and hit their finishers on J&J while The Authority retreated. It was a brilliant moment and Orton’s perplexed expression when Sting appeared in the ring was golden.
Number 8: The Rock and Ronda Rousey Electrify WrestleMania
This truly was a WrestleMania moment as Triple H and Stephanie came to the ring to gloat about their defeat of Sting and were promptly interrupted by The Rock. The Rock would threaten Triple H before Stephanie stepped between them, jeering Rock who would never hit a woman. Thankfully, Rock happened to have a dear friend in the front row who “would be happy to”, Ronda freaking Rousey. Seeing Rousey in the ring, throwing Triple H, was a sight to behold and along with The Rock, she gave us a moment that encapsulates what WrestleMania is all about. Hopefully it’s not the last time we see Ronda in a WWE ring.
Number 7: Brock Lesnar Rips the Ring Apart
Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker did a lot of things at Hell in a Cell, mainly reminding us why we all love pro-wrestling, but the moment of the match occurred when Brock Lesnar started ripping up the canvas of the ring, exposing the wooden floorboards below. It was a shocking moment that has rarely, if ever, been done during a match and lead to three really vicious spots including a Chokeslam right onto the exposed wood and the F5 that finished the match.
Number 6: Bayley Wins the NXT Women’s Championship
Arguably the best match of also gave us one of the best moments of – A moment that almost brought grown men to tears (admit it). At the conclusion of Bayley’s epic win over Sasha Banks, as she stood there holding the title up we knew we had just seen the best women’s wrestling match of all time, but that was just the beginning. Out came the other members of The Four Horsewomen, Becky Lynch and Charlotte, to celebrate with the new champ. Even Sasha would return to the ring and embrace her opponent with the four women standing with four fingers raised to the ovation of the entire Brooklyn crowd. The win and the curtain call that followed will go down as one of the best moments in the history of women’s wrestling.
Number 5: Sami Zayn Debuts on Raw
In one of the only genuine mark-out moments of on the main roster, Sami Zayn made his debut to a wild ovation from his hometown crowd, answering John Cena’s United States Championship Open Challenge. Zayn would then go on to show that he can wrestle an awesome match with one arm after blowing his shoulder out simply making his entrance. Despite that, it was almost the perfect way to introduce Zayn to the main roster and John Cena raising Sami’s arm after the match was just the icing on the cake. This guy is going to the top.
Number 4: The Dudley Boyz Return – Entire Segment
This was the best full segment on Raw in Not only did we get the return of the Dudley Boyz, but we got the debut of the breakout star of , Xavier Woods’ trombone. Arguably the funniest segment of then turned into the most awesome when out of nowhere the Dudley Boyz music hit and the Barclay’s Centre exploded. Nobody expected it and the reaction from the crowd is what puts this full segment into the number four position.
Number 3: Kevin Owens Debuts on Raw
While Sami’s debut was an amazing, feel-good moment, the fact that this debut has turned Kevin Owens into one of the top guys on the main roster puts this in the number three position. It was a brilliant segment that kept in line with everything we knew about Kevin Owens from NXT and there was something very satisfying about the NXT Championship being held up high while a main roster title sat beneath Owens’ boot. The WWE have butchered a lot of talent from NXT, but they nailed this one.
Number 2: Bayley and Sasha Banks Main Event
These two didn’t main event because they’re women and main eventing would mean some extra spotlight and buzz for the match. They main evented because they produced the best rivalry of and were coming off the best match of Bayley and Sasha Banks changed the game forever at NXT Takeover: Respect, delivering 30 minutes of amazing storytelling featuring everything from a countered-reverse-hurricanrana to Sasha Banks making a little girl cry – it was all beautiful. It also opens the door for all future female main-events, both on NXT and the main roster.
Number 1: Seth Rollins Cashes In at WrestleMania
Nothing from can top this moment. The visceral reaction of the entire crowd when Seth Rollins’ music hit during the main-event of WrestleMania was unreal. It was a genius way of keeping Lesnar strong and creating a WrestleMania moment that rivals anything before it. The cash-in itself was also done perfectly with both Reigns and Lesnar given a moment to look like they would still be winning, but one curb stomp later and we had a new champion.
Those are my top 10 moments of , if you think I missed something, you can berate me on twitter: @NicNegrepontis.
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Roman Reigns, Ronda Rousey, Seth Rollins, sting, The Rock
10 Funniest Moments Of Roman Reigns Career
Roman Reigns has established himself as a modern-day legend, and he is certainly the current face of WWE. Whether with The Shield or as a singles star, he has proven his merit as a performer. Reigns has main-evented WrestleMania a record five times in his career.
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Roman Reigns is a Grand Slam winner, with five World Titles to his name. As a heel and as a Tribal Chief, he has enjoyed one of the most dominant title reigns in recent years as the Universal Champion. Being a top guy, Reigns has a serious persona but has had some funny moments in his career.
Let's be honest, Roman Reigns' mic skills have improved significantly since turning heel. He has added a new aura to his persona, and he says whatever he feels like.
While having his feud with John Cena, he delivered a promo that made everyone laugh, and it was certainly not PG. He called John Cena boring and mocked the whole babyface run of the Leader of Cenation. While doing so, he compared it to the missionary position, which was certainly unexpected in today's product.
9 The Reaction During AJ Styles' Debut
AJ Styles debuted in WWE in , showing up in the Royal Rumble match. When The Phenomenal One's new music hit, neither the fans nor the wrestlers in the ring could guess who it was until he showed his face.
Roman Reigns, who was in the ring at that time, was visibly perplexed after hearing the brand new theme song. While leaning on the rope, he gave a confusing expression, which was caught well on camera. That reaction of Reigns created many hilarious memes on the internet.
8 Showered Baron Corbin With Dog Food (SmackDown, January 31, )
Baron Corbin and Roman Reigns had an intense feud. Dolph Ziggler, Robert Roode, and King Corbin humiliated Roman Reigns on the blue brand by putting dog food all over him.
But when Reigns took the revenge, it was entertaining and funny. He showered Corbin with dog food in the same way. He even clicked pictures while Corbin was filled with dog food.
7 The Rock Could Not Get Roman Reigns Over (Royal Rumble )
Roman Reigns' first major accomplishment as a singles wrestler was winning the Royal Rumble match in He punched his ticket for WrestleMania after last eliminating Rusev from the match.
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The fans weren't happy with the ending, and they continuously jeered him. The Rock came out after the match to support his cousin. However, even The Great One couldn't stop him from getting booed.
6 Forgot His Line & John Cena Taught Him How To Cut A Promo (RAW, August 28, )
Before Roman Reigns became The Tribal Chief and ordered everyone to acknowledge him, he was The Big Dog and a babyface. He obviously struggled a lot to cut promos back then, including against John Cena back in
On an episode of RAW, Reigns and Cena exchanged words, and a funny incident happened. During the segment, Reigns forgot his line. As a result, Cena was quick to take a jibe, telling him he needed to learn how to cut a promo to be 'The Guy'. While Reigns accused Cena of burying young talents in the same promo, needless to say, Cena buried Reigns on the microphone.
5 Held The Microphone For The Police Officer (RAW, December 28, )
When Roman Reigns was the WWE Champion back in , he had an interesting segment on RAW. The Big Dog hit Vince McMahon. Consequently, Stephanie McMahon brought police officers to arrest him.
However, the cops refused to arrest the champion. Instead, they arrested Mr. McMahon for arguing with them. While the police officer was exchanging words with Mr. McMahon, Reigns was loving it, and he held the microphone for the police officer, making it one of the most hilarious segments of his career.
4 Crashed Rusev's Wedding Celebration (RAW, August 8, )
A wrestling wedding hardly gets a happy ending. A majority of the weddings inside the squared circle end up having chaotic finishes. The scenario wasn't different when Rusev and Lana had a wedding celebration on an episode of RAW.
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Roman Reigns, who was having a rivalry with Rusev, crashed the wedding. Roman insulted Rusev in front of his wife, and things got physical right away. The funniest moment of the segment was when Roman pushed Rusev, the latter accidentally shoved his wife on the wedding cake. Lana's face was covered with the wedding cake.
3 The Promo With Daniel Bryan
Before the triple threat main event at WrestleMania 37, Roman Reigns defended the Universal Championship against Daniel Bryan at Fastlane. The build-up of the feud was simply awe-inspiring.
On an episode of SmackDown, The Tribal Chief confronted Daniel Bryan. He took shots at Bryan's 'tap out' comment in a waggish manner. Roman told his opponent that he had a better chance of shooting lighting out his a** than tapping him out. He also added that he had a better chance of getting wings and flying out of the arena than tapping him out. Ironically, Roman actually tapped out at Fastlane, but it didn't count where wins/losses are concerned.
2 Called Chris Jericho Stupid Idiot Indirectly (RAW, October 31, )
There weren't many men in WWE who could overpower Chris Jericho on the mic, but Roman Reigns did once. When Reigns was the US Champion, he was having a feud with the Universal Champion Kevin Owens and his buddy Chris Jericho.
With Mick Foley, the three men had an entertaining segment on RAW. Jericho told Roman that it was Halloween and the latter wasn't wearing any costume. In reply, Roman said that he was planning to dress as a 'stupid idiot', but they didn't have any Chris Jericho costumes. Y2J's reaction was priceless after the insult.
1 Owning The Crowd ()
It's hard to predict how the crowd would react to a promo. When the crowd reacts negatively, a wrestler could go off the script to own the crowd, ending up giving a reply according to the situation.
Back in , on an episode of RAW, Roman Reigns had a face-off with then WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. But the crowd abruptly started chanting to Roman ' you can't wrestle'. Roman gave a witty response, telling them to calm down, take a sip of beer, and shut the mouth.
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In a world where social media is omnipresent, supernatural gimmicks in wrestling are potentially ruined forever.
Read NextAbout The Author
Avik is a wrestling enthusiast, and he has been following it since the Attitude Era. The Rock and The Undertaker are his favorite wrestlers. He has a Bachelor's degree in English Literature.
WWE Year in Review: B/R Experts Top Stars, Matches, Moments and More
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As the calendar is set to flip to and with the WWE Universe anxiously awaiting new stories for their favorite Superstars, it's time for Bleacher Report's team of WWE contributors to look back on the good, the bad and the ugly of
It's been a crazy year for sure. Daniel Bryan won another championship, only to once again be stopped—not by another WWE Superstar but his own failing body. Seth Rollins went from being The Future to The Present in a single night. The Deadman rose from the depths of hell only to be beaten back by a Beast.
WWE fans vilifyied Roman Reigns for having the proverbial rocket strapped to his back en route to a likely WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Twelve long months later, Reigns finally realized that ending, only with those same fans toasting his ascension to the top of the WWE roster.
We said goodbye to two of the industry's icons in Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper while the next generation of WWE Superstars groomed in their image took center stage.
So who is the WWE Superstar of the Year? Which person disappointed our panel the most? What was the best decision WWE Creative made in ? Yes, there were some. Stop laughing. Seriously.
We've got an all-star panel to provide their thoughts on WWE and tell us their favorite moments from the past 12 months. It's time to get down to business. Our writers are ready, and no one on this panel is S-A-W-F-T.
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The lineup for the Bleacher Report WWE Year in Review Expert Panel includes:
Here are some ground rules for our panel:
- Experts should only consider main-roster performances/Superstars/events unless the category specifically allows for the inclusion of NXT.
- For this exercise, “pay-per-view” is defined as any wrestling event broadcast on the WWE Network. This would allow consideration for WWE Beast in the East and WWE Live from MSG.
- There are separate categories for “Moments” and “Creative Decisions” because they should be treated as such. A decision is definitively planned; a moment can be personal, visceral and/or spontaneous.
Without further ado, it's time to look back on the good, the bad and the ugly of We'll give the honors to the new guy. Tie up your laces and get ready to rumble. It's time to start.
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Ryan Dilbert (RD): John Cena vs. Kevin Owens. The old-guard-against-new-guard rivalry produced three of the best matches of the year. The promos were tremendous. And the feud created a great sense of anticipation. A veteran of the independent circuit made his arrival a loud one by knocking off WWE's top dog. It set Owens up for big things, even though he failed to follow up that win with more.
Anthony Mango (AM): It was tough to think of something, as the feuds for this year weren't all that amazing even if certain matches were. Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reignswas the only thing I could think of that had consistency, progressed in a logical fashion, incorporated other people, had interesting story elements and good matches to go along with it. Too many others—Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, John Cena vs. Rusev—just failed to deliver on all avenues.
Erik Beaston (EB): From January through October, Seth Rollins was the undisputed centerpiece of WWE television, feuding with any and all of his fellow Superstars in an attempt to retain his position atop the card as the face of the company’s future. At the same time he was battling the likes of Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, he was also fighting for the approval of The Authority, who did not hesitate to throw roadblocks in his path for him to overcome and prove himself the chosen one. Add to that the hellish program he worked with Kane and the fact he was forced to defend both the WWE and United States Championships at one time, and you have a scenario in which it was Seth Rollins vs. The World in . And by hook or crook, he always emerged unscathed. That is, until his body failed him and robbed the fans of a conclusion to the story.
James Moffat (JM): There were a number of really good ones this year. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose and Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker are both worthy of mentions, but for my money John Cena vs. Kevin Owens topped everything. Owens pushed Cena to the limit in the ring, bringing out his best.
Brad Jones (BJ): At the time, it seemed like the final chapter of Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker threatened to go off the rails at any given moment—but looking back, it mad for a very satisfying conclusion to the year rivalry. It was crucial WWE did this one justice, and that’s what happened, with memorable TV brawls, reliably compelling appearances from Paul Heyman to keep the pot boiling and two great main events.
Chris Mueller (CM): Kevin Owens vs. John Cena was my favorite. They produced several great matches, and the storyline made Owens into a big star within weeks of his debut on the main roster.
Aaron Bower (AB): A few good contenders here, but I was hooked on Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. It had storyline depth, it had electrifying unpredictability and was non-stop from start to finish. From Ambrose stealing the title and holding it aloft to Rollins’ ultimate victory, it’s a feud that has to be revisited in the future.
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AM: Oh man, how terrible was Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev? From start to finish, the feud was just awful, and what separated it from the rest of the bad feuds out there was how long it dragged on. At the very beginning, Rusev was injured, which stunted its growth. Lana and Ziggler didn't have the right chemistry together. Nor did Summer Rae and Rusev. The matches were bland and kept following the same pattern. Eventually, WWE aired that stupid TMZ-style promo, and then, ironically, the feud was killed with a TMZ leak about Lana and Rusev getting engaged. It ended just as badly as it began.
EB: Dolph Ziggler and Lana vs. Rusev and Summer Rae.The break-up of Rusev and Lana was rushed. Rather than allowing Lana to build momentum for herself and becoming the strong female character Sable did under similar circumstances, she was saddled with Dolph Ziggler, thus suggesting she could not break out on her own. Add to that an uneven narrative that did more to hurt nearly every person involved and permanently neuter Rusev, and you have a recipe for the worst feud of In fact, Summer Rae was the only star to come out of the program better off than she entered thanks to her mastery of taking her comeuppance when necessary, something all heels should understand.
JM: The Dolph Ziggler-Rusev-Lana love triangle takes this hands down. Not only was it stop-start because of injury, but the story, as a whole, was completely unbelievable. The lack of chemistry between Lana and Ziggler was apparent every time they puckered up in the ring, looking like two sixth-graders at a middle school dance.
BJ: It’s hard to think of another program that did so little good for so many individuals than the tepid Rusev-Lana-Dolph Ziggler love triangle. Lana and Rusev were both declawed, and somehow Ziggler seemed like a spare part in a feud he was getting the better of. There was potential for a great series of contests here, but the long-term plotting let down the abilities of everyone involved.
CM: Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler. It’s not that they didn’t have some good matches, but the storyline with Lana and Summer Rae felt lazy. Plus the fact Lana ruined the angle by announcing her engagement online didn’t help.
AB: Worryingly there are more contenders for this category than there were for Best Feud, but I’ll go for the recent Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns effort. It had nothing fans wanted to get excited about until Reigns’ transformation of character after the WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view, and there was little to write home about. Sheamus’ impromptu cashing in of Money in the Bank was one of the flattest we’ve ever seen, and it set the tone for the feud.
RD: A melodramatic, meandering feud didn't just fail to elevate anyone involved, Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev left everyone worse off. After the shower scene, the “Dog Ziggler” moment, a series of catfights and Rusev's real-life engagement derailing the whole narrative, fans had to be relieved it was all over. Grating and cheesy, the rivalry was hard to watch at times. And following it, Ziggler, Rusev and Lana were in need of an image repair.
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EB:John Cena vs. Cesaro on the June 29 episode of Raw.The injury to Tyson Kidd, suffered during a dark match against Samoa Joe, left Cesaro with nothing to do. Then, on the June 29 episode of Raw, he exploded back into relevancy, courtesy of a legitimate four-star affair with John Cena. Two stars who have always had tremendous in-ring chemistry, they wowed the fans with a near-classic television match tainted by interference from Kevin Owens. The contest helped elevate Cesaro instantly and earned him the most substantial push of his career as a wrestler respected by fans for his ability rather than shoved down their throats with the assistance of advocate Paul Heyman in a pairing more forced than effective.
JM: Sami Zayn’s shot at glory in May was my favorite United States Open Challenge since it was not only a great surprise but an excellent match. But as the question relates to the best match, it should go to the first Cesaro vs. John Cena bout from June.
BJ: The boisterous welcome Sami Zayn received as he answered John Cena’s open challenge in Montreal set the tone for a memorable match. It was the perfect setting for Zayn’s first exposure to mainstream WWE audiences and will certainly have raised his stock ahead of his official debut. Here’s hoping these two get to square off once again—with Zayn at percent—in the new year.
CM: Cena had some great matches for the U.S. title, but my favorite was the one against Sami Zayn. Even after hurting his shoulder, Zayn put on a performance worthy of any PPV.
AB: Cena vs. Cesaro II was the match that prompted Cena to address the crowd after the bell and tell everyone what they already knew: Cesaro was a huge star and an unbelievable talent. His match with Sami Zayn also deserves an honorable mention.
RD: Both times Cesaro pushed John Cena to his limits, the result was a stunner of a match. Cena vs. Cesaro on the July 6 episode of Raw was much like their first clash, only their feet pressed a touch harder on the gas and they generated a more crackling energy. Cesaro vs. Cena was a showcase of big moves and pour-it-on-the-mat efforts from both men. Juxtaposing an indy darling with WWE's golden boy made for a magical mix. Cesaro made it clear he could hang as a main eventer; Cena further cemented his status as a clutch performer extraordinaire.
AM: Two of the best aspects of the U.S. Open Challenge concept were the unpredictability of who would answer the call and the quality of the matches. Having Sami Zayn show up in Montreal resulted in an enormous pop, as fans were eager to see him make his way to the main roster. He followed this up with an immediate injury that would sideline him for months, but despite that, this ended up being one of the best matches John Cena had all year! That in itself is worthy of extra praise, as it could have been terrible. Just imagine what these two could have done if Zayn had been percent.
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JM: There have only been two instances when I was utterly shocked and marked out like a little boy. The first was Chris Jericho's debut on Raw in The second came this year, when Kevin Owens made his grand entrance and left John Cena lying on the canvas after a Pop-Up Powerbomb. The entire exchange shocked me in a Christmas morning sort of way. It also provided, for me, the best GIF of
BJ: Brock Lesnar’s biggest achievement of came in a rare loss, as he managed to do the unthinkable by forcing the Undertaker to tap out. Almost as impactful as seeing the Streak comes to an end, this submission had no influence over the final result of the bout but will live on long in the list of the Beast’s achievement’s in Paul Heyman’s back pocket.
CM: The most shocking moment of for me was when Paige brought up Charlotte’s late brother, Reid Fleihr, in a promo. I didn’t feel like it crossed a line, but I was shocked WWE was willing to go that route for the sake of some heel heat for Paige.
AB: Seth Rollins' Money in the Bank cash in at WrestleMania 31. I had become so engrossed in Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns that I completely forgot Rollins had the briefcase in his possession. The fact he cashed in with a slightly different method, in the middle of the match to make it a Triple Threat, also stands out as a highlight.
RD: Using Reid Fleihr as a means to get Paige heat. Insulting Charlotte's brother memory and making a mockery of his death was WWE's Katie Vick moment in Going that crass route showed off just how out-of-touch WWE can be. It didn't put heat on Paige; it had fans irate with WWE itself. To make things worse, WWE didn't even do anything with that moment. Charlotte, the victim in this story, turned heel just a few weeks afterward.
AM: I did not see Kevin Owens powerbombing Machine Gun Kelly coming at all, and I'm so thankful for it. One of my least favorite things from was Wiz Khalifa's concert, as every time WWE does this, I consider it a waste of time. I'll download their album or go to their concert if I want music instead of wrestling content, just the same as I wouldn't want a juggling act to interrupt a symphony. When Kevin Owens put an abrupt end to this in such an emphatic way, I was beyond shocked and thrilled, and it helped make me like Owens even more than I already did.
EB: Lost in everything that has happened in is the shocking retirement of AJ Lee, who stepped away from the squared circle to join her husband CM Punk in post-wrestling life. The retirement blindsided fans, especially on the heels of WrestleMania 31, when AJ scored the submission victory over Nikki Bella in the Divas tag bout, using the Black Widow to seemingly catapult herself into Divas Championship contention. The highest-profile female star the company had touted since Trish Stratus, she opted to step away from the spotlight and live life beyond the confines of World Wrestling Entertainment, a decision she should be commended on. Still, that does not make the sudden and unexpected departure any less shocking.
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BJ:Roman Reigns winning the Royal Rumble. The way WrestleMania 31 played out was actually very satisfying, but fans at the Royal Rumble weren’t happy at the seemingly predictable road Roman Reigns was heading down. With hindsight, Reigns wasn’t the issue—it was the manner and method in which worthy competitors such as Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler were removed from contention.
CM: It’s a tie between the deaths of Dusty Rhodes and Roddy Piper. They were two Superstars I loved as a kid, and to lose them both in a short period of time was very depressing.
AB: Seth Rollins’ injury and consequent relinquishing of the WWE Championship. Rollins had established himself as the biggest star in the company around the time of his injury, and it was quickly obvious WWE could not find anyone to fill the gap left by Rollins' absence. The sooner he’s back, the better it will be for everyone involved.
RD: The bad landing that tore out Seth Rollins' knee left the WWE product feeling lusterless. He had been one of the company's bright spots all year, and suddenly he was out of action, forcing WWE to scramble. The hype for WrestleMania 32 immediately lessened. Raw stumbled for weeks afterward. And whatever WWE had planned for the world title had to be rearranged on the fly.
AM: By default, the deaths of Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes have to be the worst things to have happened this year. As much as WWE can make mistakes now and again with ideas like unfunny backstage sketches or writing terrible promos to kick off Raw, they're all insignificant in comparison to losing family members and friends. There were plenty of ridiculous things to happen on WWE programming, but I think it's safe to say if fans had the ability to undo different parts of this year, these two would rank at the top above the injuries that took place.
EB: Are there two better masters of the mic in the long and illustrious history of professional wrestling than Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes? The connection they were able to form with fans via their promo work, not to mention the unmatched fire and passion they demonstrated in the ring, helped make them among the most beloved stars of their era. It is that connection that allowed them to come back well after their time as workers wrapped up and still garner the loudest and most passionate responses of the night. Losing their influence was the worst moment of , even if there was time between each passing.
JM: While the deaths of Roddy Piper and Dusty Rhodes were tragic, from a company standpoint, nothing was worse than when WWE severed ties with Hulk Hogan over his use of racial slurs. Hogan, who at the time was a judge on the company’s relaunched Tough Enough competition, wasn’t just fired, but his existence was essentially scrubbed from company history.
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CM: When Seth Rollins cashed in the Money in the Bank contract at WrestleMania 31 was the biggest highlight. Many would call his reign as champion underwhelming, but he consistently turned out incredible performances. Win, lose or draw, Rollins is one of the best in the business, and he deserved his moment in the spotlight.
AB: I’ll go with Kevin Owens’ debut on Raw. You talk about standout moments, and K.O. being thrown in at the deep end for a segment with John Cena before dropping him in the middle of the ring shook WWE to its very core. Whether Owens has completely built on that momentum since then remains up in the air, but his debut was remarkable.
RD: It's rare WWE crafts an outcome so few see coming. With the world waiting to see whether Roman Reigns was set to ascend, Seth Rollins' WrestleMania 31 cash in made history. Choosing mid-match to strike made for a major surprise and made Rollins look like a crafty fox swooping in to nab his prey. The execution and the energy it created made it something WWE fans will re-watch and relish for years to come.
AM: While I still think Undertaker and Sting would have been the right decision to make instead of Triple H, and I don't agree with the choice of winner for the match, seeing D-Generation X and the New World Order come out during Triple H vs. Sting at WrestleMania 31 brought out the child in me that was never as big of a wrestling fan as in Nostalgia is always worth lots of points, and when it involves a good number of my all-time favorites, it's all that much better.
EB: There is not a pay-per-view that passes in which fans do not speculate on the cashing in of Money in the Bank when that briefcase in play. While some may have toyed with the idea of Seth Rollins cashing in at the Showcase of the Immortals, it was unbelievable to think WWE Creative would take such a major leap with a talent as to book him to interfere in the main event of the biggest show of the year, cash in his title opportunity and win the championship to close out the show. That he was a heel standing tall to end the most important of broadcasts was even more shocking, making the moment a historic one too boot.
JM: Seth Rollins’ cash in to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31 is my top moment from this year. After a year of dominance by Brock Lesnar, Rollins surprised everyone, flipping the script and making himself a bona fide Superstar in the WWE, not just another future main eventer.
BJ: If WrestleMania 30 saw Daniel Bryan finish taking the long way to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, this year’s event saw Seth Rollins take the biggest shortcut he had available to him, cashing in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE title. This was a star-making night for the Architect and was really quite surprising as it played out.
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AB: The complete mishandling of Cesaro following on from Tyson Kidd’s long-term injury. It classifies as one decision in itself because it was a number of mishaps with the same guy that left WWE fans completely and utterly bemused with what was going on. To this day, that question hasn’t been answered.
RD: The mishandling of Roman Reigns' Royal Rumble win. Daniel Bryan should not have come back until after the Royal Rumble. Roman Reigns shouldn't have had such an obvious, boring path to victory. That led to fans not only booing Reigns' win but turning on him. WWE had to spend much of the year, trying to get fans back on his side. He became the scapegoat for the company's issues and the guy it was cool to hate. How the Rumble unfolded was a huge part of why things played out as poorly as they did.
AM: Ignoring Daniel Bryan's fans at Royal Rumble. By no means am I saying Daniel Bryan should have won the Royal Rumble instead of Roman Reigns. In fact, I was one of those few people in the Wells Fargo Center rooting for Reigns from the start. However, it was foolish for WWE to think it could have him make his comeback in such a capacity, get eliminated fast and not upset the audience. You don't dangle what someone wants in front of their face, rip it away and then expect them to be just as happy, if not happier, with an alternative. It took an entire year to turn things around from that mistake.
EB: The WWE product is so incredibly micromanaged it is difficult to imagine Vince McMahon and WWE Creative did not intentionally book Roman Reigns to utter the words “tater tot” and “sufferin' succotash” in two separate promos in Reigns was already perceived to be weak on the microphone. At a time when the company should have been concerned with portraying Reigns in a positive light by masking his weaknesses, they accentuated them and almost killed his credibility as a potential main event talent in the process. A major, major problem that, thankfully, was rectified via some strong booking late in December.
JM: Remember when Bray Wyatt stood alone in the middle of the ring at the Royal Rumble and declared to be his year? Yeah, neither does WWE Creative. Wyatt was on the losing end of the two true feuds he was part of this year—those against the Undertaker and Roman Reigns. He didn't compete for a title, and the natural places he could have been inserted—for the the vacant Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber and the Money in the Bank ladder match—went to the likes of Mark Henry and Neville. Bray Wyatt's entire takes this category for me.
BJ: Women's wrestling in WWE was in desperate need of a change, but the Divas Revolution wasn't it. We should have got something in the vein of the way NXT presents female athletes; instead, we got some minimal improvements to booking and an injection of talent, with more effort put into the idea of the so-called revolution than put behind any individual competitors.
CM: The worst creative decision of the year has to be when WWE pulled the plug on Damien Sandow’s push. He was over organically, but for some reason, management lost faith in him and he has faded into obscurity.
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RD: Rather than just shove Roman Reigns onto an audience who loudly rejected him, WWE wisely delayed his coronation. It had him leave WrestleMania 31 heartbroken. His hands grazed the world title, but obstacles continued to knock the prize out of his grasp. And so by casting Reigns an underdog and making him earn his title over the course of the year, his eventual championship triumph became a hugely powerful moment. He now stands a chance of being a true top star thanks in part to the response to the Royal Rumble fiasco.
AM: Just as bad of a decision it was to screw up the Royal Rumble, WWE made up for it by having Seth Rollins leave WrestleMania 31 with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. If Lesnar or Reigns had won, the best possible scenario would have been a split audience where half were upset. With Rollins shocking everyone with a cash in, the crowd was on its feet and excited. This also led to a great title reign for the months to come, which acted as the backbone for 's main stories.
EB: When John Cena was “demoted” to the United States Championship scene, the decision was made to use his considerable star power to elevate the prestige of the United States title. Not only was that a strong decision, but so was giving Cena the chance to prove just how phenomenal a professional wrestler he is through lengthy, free TV matches that rivaled anything seen on pay-per-view. So many weeks through the tumultuous , Cena’s United States title defenses made Monday Night Raw watchable when the rest of the broadcast most certainly was not.
JM: Having Kevin Owens win clean over John Cena at Elimination Chamber. Cena had been shown to be unbeatable throughout his United States Championship reign, and WWE needed to shake things up a bit. While Owens eventually lost the war, allowing him to win the first battle in Corpus Christi was the best move the company could have made at the time. It gave Owens legitimacy, which helped his push up the main roster.
BJ: Just when it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Roman Reigns was going to claim the world title, Seth Rollins stepped in to make a little less predictable by winning the WWE title at WrestleMania 31. The ensuing title reign was great for The Architect, and it gave the juggernaut some much-needed time to find his feet.
CM: The best thing WWE did in was letting The New Day be themselves and have fun as heels. They were floundering as babyfaces, but the moment they turned into bad guys, they became one of the best acts in WWE.
AB: Persisting with The New Day when it would have probably been easier to ditch the idea. They’ve since grown into one of the hottest stables in the company, and it’s a reward for sticking with something the fans were dead against at the beginning.
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AM: As much as I enjoy Table for 3, I think it needs to be longer. The Stone Cold Podcast has a lot of potential, but only if controversial topics are being discussed, and episodes such as the one with Paige are just bland. Breaking Ground is the perfect mixture of drama and backstage insight presented in an entertaining way that lets us get to know the NXT stars better. Not only do I have a greater appreciation for what they do, but I have also grown to like some people more just by learning more about who they are behind the scenes.
EB: The underrated, underpublicized Table for 3 is the most enjoyable new addition to the WWE Network, with Breaking Ground proving a close second. Table for 3 gives three Superstars the chance to sit down for dinner and essentially shoot the breeze about everything from their career path to life behind the scenes of the WWE. Typically, they are friends or have some sort of connection, such as the latest episode, which features Kings of the Ring William Regal, Sheamus and Bad News Barrett. The Superstars involved are typically candid, enjoy a few laughs and the show flies by. It is completely unlike anything else produced by WWE and a great way to see some of the real personalities behind the oft overproduced performers the company employs.
JM: As a series, the Stone Cold Podcast is must-see TV on the network. Steve Austin doesn’t pull a lot of punches, and his guest list has been top-notch, with WWE CEO Vince McMahon, WWE COO Triple H, Paul Heyman and Shawn Michaels on the list. Here’s hoping the taped shows—Michaels and the upcoming Ric Flair special—are as good as the live shows that made the first ones special. My favorite single original program remains the episode of Table for 3 featuring Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens and Cesaro.
BJ: A winning successor to previous Legends of Wrestling roundtable discussions, Table For 3 is a series that will hopefully run for some time.
CM: It’s a tie betweenUnfiltered with Renee Young and Legends with JBL. Interviews with wrestlers just being themselves are so much more interesting than anything else that was produced for the WWE Network. Young is one of WWE’s best non-wrestling talents right now, and her interviews are always fun to watch.
AB: Plenty of choices to pick from, but I really like WWE Rivalries. It has plenty of incredible episodes, including Shawn Michaels and Triple H, Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes. It’s one of the most informative shows on the Network, and I can’t get enough of it.
RD: Steve Austin sitting down with the likes of Paul Heyman, Paige and Shawn Michaels for the Stone Cold Podcast has been the most must-see non-wrestling show on the WWE Network. Each time out, the guests tell a handful of memorable stories. It is consistently fun and is something that appeals to both die-hard and casual fans.
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EB: There are some who will point to Paul Heyman’s outstanding work throughout , and rightfully so, but I will take verbal confrontation between The Rock, Ronda Rousey and The Authority from WrestleMania 31 as the greatest promo of the year. Not only did they keep the crowd hanging on every word, and every Stephanie McMahon shriek, they managed to drum up tremendous interest in a match between the four at the following year’s event. Unfortunately, elements beyond WWE’s control have put a damper on that, but on that one night, the brief interaction between the sports and entertainment phenomenons threatened overshadow everything else that happened on the broadcast—in the best way imaginable.
JM: On August 3 in San Jose, California, Paul Heyman delivered the promo of the year, selling the rematch between Brock Lesnar and Undertaker at SummerSlam in a way only Paul Heyman could. It was a promo more than a year in the making, since WrestleMania 30, when Lesnar put the one in , as Heyman would say. You could argue for any number of Paul Heyman manifestos to take this spot, but for me, this was best work of
BJ: Effortlessly distilling everything that makes them so engaging, The New Day's sit-down interview with Michael Cole was a great example of why Michael Cole is a broadcasting asset, even if his commentary might sometimes indicate otherwise. There’s chaos, there’s humour and there’s the sought-after vibe of people actually enjoying themselves on camera.
CM: Every Paul Heyman promo was the best promo of There is nobody better on the mic in any wrestling promotion in the world. He could sell vegans on the idea of a pig roast.
AB: Seth Rollins’ promo the night after WrestleMania was great, but I’ll revert back to an earlier choice and go with Kevin Owens on his first night on the main roster. You were gripped straight away and wondered exactly what he was going to do with John Cena stood in front of him. It delivered on so many levels.
RD: If you ranked the five best promos of the year, Paul Heyman could easily take up all five spots. The master orator did his best work, though, during the buildup to WrestleMania On the March 9 episode of Raw, Heyman planted the seeds of a Seth Rollins cash in and talked up Roman Reigns as a bad-ass Samoan. Effortlessly, he painted Brock Lesnar as an inhuman, unstoppable beast. Add the fact he improvised so well after his mic cut out, and Heyman takes home the top prize without question.
AM: No singular promo stands out in my memory as being the best of the year, but Kevin Owens and The New Day consistently dished out great promos one after another. No matter whom Owens has feuded with, he's delivered promos that felt honest and biting while staying on the heel path instead of just eliciting pops for being cool. The New Day turned their characters around from underwhelming babyfaces to top heels who sell out of unicorn horns for God's sake! Pretty much any time any of those four have a microphone in their hands, I get excited the segment will take a turn for the better.
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JM: On the September 28 episode of Raw, Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns destroyed each other as an appetizer to their match at Hell in a Cell. This match had it all: a compelling storyline, physicality and suspense. It didn’t need a title to be on the line to have meaning. Both men showed they wanted to beat the hell out of each other and didn’t disappoint in selling their upcoming pay-per-view match.
BJ: Seth Rollins vs. Neville on Raw (April 6, ). There will have been many viewers who believed the newly debuted Neville had won the world title during this match. A terrific introduction to the Jumpin’ Geordie and an electric bout to draw people into Raw, this was all in all a great television match.
CM: This is a tough one because there’s 52 weeks of matches to choose from. One of my favorites from the past year was a match between Seth Rollins and Cesaro from SmackDown in July. Those two work so well together it seems criminal they have never had a real feud.
AB: Roman Reigns vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens vs. Alberto Del Rio on Raw to determine the No. 1 contender for Seth Rollins' WWE title. It had a real edge about it from start to finish, with plenty of chemistry and some big names. Oh, and Kevin Owens was phenomenal.
RD: For a good stretch, the best part of every Monday night was John Cena's Open Challenge for the United States Championship. They were pay-per-view quality bouts on free TV. And no match felt like a headliner of a PPV more than Cesaro vs. Cena I and II. The second Cena vs. Cesaro match on the July 6 episode of Raw had even more near-falls and full-throttle performances from both Cesaro and the champ.
AM: One of the most frustrating things about watching WWE television is knowing promises will go unfulfilled the majority of the time. Most matches are built up as being huge but end with disqualifications or some other form of a cop out that stalls for a pay-per-view. Seth Rollins vs. Neville on the August 3 episode of Raw could have been a generic five-minute filler, but it ended up with fans on their feet thinking Neville had a shot at winning the belt. The best part of the night was the interrupted pinfall with Rollins' foot on the ropes, as things built to a fever pitch before Rollins retained.
EB: OK, so this might be cheating considering I already nominated Cena vs. Cesaro as the best of the U.S. Championship Open Challenge matches, but it would be a mistake to not give John Cena vs. Seth Rollins for the United States Championship Match on Raw's July 27 episode a little love and appreciation, which is much easier to do given the general awesomeness of it. No one can ever doubt the toughness of John Cena, which was on full display when he defended his title against Rollins. In that match, he caught a vicious knee that essentially splattered Cena’s nose all over his face. Yet Cena fought through and eventually scored the win that retained his title. It was a bout full of dramatic near-falls that kept the fans on the edge of their seats and provided the otherwise unwatchable show with a legitimate TV Match of the Year.
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MODERATOR NOTE: This category is for Superstars who returned from injury or hiatus who had previously appeared on WWE programming.
BJ: It was a great shame to see Alberto Del Rio exit WWE in but a very pleasant surprise when he resurfaced at this year’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in October. In terms of technical ability, he’s among the very best in the business—something that’s even more impressive when paired with his new-found fire.
CM: The Dudley Boyz’ return was great because it was actually a surprise. Thanks to the Internet Wrestling Community, we rarely get a return without knowing about it in advance, so it made their first appearance feel special.
AB: Sting had shown up at the end of and attacked Triple H, but when he showed up on Raw and returned to set up his feud with Triple H for WrestleMania 31, it was a special moment. Seeing Sting on WWE’s flagship show was something many thought would never happen, so for him to turn up there and then was unmissable and unforgettable.
RD: In spite of the narrative obstacles WWE laid out in front of him, Alberto Del Rio immediately proved to be a valuable part of the roster when he showed up at Hell in a Cell. The Zeb Colter alliance was a train wreck, but Del Rio came through with excellent performances in the ring. He aided an ailing roster beset by injuries, adding depth, adding star power. And his return was one of the best curveballs WWE threw at us in
AM: Starting with Bubba Ray's return at the Royal Rumble and continuing with D-Von's return later on in the year, The Dudley Boyz helped keep the tag team division together during the absence of The Usos and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro. Not only did they do lots of fun stuff with The New Day, they also recently had one of the most entertaining matches on Raw this year against The Wyatt Family. These two are back home where they belong and hopefully won't be going away again any time soon.
EB: Perhaps it is a hunger for nostalgia at a time when the product is not its strongest, but the return of The Undertaker for a pay-per-view that was not named WrestleMania helped the company throughout the summer when the ratings plight could have been even worse without his presence. Anytime The Phenom returns to television, a certain level of excitement exists. As old as he may be (50), as much as he may have fallen off from a physical standpoint in recent years, he still has an aura about him that makes fans tune in to see what The Deadman will be up to. He helped carry the promotion from a star-power perspective throughout the summer and into the fall and added to his considerable legacy with two outstanding matches with Brock Lesnar. The feud with The Wyatt Family was more smoke and mirrors than anything, but as the centerpiece of promotion for the Survivor Series, his presence on that show was vital to its success.
JM: For me, Goldust’s appearance at Survivor Series was the most enjoyable return. Goldust is one of the more enjoyable characters in WWE. The next night, November 23, he competed on Raw for the first time since March. Here’s hoping we see more Goldust for a little while longer.
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MODERATOR NOTE: Superstars who had never previously appeared on WWE programming are eligible in this category.
CM: Even though she hasn’t been used to her full potential, Sasha Banks is the best addition to the roster from the past year. When WWE finally unleashes her, she will become one of the greatest Divas of all time. She has every quality you could want in a Diva and has the passion to make the most of every opportunity she gets.
AB: Talk about a no-brainer. Kevin Owens wins by a country mile here. He’s made such a ridiculous impact on WWE programming since stepping up from NXT, and he looks the real deal. He’s a main event star of the future and almost certainly a world champion of the future. All that could arrive within the next 12 months.
RD: Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will eventually earn their way to being lynchpins of the women's division, but in their first year, WWE didn't use them nearly often enough. Neville had more chances and made the most of them each time. When he took on Seth Rollins, John Cena or anyone the company threw at him, he looked like he belonged with those big names. The human spark plug wasn't just a high-flying, circus act, either; he displayed big-time in-ring storytelling skill.
AM: At the beginning of the year, Kevin Owens was a newbie to NXT but was almost immediately given the top prize on that brand. That in itself is impressive enough to allow him to ride that momentum for months, but he just kept improving. On top of having a title reign there, he went to the main roster, defeated John Cena in one of the best matches of the year and continued to do amazing work, winning the Intercontinental Championship as well. In the ring and on the mic, he's just far above his peers.
EB: The former NXT heavyweight and WWE intercontinental champion had a breakout year in , making the transition from developmental to the main roster and doing so via a high-profile rivalry with John Cena. Kevin Owens' performances in the ensuing matches, coupled with the series of matches he wrestled against Cesaro and Ryback, cemented his status as the best addition to the main roster—especially considering some of the monumental failures who have made their way to Raw and SmackDown from NXT over the last 12 months. As solid as Neville has been, he certainly was not winning this award. Nor were The Ascension, who became glorified job guys in short order. Owens did not win this by process of elimination, though. He earned it.
JM: Can it be anyone other than Kevin Owens? Sting was always going to be a gimmicky part-time wrestler, injury or no injury. The Divas Revolution has fallen flat. Most NXT call-ups are getting lost in the shuffle early in their main-roster careers. Kevin Owens has beaten John Cena, held the intercontinental title and is arguably the best heel in the company. Kevin Owens is the real deal.
BJ: Despite his feud with John Cena resulting in a couple of losses too many, Kevin Owens has had a stellar start to his time on the main roster. He’s rarely been outside of title contention, he’s picked up a great deal of solid wins and he’s made the most of every second he’s spent with a microphone in his hand. K.O. has had a banner year.
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AB: Probably Rusev. He went into the start of the year with a good gimmick, a good manager and an unbeaten streak that was seriously impressive. He finished with a disappointing feud with Dolph Ziggler still fresh in the memory and his kayfabe being smashed into smithereens thanks to the leak of his and Lana’s real-life relationship. It’ll be interesting to see how it’s repaired in
RD: The Big Guy just hasn't made the leap he seemed poised to make. Ryback is still a midcard guy, no closer to being a true star. He regressed as a talker, his personality not shining through as it did a short while back. In the ring, he offered nothing impressive. He produced bad matches with Rusev, OK matches with Bray Wyatt and a whole bunch of shrug-inducing action in between. In , he looked less like the next John Cena, as some thought he could be, and more like today's Hercules Hernandez.
AM: Quick, think of the last time you saw Damien Sandow on television. If five minutes goes by without you thinking of an example other than the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, that's a bad sign. This guy was on fire at the beginning of the year, and then he just dropped off the face of the earth. This was even before the Hulk Hogan scandal killed the AxelMania gimmick, as WWE didn't seem to be willing to push the New Mega Powers to begin with. This was going to be his year to break out, not sit out.
EB: Through no fault of his own, Rusev was ’s biggest disappointment. A foreign heel who transcended that role courtesy of strong ring work and underrated mic skills, the Bulgarian Brute had a monumental and entered the year poised to feud with John Cena leading into and through WrestleMania The series he wrestled against the franchise star featured some solid wrestling, but he came out of it looking worse for wear, courtesy of two consecutive losses. From there, the break-up between him and Lana dragged him deeper into the creative abyss, and injuries, as well as questionable losses, hurt him even worse. In a year when the company was in dire need of a quality villain, it had Rusev at their disposal, only to allow him to become a lovesick puppy more concerned with winning Lana back than crushing rivals and capturing titles. Like so many other Superstars, Rusev was at the mercy of a WWE Creative staff that mismanaged and miscast many of its performers in roles that did greater harm than good.
JM: I’m so disappointed in Wade Barrett that, from this moment on, I refuse to dub him either as “King” or “Bad News." Some might ask the difference between Barrett and Wyatt. The answer: Wyatt at least has been given a seat with adults. Barrett can’t escape the kiddie table. To make that leap, it takes some personal initiative. Barrett seems content stuck in neutral.
BJ: Dolph Ziggler looked poised to reach new heights at the end of However, it’s fair to say he’s been directionless ever since. Feuds with Daniel Bryan, Rusev and Tyler Breeze have taken up most of his time, but it’s clear he wasn’t the priority on any of those occasions.
CM: Bo Dallas. Need I say more?
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RD:As boring as it might be to say, WrestleMania 31 was the year's apex. The undercard featured strong, exciting bouts, from the tag title clash to the ladder match for the Intercontiental Championship. Add Ronda Rousey and The Rock's unexpected team-up, Rusev riding in on a tank and Sting's grand WWE debut, and the show was a success before the main event even began. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar exceeded expectations with a great slugfest that ended in a shocker of a cash in, the moment that launched Seth Rollins' trip to the top tier.
AM: From top to bottom, this whole card at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn delivered. Apollo Crews came on the scene with an impressive debut, Jushin "Thunder" Liger and Tyler Breeze was a random surprise, The Vaudevillains defeating Blake and Murphy to win the tag titles with help from Blue Pants was super fun. Of course, the icing on the cake was perhaps the best match of the entire year, with Bayley beating Sasha Banks for the NXT Women's Championship. Nothing disappointed, and everything exceeded its hype.
EB: This one is not even close. Too many of WWE’s pay-per-views in suffered from the same inconsistencies that plagued Raw and SmackDown. WrestleMania 31, though far from flawless—I’m looking at you, Triple H vs. Sting—still delivered everything fans want from the biggest show of the year. From a Match of the Year candidate in the main event between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar to the shocking finale that saw Seth Rollins cash in Money in the Bank and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the war waged between eight men in a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship to the epic RKO delivered by Randy Orton to the aforementioned Rollins, the show was jam-packed with something for every portion of the audience. It was one of the most complete shows of the year and one that resonated months later. Oh, and RUSEV ON A TANK!
JM: It would have taken something truly special to knock off WrestleMania 31, especially one that saw the best moment of the year. It's freaking WrestleMania; its pageantry, the scale and the history are all epic and factor into this decision. While there were some clunkers—the WWE Divas tag match—this pay-per-view featured some great matches and moments, even in some lackluster matches.
BJ: There were plenty of good pay-per-view cards this year, but the biggest one of them all—WrestleMania 31—has to take the cake. An entertaining ladder match, a memorable contest between Seth Rollins and Randy Orton and the compelling main event are just three highlights from a very strong show.
CM: Some might disagree, but I have to say WrestleMania 31. Several matches exceeded expectations, especially the Fatal 4-Way tag team match during the pre-show. The eight men involved in the action tore the house down and made it hard for anyone to follow them.
AB: It’s a boring and obvious choice, but it has to be WrestleMania 31. It delivered on so many levels, and had a finale that shook WWE to its very core. It gave birth to a new star in the shape of Seth Rollins and gave us a real nostalgic match that featured numerous run-ins from stars of the past in Sting vs. Triple H. Though not quite at the level of WrestleMania XXX, it was a good show all the same.
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AM: Hey fans, do you remember not liking how Roman Reigns was chosen over Daniel Bryan? Well, Fastlane's main event will reiterate that point even more. Were you interested in Goldust facing Stardust? We're going to book them in a terrible match in which one of them doesn't want to fight! Wouldn't John Cena and Rusev be interesting for WrestleMania 31? Let's just do it here first so it doesn't seem as fresh in a month! This event was just a nightmare and did more harm than it did good.
EB: Traditionally one of the better shows of the year, the version of Extreme Rules was marred in mediocrity. The main event steel cage match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship between Randy Orton and Seth Rollins proved their lack of in-ring chemistry, while John Cena and Rusev failed to muster the same quality their previous two encounters had delivered. The typically dependable combinations of Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus and Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper failed to deliver the same quality fans had come to expect from them. By night’s end, the Last Man Standing match between Roman Reigns and Big Show was the event's best match, and even then it was on the lower end of all that Reigns was able to accomplish on pay-per-view over the last 12 months.
JM: Extreme Rules was terrible. When the best match of the night included Big Show and the second best was on the pre-show, you know it fell short of expectations. Nothing else to see here. Move along.
BJ: A surprisingly difficult choice, but at the end of the day, Survivor Series was let down by the lack of focus on elimination matches. The tournament idea was a novel way of working around Seth Rollins’ injury, but at the end of the day, it seemed to detract too much from the core idea of the event—and still resulted in the same conclusion many were anticipating.
CM: Extreme Rules was a bit of a letdown for me. It just didn’t feel like a show that was booked with a lot of effort. Some of the matches were good but not any better than what we see every week on Raw and SmackDown.
AB: Survivor Series. A predictable ending to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament led to a disappointing, albeit shocking, cash in from Sheamus. The rest of the card was littered with disappointments, and it was a pay-per-view that just never got going from start to finish.
RD: While other shows had their share of clunkers, they all had something stellar to counterbalance that. That wasn't the case with Payback. Its best offerings—the Fatal 4-Way for the WWE title and the tag title bout—were solid but nothing anyone is going to treasure in the years to come. Too much of the card was simply passable or worse. The Ascension vs. The Mega Powers felt like something that belonged on Superstars. Neville's win over Bad News Barrett was forgettable, a theme that ran throughout the PPV.
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EB: Our awards do not really allow for it so I’ll get this out of the way now: Sasha Banks was the best wrestler in WWE in , and it is not really even that close. Her series of matches against Bayley helped to evolve women’s wrestling and change the perception fans have of it to the point those two women ended up as the most over stars in all of NXT. Beginning the year as second fiddle to Charlotte, she fleshed out her character, carried herself as a star and became one of the most must-see stars in the sport. Her day title reign was the longest of and saw her wrestle three very distinct, different, story-laden Match of the Year candidates against Becky Lynch and the aforementioned Bayley en route to earning the fans’ respect and chants of “we want Sasha” in arenas across the country.
JM: As much as Sasha Banks and Bayley could make a case, Nikki Bella is the Diva of the Year. She carried the WWE Divas division for much of , even through the so-called Divas Revolution. Nikki Bella has tremendously improved inside the ring over her career, and it showed in the few quality matches she had over the course of the year. Plus, days as a champion is a pretty unique milestone, even in a scripted profession.
BJ: Winning the NXT Women's Championship was perhaps the defining moment of for Bayley—but her subsequent run as champion has been just as impressive. Bayley has excelled as the centrepiece of her division, elevating the likes of Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax. At this point, she's just as much of a talisman for NXT as a figure such as Sami Zayn or Finn Balor.
CM: It’s a tie between Bayley and Sasha Banks. They put on some of the best matches of the year, not just in the Divas division or NXT but in the entire company. Their work ethic is insane, and their willingness to put their bodies on the line for the sake of the bout is admirable.
AB: The likes of Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks have all stepped up to the main roster, but Bayley has continued to drive forward the incredibly high standard of women’s wrestling in NXT. Sasha gets a deserved mention too, but Bayley is infectiously enthusiastic and great to watch.
RD: As much as an improved Nikki Bella carried the torch for the women's division on the main roster and Sasha Banks lit it up at every opportunity, Bayley had a bigger impact in In addition to her two all-time classics against Banks, she managed to get a quality match out of Eva Marie and provided both Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss with their career bests. She showed a very Shawn Michaels-esque quality in her ability to elevate opponents. She also connected to the crowd in a tremendous way. Little girls dressed like her; grown men roared her name.
AM: It's tough not to give this to Nikki Bella, who was the face of the main roster's division for the bulk of , but if anybody usurps her, it's the woman the people have gotten behind more than any other. Bayley was the through line for all of NXT just the same, but her popularity grew exponentially over time rather than staying roughly the same, even while The Bella Twins had more exposure. She had the two best women's matches of the year and is still going strong.
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JM: No matter the opponent—Baron Corbin, Hideo Itami, Kevin Owens or Samoa Joe—Finn Balor put his stamp on NXT in It’s only a matter of time before Balor heads to the main roster. Let’s just revel in his amazing before WWE Creative makes Balor more caricature than character.
BJ: It’s great to see athletes such as Finn Balor and Apollo Crews bring their considerable abilities to NXT, but there’s also something to be said for watching a competitor start from scratch. Baron Corbin is a true homegrown talent, and the progress he’s made in is quite remarkable. Through hard work and good opposition, the Lone Wolf has built a foundation that should reap massive rewards in years to come, and he deserves a lot of credit for that.
CM: Finn Balor was the breakout star of NXT in Things might have turned out different had Zayn stayed healthy, but Balor took the opportunity he was given and ran with it. If he isn’t on the main roster by WrestleMania 32, it will be a huge surprise.
AB: It has to be Finn Balor for me. He arrived in WWE with big pressure because of his reputation on the independent scene, but boy, he’s certainly delivered since he came to NXT. He’ll finish the year as NXT champion, and his promotion to the main roster seems somewhat inevitable.
RD: A rock star in wrestling boots, Finn Balor excelled all year long. Whether it was putting on thrillers against Samoa Joe, mystifying the crowd with his theatrical entrances or playing the gutsy babyface role to a tee, Balor was everything WWE had to hope he would be. He's done well to adapt to his new environment and step up his game on interviews. He's been a jolt of energy for the already electric NXT product.
AM: NXT champion Finn Balor has had a great year in , being built up as a focal point for the first few months and carrying the title for the latter half of the year. We've seen the rise of people such as Apollo Crews, Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin, but Balor has the best overall track record as far as popularity, match quality and improvement. I doubt anyone would complain if he moved up to the main roster tomorrow because of how good of a year he's had.
EB: For more than days, Finn Balor has dominated the world of NXT as its champion, defeating Kevin Owens in Tokyo, Japan, to win the title in July, then successfully defending it in his very first ladder match at TakeOver: Brooklyn. Wins over Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze got him in the position to capture the gold, while a huge victory over Samoa Joe at the recent TakeOver: London event helped extend his reign. Add to that the Dusty Rhodes Classic trophy, and you have a year that was unrivaled by any other NXT star barring maybe Owens. What catapulted Balor ahead of the Canadian is the fact he became the face of the brand during its growth and expansion, all the while utilizing his on-screen Demon persona to become one of WWE’s most marketable stars.
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BJ: It’s been a very busy year for Seth Rollins—and one that will be remembered as the start of an important chapter in his career. At the end of , there were some real questions about whether Rollins would manage to claw his way to the top; one year later, there’s little doubt he’s punched his ticket as a main eventer.
CM: This decision is based on personal bias, but Cesaro was my favorite from the past year. He put on some amazing matches with several different Superstars, and the fact WWE didn’t capitalize on his popularity before he got injured in November is disappointing to say the least. When he heals and returns to the ring, management would be wise to give him a big push.
AB: Seth Rollins just pips Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose. He’s the undisputed big dog of WWE, and even though he’s absent through injury, his return is already being hugely anticipated. Rollins has the full package, and the sooner he’s back in WWE, the better it’ll be for all involved.
RD:The best indication of what Seth Rollins came to mean to WWE was how much of a gut punch it was when he blew his knee out. Suddenly, Raw felt like it lost its heart. Rollins thrived as a heel, was reliable in and out of the ring and put on an impressive series of matches in It didn't matter if he was working against a year-old Sting or the newly arrived Neville, excellence was assured each night. He made it clear he will be a centerpiece of WWE's next era.
AM: Seth Rollins was the savior of the company for the majority of the year, which started off on rocky round with the crowd not embracing Roman Reigns. Rollins stepped in as the man who would commandeer much of the spotlight, and rightfully so. Without Rollins, this year would have had a completely different genetic makeup, and it's tough to imagine what that result would have been but easy to picture it being much worse off than what we got even at our darkest times.
EB: This one will not be a popular choice with some, but to discredit Roman Reigns’ accomplishments in simply because you do not appreciate the character or the performer would be irresponsible. He kicked off the year with a Royal Rumble win, main evented WrestleMania 31, got a really good match out of Big Show at Extreme Rules and overcame scathing fan criticisms to earn their respect and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the December 14 episode of Raw. For all the cries of “he can’t wrestle” that are in excess across the Internet, he was one of the most consistent workers in WWE this year. In many ways, he is a worker who looks unlike any other on the roster and, more importantly, main event ready. Whether he was at the top of the card or midway through it, he proved capable of earning the respect of the audience between bells, even if they turned on him shortly thereafter. No one had to endure the tumultuous year Reigns did, and the fact he has come out of it smelling like a rose is a testament to his tenacity and determination.
JM: Wow, that was one helluva defense of the Roman Empire by Erik. Reigns did grow in , but Seth Rollins made the main roster his personal playground. Every time he was in the ring, he elevated his opponent and gave the fans a great show. It’s tough to be a wrestler who's both loved and hated, but Rollins toed that line so well. The cash in at WrestleMania 31, breaking John Cena's nose and launching the greatest T-shirt of , defending two titles on the same night. His absence through injury showed just how much he carried the roster. Get well, Seth. WWE needs you.
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CM: Every time Bayley and Sasha Banks had a singles match, they stole the show. In fact, their bouts are some of the only ones I watched more than once because they were so good. Their Minute Iron Man Match at NXT TakerOver: Respect was especially entertaining and ranks among the best Iron Man matches of all time.
AB: I could watch that minute Iron Man match between Sasha Banks and Bayley over and over again. It was everything that’s so good about women’s wrestling in NXT and showed both women to be incredible in-ring technicians.
RD: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn made it easy to fall in love with wrestling all over again. This was the art form at its best: enthralling, uncluttered and brimming with passion. Bayley's climb to the championship, proving her doubters wrong and finding a fierce warrior in herself was the best story told in a WWE ring this year. Both Banks and Bayley came through in a huge moment. The crowd amplified the emotion in the ring. And this was a revolutionary bout, one that will long remembered as a key moment in the rise of the women's division.
AM: I can't think of a better women's match in the history of the company than Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, and I struggle to think of anything that comes close to this quality on the main roster or NXT that included the men, either. Everything was done with a finesse and art that hasn't been showcased since The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels squared off at WrestleMania The action was great, the storytelling was phenomenal, the build was intense and the payoff wrapped everything up in a neat little package.
EB: The match between Bayley and Sasha Banks at TakeOver: Brooklyn was the most emotionally driven bout of the year, a contest between a loudmouthed braggart who just happened to be able to back up every claim of greatness with her resume and a lovable underdog who had come so close on so many occasions but failed to win the women’s title. In front of the biggest crowd NXT had ever drawn, the two most over women in the industry pulled out all stops with a match that brought all eyes to the women’s revolution going on in the developmental brand and the progress that had been made in making talented women’s wrestlers into legitimate stars. From the ugly bumps to the fire shown by Bayley as she mounted her comeback late in the match, not to mention the story of Banks targeting the previously injured hand of her opponent, the contest took fans on an emotional roller coaster the likes of which they could not enjoy anywhere else in WWE. Simply put: It was the best match of the year in a Vince McMahon-owned ring.
JM: It didn’t get any better than Sasha Banks vs. Bayley at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. Their rematch in the minute Iron Man Match at NXT TakeOver: Respect will likely garner votes among my peers, but it was in Brooklyn where these two tore the house down. How good was it? Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded seven WWE matches stars or better in This was one of them (h/t ProFightDB.com).
BJ: This was a very easy decision. Nothing else touched Bayley vs. Sasha Banks at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, where Bayley won the title, in terms of stakes, drama and even in-ring action. The Iron Man match was great as well, but this one stands head and shoulders above everything else out there.
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AB: Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton at WrestleMania 31 was seriously, seriously good. It was wrestled like a main event and set the tone early on for what Rollins would do later in the night, but it’s his second bout of the night that wins it for me. The Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar bout that went on to become a Triple Threat Match for the WWE title at WrestleMania 31 was grueling, bruising and just so enjoyable to watch. It fit the bill of a WrestleMania main event.
RD: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank .The rivals' hatred created a level of violence that forced one to pay attention, leaving the crowd cringing and thrilled. Both men emerged far better off than before the bell rang. Ambrose looked superhuman in how much punishment he took and kept fighting on. Rollins' monstrous side finally emerged after months of poor booking. He hammered home a statement about how dangerous he was in a slugfest that left the battlefield covered in bent metal. Rollins and Ambrose outdid themselves, creating the most powerful match of their long series.
AM: I enjoyed all three of the matches John Cena and Kevin Owens had together, but the best of the trio was Cena vs. Owens I at Elimination Chamber. There's a reason why this was included in the Slammy Awards for Match of the Year, and it isn't just for any sort of political game or to acknowledge top stars who can't be left out of the picture. Owens and Cena tore the roof off the building and gave fans a match few expected would be as great as it was, even if we had high hopes.
EB: The main event of any WrestleMania demands a certain mixture of story and in-ring action to truly become the epic encounter that show deserves. Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 defied all critics by delivering a phenomenal wrestling match that featured one man bumping around the squared circle for the entertainment of the crowd. After taking a trip to Suplex City, Reigns smiled, defiant in the face of a furious beast. That smile a greater insult than any curse or middle finger ever could be, toying with the mind of Lesnar, then using his frustration against him by coming seconds away from spearing his way to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The unexpected arrival of Seth Rollins, cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase and becoming the new titleholder, helped complete a damn spectacular main event and a perfect example of the type of layered storytelling WWE Creative is capable of when motivated.
JM: The first main event of is still the Match of the Year: Brock Lesnar, John Cena and Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE title at Royal Rumble . All three men were superb. Lesnar was the beast incarnate, Cena the larger than life superhero and Rollins the consummate heel. It was a ballet in the ring, a masterpiece between the lines and a stunning display of athleticism by all men. It was also the match that truly put Seth Rollins on the map.
BJ: An early contender for Match of the Year that hasn’t been matched since, Seth Rollins vs. John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship bout bears re-watching. There was little zest to the prospect of seeing John Cena and Brock Lesnar face each other one-on-one yet again. However, the addition of Seth Rollins would make the entire proposition rather interesting. All three men offered something different to this one, and the resulting contest was all the better for it.
CM: This is a hard category because different matches were great for different reasons. Triple H vs. Sting had a lot of nostalgic value, but Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker had a lot of intensity. John Cena had a lot of great matches as U.S. champion, and Seth Rollins put on some incredible performances as WWE world heavyweight champion. If I had a gun to my head, I would have to go with Lesnar vs. Rollins vs. Cena from the Royal Rumble. That match had a little bit of everything.
In this post:Brock Lesnar
Moments wwe 2015 best
has been another packed year for the WWE Universe. From new champions to rising stars, this year has provided some amazing action – and a glimpse of what we can expect in the year to come. Here are some of our year-in-review highlights!
Roman Reigns wins and loses WWE Championship in same night
It’s been a tough year for Roman. Having been cheated out of a fair opportunity for the Championship on several occasions, a tournament to crown a new titlist gave him new hope that the mountain could be climbed.
At November’s Survivor Series, Roman would pin Dean Ambrose in the tournament finals to finally become the WWE Champion, only to have the rug pulled from under him again.
History repeated itself as twice in one year, the ‘Money in the Bank’ winner would cash in his briefcase and put Roman Reigns out of the title picture. This time, just minutes after Roman became the official champ, the Celtic Warrior Sheamus would cash in the brief case and batter Roman, who was still recovering from his earlier match. In a shocking twist, Sheamus would become champion, leaving Roman Reigns’ hopes dashed once again.
9. World Title Becomes Vacant
When Seth Rollins cashed in his briefcase and won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania, few could have predicted he would manage to defend the title against the likes of Sting, John Cena, and Kane. After beating all in his path, it was looking like no one could stop Seth – that is, until he beat himself.
In a match in Dublin, Ireland, the champ would land awkwardly and severely injure his knee. Following surgery, Seth is now rehabilitating his knee and is already on the come back trail. But for now, he will have to sit on the sidelines having vacated the WWE World Championship.
8. The Cesaro Section Grows
One of the fastest rising stars of , in the eyes of many fans, is Cesaro. So much so that his fans hold up signs proudly announcing that they are part of the ‘Cesaro Section’. On TV, it’s not hard to see that the Cesaro Section has been growing week by week in
The Swiss born superstar has been on a roll, racking up impressive wins and performing in some of the years best matches. With a combination of seemingly impossible strength, and inspiring technical ability, could be the year of Cesaro.
7. John Cena Wrestles with Busted Nose
They don’t call him ‘Super Cena’ for nothing, but even John’s worst critics had to bow down to him for continuing a match with a busted nose. During a match on WWE Raw, Seth Rollins blasted John with a powerful knee to the face, which resulted in John’s nose swelling to double it’s natural size.
As the incident unfolded on TV, Super Cena would battle on despite heavy blood loss, picking up a victory and once again saying “You can’t see me” to his rivals.
6. Undertaker Returns
Perhaps the biggest surprise of was The Undertaker’s unannounced and unexpected return to the WWE right at the end of the Battle Ground pay-per-view back in July. The crowd erupted as the walking dead man returned.
25 years from making his memorable debut at the Survivor Series, The Undertaker has recently been in ferocious battles with Brock Lesnar, and the Wyatt Family. No one in the history of the WWE has had a career as consistent as The Undertaker.
5. The New Day Become Superstars
On paper, a 3 man team consisting of Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods doesn’t sound like the makings of one of WWE’s most entertaining groups. It’s not that each man isn’t talented in his own right, but it just seemed like an odd combination. ‘The New Day’ may have been assembled in , but they evolved to become one of WWE’s biggest success stories.
Sometimes things just fit together. The power of Big E (and that dancing!), together with Kofi’s in-ring acrobatics, and Wood’s hilarious antics, have put ‘The New Day’ firmly at the top of WWE’s tag team division. We can’t wait to see what they do next.
4. The Diva’s Revolution
was a great year for female athletes. The USA women’s soccer team lifted the World Cup, Ronda Rousey was riding high in UFC, and a new wave of WWE Divas were taking over the ring with the debut of Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch.
The new influx of female talent has proved WWE with some mouth-watering potential matched. With Divas such as NXT champion Bailey and Nia Jax waiting in the wings, could be an even bigger year for women in the WWE.
3. Seth Rollins Cashes in Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 31
The main event at WrestleMania is as big as it gets on the pro wrestling calendar. This year was no different with the Royal Rumble winner, Roman Reigns, challenging Brock Lesnar. The shock was that neither men walked away from WrestleMania with the belt.
Seth Rollins would crash the party. As the rules in WWE stipulate, the superstar who holds the ‘Money in the Bank’ briefcase can take on the WWE champion anytime – even during an ongoing match. Could Roman have dethroned the beast? We’ll never know because Seth would cash in his briefcase and topple an already beat-down Brock Lesnar for the upset win of the year, and the WWE Championship.
2. Ronda Rousey confronts Stephanie McMahon
No one in their wildest dreams thought it possible that the then UFC Women’s Champion could appear at WWE WrestleMania, but it happened in !
In an unscheduled promo segment, Ronda Rousey would hip-throw Triple H and put Stephanie McMahon in an arm-lock. Could we see Rousey vs. McMahon in ? A match between two of the most influential women in sports and entertainment would be a blockbuster. Many would now say this is a strong possibility in
1. Roman Reigns wins the Royal Rumble
With January’s Royal Rumble winner earning a shot at the World Title at WrestleMania, 30 superstars would battle it out to become the number one contender.
The crowd favourite, Daniel Bryan, was ousted from the match early on and so it would be the ever-dominating Roman Reigns who outlasted the competition and took home the prize. Crowd reaction for Roman’s win was mixed, but those in attendance were thrilled to be treated to a rare surprise as The Rock joined the in-ring celebrations.
The 8 best moments of WrestleMania 31
WrestleMania 31 set a new attendance record at Levis Stadium with more than 76, in the home of the 49ers, and fans in Santa Clara were treated to what was a fantastic WrestleMania from top to bottom. Here were some of the highlights.
1. Randy Ortons perfect RKO
There has never been a better RKO in WWE history, and Im not sure Orton can ever top this. Its *the* moment of WrestleMania, even though it happened in the first hour of the show.
2. Ronda Rousey lays the smackdown on The Authority
The Rock was rumored to be in the area for WrestleMania after hosting Saturday Night Live earlier in the weekend, but most fans expected him to be involved with his cousin Roman Reigns bout with Brock Lesnar. Instead, The Rock picked a fight with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and got some help from UFC champion Ronda Rousey, who was sitting ringside.
3. Rusev shows up in a tank
He seriously rode to the ring in a tank. Rusev may have lost the U.S. title to John Cena, but he had arguably the best entrance of the night.
4. Daniel Bryan wins the Intercontintental title and cuts a fantastic promo with WWE legends
Although the seven-man ladder match wasnt the highlight of the night, fans got what they wanted when Daniel Bryan headbutted Dolph Ziggler off a ladder and claimed the one title he hadnt yet won. After the match, some of the best Intercontinental champions of all time Rowdy Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat, Bret Hart congratulated Bryan and joined in a Yes chant. It was amazing.
5. The Undertaker moves to at WrestleMania
The Undertaker returned to the ring for the first time in a year, and the year-old looked great. Taker took a lot of punishment from Bray Wyatt and kicked out of a finisher, but eventually recovered and beat Wyatt with a signature Tombstone Piledriver. The match ended just as darkness was settling over California, making the post-match fireworks even more eye-catching.
6. The Divas match was awesome
AJ Lee and Paige beat the Bella Twins in a great tag match. Sure, it only lasted seven minutes, but this was a good showcase for the Divas and it left plenty of room for more matches featuring these four wrestlers.
7. Sting, Triple H, the nWo and D-Generation X all in one ring
Triple H beat Sting to score one final victory for the WWE over WCW, and the match served as a violent reunion for the two biggest factions in wrestling history. Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Hulk Hogan, X-Pac, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and Shawn Michaels all joined together to create the most nostalgic moment of the show.
8. Seth Rollins walks out a surprise winner in an amazing main event
Brock Lesnar dominated Roman Reigns in a brutal match, punishing Reigns with more than 10 suplexes and multiple F5s but Reigns drew even after busting Lesnars face wide open on the ring post. Reigns staggered the WWE World Heavyweight champion with a barrage of Superman punches and spears, but Reigns and Lesnar beat each other up so badly that they gave Seth Rollins a perfect opportunity to cash in his Money In The Bank contract.
Rollins turned the singles match into a triple-threat match, and pinned Reigns after a curbstomp to become the new champion. Lesnar losing the belt without being pinned perfectly sets up a Rollins vs. Lesnar match at Extreme Rules.
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