Every year WWE tries to push forward and make the company seem so much better than the year before. In 2016 The Royal Rumble saw the debut of AJ Styles before the record-breaking feud between Sasha Banks and Charlotte, but it seems that 2017 couldn’t follow suit. The Royal Rumble was quite disappointing and it seemed that this marked the beginning of a year that wasn’t up to par with what WWE had already produced the year before. The WWE Universe remained loyal to the company and continued to watch despite the show becoming somewhat predictable and many of the pay-per-views that fans paid for were considered extra episodes of Raw and SmackDown.
While there were a handful of moments over the past year that 2017 will be remembered for it seems that the bad decisions that WWE made will always be the ones that this year will be remembered for above all. Bad decisions are always the ones that live to haunt a company, but when it comes to some of the worst decisions, it seems that 2017 will be a year to remember in the world of wrestling.
The following list looks at just 15 of the worst things that WWE allowed to happen over the past 12 months, some of these being booking decisions that should never have made it out of the creative room. It seems that somehow a group of adults actually came up with and then approved all of the following ideas to take place on national TV over the course of the past year.
15. Roman Reigns Enters The Royal Rumble At Number 30
The Royal Rumble is the first WWE pay-per-view of the year and it sets the tone for the year to come. Usually, there are a number of surprises throughout the annual match that traditionally lasts for more than an hour, but the only big surprise this year was when Tye Dillinger made his way out to the ring in the number 10 slot.
The WWE Universe was expecting more NXT call-ups and one person they hoped for was Samoa Joe. The audience waited in anticipation as the number 30 spot arrived and Roman Reigns made his way to the ring, despite being put through a table by Braun Strowman earlier in the night. While his appearance set up the WrestleMania match between Reigns and The Undertaker when The Big Dog eliminated The Deadman, it was still the start of things to come in WWE for 2017 and the tone had definitely been set.
14. Baron Corbin Cashes In Money In The Bank (And Loses)
Baron Corbin won the 2017 Money in the Bank match back in May, something that the WWE Universe fully expected because Baron was someone who had already won the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale at WrestleMania the year before and now it seemed that he was coming for the WWE Championship.
The sad part is that WWE actually intended for Baron to win the title – that is, until a Twitter spat with respected wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer put his name in the news as did a backstage seminar on concussion awareness that Baron decided to make a mockery of. WWE had to punish him in some way and the company decided that taking away his contract was the best option. This led to him unsuccessfully cashing in his briefcase the week before SummerSlam, which then left WWE with another headache. If Baron can’t cash in, then how do they protect Shinsuke Nakamura against Jinder Mahal?
13. Goldberg Defeats Kevin Owens For The Universal Championship
Goldberg returned to WWE back in November 2016 as a way to promote WWE 2K17 by having the dream match that the WWE Universe had been hoping for, but it didn’t exactly turn out that way. Goldberg was reportedly injured before his first match in 12 years, so WWE decided to protect him by only having him compete in a two-minute match.
Goldberg buried the undefeated Beast before moving on to eliminate him from The Royal Rumble. Incredibly, Brock Lesnar wasn’t booked for WWE Fastlane so instead the company put Kevin Owens in a match against Goldberg for the Universal Championship and because of a Chris Jericho distraction, Goldberg defeated Owens and became Champion after only wrestling around five minutes in more than a decade. Thankfully, the balance was restored when Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg emphatically at WrestleMania 33 and has since been the rightful holder of the Universal Championship.
12. This Is Your Life Segment
Not only was Alexa Bliss’ Raw “This is your life” segment one of the worst of 2017, but it is actually thought to be one of the worst in WWE history. The promos weren’t good, the people chosen were awkward and cringe-worthy and it didn’t work because none of the WWE Universe was invested in the feud at this point.
WWE was attempting to recreate the segment between The Rock and Mick Foley that was considered to be one of the best, but these two women were not on that level. WWE realized their mistake as soon as it was over had deleted it from their Youtube Channel and the Raw replays. Hopefully, now they will learn not to try and recycle old segments in the hope that the WWE Universe will enjoy them a second time. It doesn’t really work that way and it completely buried Bayley, whose career hasn’t been able to recover since.
11. Roman Reigns Defeats Undertaker At WrestleMania
The Undertaker has a lengthy Undefeated Streak at WrestleMania until he was defeated by Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 a few years ago. Undertaker has since been able to defeat Bray Wyatt and Shane McMahon at the two WrestleMania’s that have followed. Reigns then stepped up against The Deadman at WrestleMania 33 in what many thought would be Undertaker’s final match.
Reigns was thought to be just another victim of The Deadman, and a huge botch at the end of their match added to the tense atmosphere inside the arena as Reigns managed to pin Undertaker for the first time and The Phenom was then seen leaving his clothing in the middle of the ring and walking away for what was thought to be the final time. Undertaker hasn’t appeared on WWE TV since but is rumoured to be returning to Raw next month for the 25th Anniversary, which is where he could finally reveal what the future holds and whether or not Reigns was the final man to face Undertaker.
10. The Ending Of Survivor Series 2017
Survivor Series is one of WWE’s “Big Four” and the final one to take place in the calendar year. This year was the second time the two rosters had collided since the brand split back in the Summer of 2016 and while WWE had managed to hype up the show so well in the weeks leading up to it, the ending ruined it.
It seems that Triple H once again decided to take the spotlight as he ensured that Kurt Angle was eliminated from his own team, before turning his attention to Shane McMahon and Pedigreeing him too so that he and Braun Strowman went on to win the match. Braun wasn’t happy about the fact that The Game had turned on his brand to get rid of Angle so he then sent a message to Triple H as well. It was one of the strangest endings to Survivor Series in a long time and it made very little sense, since WWE hasn’t made a storyline out of it over the past month.
9. John Cena Defeats AJ Styles To Equal History
John Cena will always be seen as a star who is the face of WWE and is given more opportunities than anyone else, but this year as a part-time superstar WWE seemed to be pushing this much further than they should have. AJ Styles had been the Champion who had controlled SmackDown Live through 2016 while Cena wasn’t there and didn’t deserve what WWE then did to him.
Cena was allowed to return after months on hiatus to challenge AJ to a match at The Royal Rumble and then win the Championship. This was his 16th World title which meant that he equalled Ric Flair‘s record in one of the easiest way’s possible. Incredibly, Cena then went on to drop the title a month later anyway because the company had opted for him to team with his fiancee Nikki Bella at WrestleMania in a match against The Miz and Maryse rather than having him defend his title. Clearly, 2017 was an entire year of bad decisions from WWE.
8. Enzo Amore And The 205 Live Roster
The situation that surrounded Neville walking away from WWE a few months ago is something that is going to haunt WWE for a while. Neville won the Cruiserweight Championship back at The Royal Rumble and as The King of The Cruiserweights, he was one of the best things on 205 Live for most of the year.
The company then relegated his match with Austin Aries to the kickoff show at WrestleMania and then moved Enzo Amore over to 205 Live where he was easily able to defeat Neville for the Championship when he hit a low blow behind the referee’s back. WWE then found a way to screw Neville out of his rematch and now with Enzo in charge of The Cruiserweight Division, the whole thing has gone down the toilet. WWE is worried that the show isn’t getting the ratings they hoped for and that’s because they allowed someone like Enzo, who has very little wrestling experience, to become the Champion. It must send a great message to the locker room.
7. Bray Wyatt As Sister Abigail
Bray Wyatt has had a bad year in WWE, even though it was the year he became WWE Champion for the first time, which was also his first ever Championship as Bray Wyatt. But Bray was then given the task of taking on Finn Balor in a number of matches where he took on The Demon and lost and then took on Finn himself and lost again.
This forced Bray to show his real self and reveal that he was actually Sister Abigail in one of the worst plot twists in WWE history. Abigail is seemingly dead but she is able to take over Bray’s body at times. This led to a match between the two men at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs which thankfully was altered when Bray was reportedly suffering from illness. AJ Styles stepped up to face Finn and lost, but Bray later returned to Raw and the company never decided to pick up where they left off with the feud, which is probably one of their better decisions.
6. Shinsuke Nakamura Being Pinned Clean By Jinder Mahal
As already mentioned, Baron Corbin was punished by WWE and forced to drop his Money in the Bank contract before SummerSlam, which meant that Jinder’s match against former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura needed a new ending because Baron was originally supposed to cash in his contract. This would have then protected both Jinder and Nakamura because neither would have needed to be pinned if Baron was going to lose.
The decision was made at the last minute to allow Mahal to defeat Nakamura clean with his Kallas finisher, which didn’t go down well with the WWE Universe. Nakamura has been treated so much better on the NXT roster and it seems that this loss was the beginning of the end for the Japanese star’s career on SmackDown Live. Nakamura hasn’t been able to recover from this loss yet, but it will be interesting to see if WWE will attempt to do damage control with the former NXT star in the new year.
5. Bray Wyatt Losing The WWE Championship After A Month
Elimination Chamber was another WWE pay-per-view this year that felt like an extended episode of SmackDown Live, but interestingly, the Elimination Chamber match was enough to draw fans in so that they cared enough to watch the show.
John Cena put his title on the line and it was Bray Wyatt who came out with the title around his waist. This is something that the WWE Universe had wanted for a long time, so they were considerably disappointed when Bray then dropped his Championship to Randy Orton in one of the strangest matches that have ever taken place at WrestleMania. Bray was then given a House of Horrors match against Orton at Payback and it was another bad decision. The WWE Universe had no idea what was actually happening throughout and it just didn’t make any sense. Thankfully, Bray has now stepped into a feud with Matt Hardy, which will definitely be an interesting one.
4. A Man Winning The Women’s Money In The Bank
The women of WWE were able to make a lot of history in 2016, but it seems that the biggest thing to happen to the SmackDown Live Women’s Division this year was when the company unveiled the history-making first ever women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Natalya and Carmella all competed in the historic match and the women were actually able to put on a good show – that is, until James Ellsworth made his presence known. The manager of Carmella climbed the ladder and retrieved the briefcase only to throw it down to Carmella and see her announced as the winner. The WWE Universe saw this as WWE screwing the women out of being able to make history the way they deserved to, while Ellsworth has now been released from WWE, so it seems that he was just another pawn in WWE’s game this year.
3. The Great Khali Returning At Battleground
If it was just the fact that former World Heavyweight Champion The Great Khali returned at Battleground then it wouldn’t be as high up on the list, but it was the fact that WWE allowed one of the worst match inventions of all time to return as well.
The Punjabi Prison Match was the match where Jinder Mahal chose to face Randy Orton, a match that hadn’t been seen in WWE for a decade, and with good reason. The WWE Universe was unable to see a lot of the action that happened inside the structure because of how it was built, and it wasn’t really a great concept anyway. Orton was well on his way to winning before Khali’s music hit and he managed to hold The Viper in place while Mahal climbed over the cage to win and retain his title. That was the end of the pay-per-view, and thousands of people actually paid to see this. Let that sink in.
2. Jinder Mahal Becoming WWE Champion
WWE has made many mistakes this year but one of their biggest was deciding to put one of their most prestigious Championships onto a man that they were happy to release from the company a few years prior. Jinder had been used as a jobber throughout his career until the point where he faced Randy Orton back at Backlash for the WWE Championship.
No one really gave the former 3MB member a chance against The Viper, but with the help of The Singh Brothers, Jinder was able to lift the title for the first time. It was later revealed that the company had done this because they were hoping to bring in more fans from India and they thought that having Jinder as Champion was the best way, even though Jinder is actually Canadian. Jinder’s reign lasted up until the week before Survivor Series in November when AJ Styles was finally able to overcome Jinder and his two little helpers.
1. Jason Jordan Was Revealed To Be Kurt Angle’s Son
Kurt Angle returned to WWE this year for the first time in more than a decade to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Interestingly, he then went on to become the General Manager on Monday Night Raw the following week but it was then revealed that there was a secret that Angle had been hiding from everyone over the past few years.
Angle had an illegitimate son and it was thought for a while that it was Chad Gable, but instead, WWE went with Jason Jordan as Kurt’s real-life son who was born out of wedlock when the Olympic Gold Medalist was still in college. It was a sad twist that has led to Jordan taking on a role that he wasn’t really ready for and WWE attempting to somehow swing it into his favour. Illegitimate son storylines never work. Vince McMahon himself should know this from his experience with Hornswoggle.
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