WWE are the most inconsistent wrestling promotion on the planet.
Nobody nails the sport’s big theatre spectacle quite like WWE, and when everything clicks, the company’s programming truly feels like a Hollywood move come to life. On the flip side, their worst moments don’t just have their long-suffering fans reaching for the remote, but often questioning why they support wrestling in the first place. Sadly, 2017 has delivered both in equal measure.
The modern WWE product routinely drifts from sublime to unwatchable on a segment-to-segment basis. This disease has been part of Raw’s complexion forever, but it has now engulfed SmackDown too, with the blue brand almost unrecognisable from its late-2016 peak. Pay-per-views? They’ve always been a lottery, but the quality swings are now more pronounced than ever before.
From heart-stopping returns to sombre retirements, five-star classics to overbooked schlock-fests, high drama to sub-soap opera trash, WWE’s 2017 has been a wild ride through countless peaks and valleys. Let’s take a look at the moments that had us singing the creative departments praises, and those that left us wondering what they hell they were thinking…
13. Wasting First-Time Matches
WWE have had a habit of throwing big-time matches away on lesser shows for years, but the issue has never been as prevalent as in 2017.
It started in March, when the company needlessly burned Randy Orton and AJ Styles’ first ever meeting on a random episode of SmackDown, and continued with Shinsuke Nakamura vs. John Cena a few months later. ‘The Face That Runs The Place’ then moved to Raw, where a major clash with Braun Strowman was booked on a whim for the flagship’s September 11th episode.
The problem escalated ahead of No Mercy, when WWE prematurely shot their load on two potential WrestleMania headliners. Strowman vs. Lesnar and Reigns vs. Cena were both fit to main event the biggest show of the year, but WWE wasted them on a B-level pay-per-view instead, destroying their ‘first-time’ appeal in the process.
This destructive habit must be kicked in 2018, but they won’t. Watch them burn Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles on a SmackDown midcard sometime in February…