By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Dot Net readers were allowed a single vote each of the 2017 awards categories. The following are the results of our poll for Best Match along with our staff comments. Thanks to everyone who took part in the voting.
1. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne at NXT Takeover: Chicago (22 percent)
2. Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega at WrestleKingdom 11 (18 percent)
3. John Cena vs. AJ Styles at WWE Royal Rumble (13 percent)
4. Tie: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega at NJPW Dominion, and Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream at NXT Takeover: WarGames (8 percent each)
5. Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles at WWE TLC (7 percent)
Others (24 percent)
Jake Barnett’s Take If I could give this award to 2017 itself for having a massive collection of fantastic matches, I would. Looking over the list of great matches for 2017 is daunting, and I wouldn’t have even believed so many would reach those heights had you told me on January 1. If you put a gun to my head, I think the series between Okada and Omega was the best of the year, and you just have to pick whichever match of the group was your favorite. Personally, I think the G1 Climax match where Kenny got the win was the best one, simply because it had a hot start and a more consistent pace than their other encounters.
Will Pruett’s Thoughts: Of the top voted matches by the readers, I’d only pick one for my top three. Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada get my Match of the Year vote for their Dominion match, the second in their trilogy. Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne were amazing at NXT’s Chicago show. I’d also make a case for Braun Strowman’s matches with Roman Reigns to land on this list with their great execution of brawling/hardcore wrestling.
Zack Zimmerman’s Thoughts: It’s utterly impossible for me to pick a winner in this category. 2017 is the best year for match quality in the history of wrestling. Where to begin? Okada and Omega broke the star-rating scale. New Japan featured some remarkable matches from guys like Okada, Omega, Naito, Shibata, Hiromu, Kushida, and Ospreay among others. NXT has a strong comeback year with great matches from guys like Dunne, Bate, Gargano, Almas, Black, Sane, Baszler, and Moon. The indies killed it with the help of workers like Keith Lee, Dijak, Zack Sabre Jr., Matt Riddle, and WALTER. All Japan had a resurgence that I haven’t even had time to see. I witnessed about a dozen of the best matches I’ve ever seen by attending ‘Mania weekend and BOLA, and I genuinely could not tell you that one was distinctly the best.
John Moore’s Thoughts: This one changes for me depending on the day. Tonight, I’ll go with Okada and Omega and that’ll probably be my final pick. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne had two MOTY candidates as well as the DIY tag matches which can give Okada and Omega a run for their money. Omega vs. Okada just told such a great story from start to finish which anyone can go in and get amazed by the marathon that these two had. The only cringeworthy parts are the risks that Okada takes which has me teetering to the other candidates, but Okada’s just so good on his end that I can overlook that as long as he doesn’t go overboard with risking long-term injury.
Haydn Gleed’s Thoughts: My own personal match of the year was Matt Riddle vs. WALTER from Progress Chapter 51, which I was fortunate enough to be front row for. Watching these two huge men battle mere inches from me while putting on a world class performance is something I will remember for years to come. However, because it was on a bigger stage and it showed the world what I had been telling you all for years prior about how good the UK talent coming through are, it has to be Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne from NXT Takeover: Chicago.
Jason Powell’s Thoughts: A big shoutout to Zack Zimmerman, who compiled a long list of great candidates for this category. I tend to see mostly the U.S. promotions along with some New Japan Pro Wrestling matches, and that’s important to clarify given the wide variety of matches on the list. Of the matches on the list that I saw, nothing topped Okada vs. Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 11 for me even though they did their damndest to do so in the two rematches. You really owe it to yourself as a fan to watch that trilogy of matches even if you normally stick to the North American based promotions. Bate vs. Dunne was terrific and it’s just a shame that WWE hasn’t done more with their UK Division. Cena vs. Styles was special and was my favorite WWE main roster match of the year. It is surprising that some of the great NXT Tag Title matches didn’t collect more votes.
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The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ricky Starks on his NWA run, doing enhancement work for WWE, leaving NOLA due to Hurricane Katrina, the January 24 NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, his relationship with Nick Aldis, and much more...