It’s officially been 2017 for almost two days now and I thought it would be the perfect time to jump on the bandwagon and decide what my top ten moments of the past year were.
WWE has had a pretty stacked year, from the history-making Royal Rumble with the WWE Championship being defended in the Battle Royale for the first time, to the brand split being officially announced and SmackDown going live. The UK Tournament was then announced at the back end of the year and it seems that even WWE are now beginning to recognise the talent that Britain has to offer.
2016 has definitely been the year of AJ Styles and despite the fact that there wasn’t a Slammy Awards show this year, he would have to be the Superstar of the year, from debut to WWE Champion in record time.
Anyway, before I give my entire list away, here are my ten biggest moments of 2016, the ones that we will enjoy looking back on and remember forever. This. Is. 2016.
10. The Game Starts Again
Triple H was defeated at WrestleMania 32 by Roman Reigns in a match where Reigns also speared his wife Stephanie McMahon. Triple H disappeared off screen after this match until the end of August. Four months after he was defeated by Roman at WrestleMania The Game returned and pedigreed the former Shield member as he invaded the Fatal Four Way match on Raw to crown a new Universal Champion.
It looked as though Triple H was going to help his friend Seth Rollins to win the title but at the last minute he turned and hit a pedigree on Rollins before helping Kevin Owens cover the former World Champion and raise his hand. This was Triple H endorsing Owens as his next protege and moving forward from Rollins and The Authority. Triple H is yet to be seen on WWE TV since then but it is thought that the marquee match between the two former friends will take place at this year’s WrestleMania and begin building at The Royal Rumble in less than four weeks.
9. The New Day Make History
Did I mention that this year was a record breaking year for WWE? No, well the first history-making entry in this list is from The New Day who managed to hold on to the Tag Team Championships for almost the entire year of 2016, they won them at SummerSlam back in August 2015and held onto them until Roadblock on December 18th wich meant that they broke Demolitions long-standing WWE record.
The New Day have been the epitome of Tag Team dominance in WWE over the past year and have become one of the most entertaining teams. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E may no longer be the Tag Team Championship since they were defeated by Sheamus and Cesaro two weeks ago, but the fact that they held those titles for almost 16 months and now hold one of WWE’s most prestigious records means that they will forever have a place in history.
8. Seth Rollins’ WWE Return
Let’s be honest, this had to make the list, I’m writing it. So, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins suffered a torn ACL, MCL and medical meniscus back in November 2015 and it was said that he would be out of action for up to nine months because he required career-threatening knee surgery.
Rollins relinquished the World Championship and then made a final appearance on Raw to pick up his Superstar of the Year Slammy Award for 2015. The former Shield member was not seen or mentioned on WWE TV until Extreme Rules in May. Roman Reigns defeated AJ Styles with the WWE World Championship on the line in the main event of the show before Seth Rollins made his epic return. He ran through the curtain as Roman celebrated retaining his title and hit the pedigree before raising the title and showing that he was back to claim the title he never lost.
7. The Women Main Event A WWE Pay-Per-View
WWE have been on the right side of history this year as they allowed the females to become one of the main attractions of the show for the first time. Sasha Banks and Charlotte took over the Raw women’s division and not only became the first women to main event an episode of Monday Night Raw in more than a decade, but they were also given the opportunity to main event a pay-per-view for the first time in WWE history.
Sasha and Charlotte collided for the Women’s Championship at Hell in a Cell inside the first ever female Hell in a Cell match. This was before they then competed in the first ever main roster females IronWoman match at Roadblock: End of the Line two weeks ago, where their incredible feud finally came to an end.
This is not really a moment of 2016, but a collection of moments, When WWE decided to put Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens together on WWE TV they really did create gold dust. It was an amazing partnership that gave the WWE Universe some of the best moments of the year.
Jericho invented ‘The List’ which became the butt of many jokes this year. Even though the duo was thrown together because Owens really needed a friend and Jericho was available, much like The New Day, they have made the best of a bad situation and become one of the best parts of the past year.
5. Daniel Bryan’s Retirement
This was perhaps my lowest point of the year, but it was still a moment that changed the face of WWE in 2016. Following what was an epic 2014 where Bryan ran riot in WWE and won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30, Bryan was forced to relinquish the title merely months later when it was revealed that he had suffered a bad neck injury.
This was repeated with the Intercontinental Championship in 2015 when he managed to win it at WrestleMania 31 in the annual ladder match but was once again forced to drop it when his injury reoccurred. It was in 2016 when Bryan finally decided it was time to hang up his wrestling boots. WWE doctors refused to clear him for in-ring action and Bryan was forced to address the WWE Universe and look at a life where for the first time he wouldn’t be a wrestler. Bryan had never known anything else and it was perhaps one of the most emotional nights in WWE. Luckily WWE’s brand split later in the year allowed Bryan to come back to WWE in a none-wrestling capacity as the General Manager of SmackDown Live. Something he has fully become acquainted with over the past few months.
4. The Streak Is Over
The Undertaker’s Undefeated WrestleMania streak ended back in 2014, but the WWE Universe witnessed the end of Brock Lesnar’s three and a half year undefeated record this year. The Beast Incarnate hadn’t been pinned since SummerSlam 2013 when Triple H finally got the better of the Beast, but it was Goldberg, a man who hadn’t set foot in a WWE ring in more than a decade that finally ended the streak.
Goldberg and Brock Lesnar collided at Survivor Series in a fantasy match to promote WWE2K17, something that the match definitely did. It was as though there wasn’t a player 2 as Goldberg destroyed Lesnar in just over two minutes to prove that he was well and truly back! The two heavyweights will both be in The Royal Rumble match in less than four weeks time as WWE celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the annual event. It looks like it could well the biggest edition of the event.
3. Money In The Bank 2016
With the looming WWE draft and brand split, it was thought that Money in the Bank would be a pointless venture in 2016, but it actually became one of the stand-out moments of the year and perhaps one of the biggest occasions for many of the audience as they once again saw history made.
Roman Reigns walked into Money in the Bank as the WWE Champion, he then lost the championship to Seth Rollins. Earlier in the night Dean Ambrose had won the Money in the Bank briefcase and decided to come out and cash it on on Rollins to become the WWE Champion for the first time. This means that every member of The Shield held the title that night. It was an incredible night for any Shield fan and Dean Ambrose became only the second man to win and cash in the Money in the Bank contract on the same night.
2. Shane McMahon Makes WWE Return
Don’t even try to lie. You marked out. I marked out, everyone marked out. It was the most shocking moment of 2016 without a doubt. When Vince McMahon was ready to award his daughter for all of her hard work over the past few years, what a shock that Shane McMahon decided to return and ruin the party.
We have never been so happy to hear ‘Here comes the money’ and see Shane shuffle out through the curtain, that return then set up Shane’s WrestleMania match inside Hell in a Cell against The Undertaker and saw him make a full-time return to WWE as the Commissioner of SmackDown Live following the Brand Split. Shane’s return has also become one of the most relieved and rewatched returns of all time. It really was a highlight this year.
1. AJ Styles Makes His WWE Debut At The Royal Rumble
Who thought that they would ever see one of TNA’s biggest stars make the switch over to WWE? I didn’t, but back at the 2016 Royal Rumble, AJ Styles made his WWE Debut at number three as he came out and made an impact in a WWE ring for the first time.
He then went on to defeat Chris Jericho and John Cena in two of the biggest matches of the year before he went up against Dean Ambrose and became a WWE Champion for the first time. He has been one of the best superstars in WWE over the past year and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he is set to become one of the biggest stars in the company’s history in the next few years. It has definitely been the year of Style in WWE, something that we all expect to get better with time. At 39 years-old it seems that AJ’s best days could well be in front of him rather than behind.
The Brass Ring returns on Thursday night from 9-11pm where the team will be awarding their own Slammy Awards which we are calling The Brassies. Do you have a superstar of the year, Female Wrestler of the year, Match of the year, OMG moment or even memory from the past year that you want on the list? Message the team @TheBassRing1 or at www.facebook.com/TheBrassRing and listen in to the show on Thursday night!