WWE Review of the Year 2017
By Jefferson Lake, WWE Editor
Last Updated: 31/12/17 8:28am
While 2017 was a year of nostalgia-inducing returns to the ring, it is appropriate that it ends with two of its most relevant modern-day superstars holding titles and standing as the kings of the Raw and SmackDown mountains.
Roman Reigns and AJ Styles are the clear stars of the red and blue brands respectively and the past 12 months truly belonged to them in terms of their positioning as the stand-out competitors on their television shows.
While they may be viewed differently by the fans, few can argue that both are deserving of their positions as men who can consistently produce excellent, high-quality matches which deserve to sit at the top of the card.
Reigns was in the main event of WrestleMania in 2017, where he retired one of the most iconic WWE superstars of the modern era in the Undertaker, and he finishes the year as the Intercontinental champion and on the back of a superb run of Raw matches against Elias, Jason Jordan and - especially - Cesaro.
Styles provided British fans with a moment they will never forget when he defeated Jinder Mahal for the WWE Title in Manchester in November.
His road to the top of the business has been more circuitous than Reigns' and there can be little doubt he is now the best performer in the company. He capped off his year by being voted the best in 2017 by Sky Sports' viewers.
But they are the best - what about the rest? We've picked out a few other worthy winners as we reflect on the past year in WWE…
Tag team of the year: The Usos
The SmackDown tag team division is, quite simply, excellent at the moment. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin will get a title shot at the Usos on the first show of 2018 but either The New Day or Rusev & Aiden English could have been in that spot and still produced a very high-quality match.
Beneath that, Breezango are hugely entertaining, the Ascension are good hands and the Bludgeon Brothers are on their way up.
But the Usos have been the stand-out team on the entire roster for all of 2017; they fit their gimmick perfectly, are good - and getting better - on the mic and hugely consistent in the ring.
Female superstar of the year: Alexa Bliss
Charlotte and Alexa Bliss finish the year on top of SmackDown and Raw respectively and have been the dominant superstars over the past 12 months, even with Asuka and the potential threat of Ronda Rousey lurking in the shadows.
Bliss is almost matchless on the mic, has her character down to a tee and is getting better in the ring with every match.
Breakout star of the year: Braun Strowman
A beneficiary of good booking certainly, but the Monster Among Men has backed up the faith the company has shown in him with a series of menacing performances.
His size means he is unlikely to put on technical classics like a 205 Live competitor but what he lacks in agility he makes up for in power and incredible presence.
Strowman became a star in 2017 and it will be interesting to see what 2018 holds in store for him.
Feud of the year: The Usos v The New Day
Any program which contains a rap battle is always going to be good, and that was especially the case between these two teams, both of whom always deliver on the mic.
They always perform in the ring too - a statement underlined by the fact that their matches never got boring and, if anything, their feud ended too early.
They led the SmackDown tag division for most of 2017 and elevated each other to great heights.
Turn of the year: Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens' own turn against Chris Jericho was beautifully - and tragically - executed but was not exactly unexpected because Owens is not the most natural or likeable face on the roster.
Zayn, however, was the epitome of the honest and wholesome good guy when he pulled Owens out from underneath a leaping Shane McMahon at Hell In A Cell.
He's now an annoying pest of a heel but also one embroiled in a fascinating abusive 'friendship' with Owens which has seen him explore new depths of character.
Match of the year: Pete Dunne v Tyler Bate, NXT TakeOver: Chicago
Match quality in WWE in 2017 was arguably higher than it has been in any other year; the women's division continues to improve, the 205 Live roster have added a new creativity and flair and both singles and tag team wrestling has hit new heights across the board.
But the pick of the bunch came from two young British superstars who are yet to make it to the main roster.
Judging by the standard of this match, though, it will only be a matter of time before they do. For good measure, Bate and Dunne put on another masterclass in NXT last week to round off an excellent 2017. 2018 could be very, very bright for both of them.