wrestling / Columns

The 411 Wrestling Year-End Awards: Part Four – The Worst Major Shows/PPV of 2017: Battleground, Fastlane, More

January 12, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WWE Battleground

Welcome back to the Wrestling Top 5, year-end awards edition! What we are going to is take a topic, and all the writers here on 411 will have the ability to give us their Top 5 on said topic, and the end, based on where all of these topics rank on people’s list, we will create an overall Top 5 list. It looks a little like this…

1st – 5
2nd – 4
3rd – 3
4th – 2
5th – 1

It’s similar to how we do the WOTW voting. At the end we tally the scores and get our overall top 5! It’s highly non-official and final, like WWE’s old power rankings. From some of the best and worst, the 411 staff is ready to break down the awards! Thanks for joining us, and lets get down to work.

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Kevin Pantoja
5. WWE Battleground
4. NJPW New Beginning in Sapporo
3. ROH/NJPW Honor Rising Night One
2. NJPW Destruction in Fukushima

1. WWE Fastlane – None of the shows listed are really any good. That being said, Fastlane was the worst without question. Other than a good, but not great, Neville/Jack Gallagher match, there was nothing to really like on this card. The Kickoff match was another meaningless cruiserweight tag, Joe/Zayn was solid but very underwhelming, the Tag Title match was forgettable, Sasha/Nia was a lot of nothing, and Reigns and Braun had their worst match together. I’m just getting warmed up though. Jinder Mahal did the near impossible and had a bad match with Cesaro. WITH CESARO! Then, Jinder’s partner Rusev jobbed to Big Show in an even worse match. Bayley and Charlotte had one of the dumbest matches all year. They built up Charlotte’s undefeated PPV streak for so long, only to have it end here on a whimper with Bayley basically cheating to win. It marked the end of Charlotte being relevant until around September and was part of why Bayley was completely ruined this year. To cap it off, Goldberg beat Kevin Owens in 21 seconds to win a title he should’ve never held. One of the worst PPVs of the Network era, for bad wrestling and even worse booking.

5. Anything Impact Wrestling did in 2017
4. UK Championship Special LIVE
3. Elimination Chamber 2017
2. Battleground 2017

1. Clash Of Champions 2017 – Not a good year for the blue brand. I am only including the UK Special because I 100% forgot it even existed but remember watching it live. That is how bad it must have been. Or just forgettable with zero memorable moments. Pretty sure Jim Ross called it. Maybe that is why? Regardless, Clash Of Champions is the leader here. I will actually say that 2017 was a very good for WWE with their pay-per-view events. Most delivered and most had compelling stuff in the build up. There was truly no ‘off season’ throughout the past 12 months. Just always felt that Smackdown LIVE was one step behind, especially with Jinder Mahal in the main event from May-December. He is lucky I am choosing to go easy on him and not just having all of his PPVs listed in order. I am feeling extra jolly during the holidays I guess.

Ken Hilll
5. WWE Backlash
4. Money In The Bank 2017
3. WWE Fastlane
2. WWE Payback

1. WWE Battleground – Not exactly a shocker here, folks. Considering Payback had the one seriously dismal match in the “House of Horrors”, Battleground had the return of much-maligned and unwanted “Punjabi Prison” gimmick match, “capped off” with a lackadaisical effort from Mahal and Orton, as well as the badly shocking return of The Great Khali to aide Mahal in his victory. Great Khali in 2017…more of WWE’s wonderful booking, ain’t it? It was preceded by a Styles-Owens US Title bout with a botched finish, a piss-poor Corbin-Nakamura effort, a dull-as-can-be Flag Match, yet another multi-women match, and a forgettable Mike Kanellis vs. Sami Zayn bout. Even the Usos-New Day opener, which was as hot and fun an PPV opener as you could ask for, couldn’t save what was ultimately WWE’s worst PPV effort of the year, with both a weak undercard and a dismal, horribly drawn-out main event, all of which served to show just how much the blue brand had gotten the shaft following the Superstar Shake-Up.

Rob Stewart
5. WWE No Mercy
4. WWE Elimination Chamber
3. WWE Money In The Bank
2. WWE Fastlane

1. WWE Battleground 2017 – I’m going to consider this a virtual tie between Fastlane and Battleground, because they both featured two positively dreadful matches storyline-wise, but I’ll give a slight “edge” to Battleground because its matches were not just incompetently booked, but were also of a dire quality. That Flag Match and Punjabi Prison Match, though… that is a hard combination to “beat” in terms of pitiful quality. Those were two of the worst bouts on any major WWE show this year, and they came within two matches of each other. Battleground did feature a New Day/Usos match, but aside from that, it was vanilla at best. Even an encounter between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles felt like both men were wrestling in quicksand before it came to a bizarre conclusion that left people wondering if it was supposed to have happened. Oh, and The Great Khali returned! And absolutely nothing came of it! Which I guess is better than WWE bringing him back and having him run roughshod over everyone for a few months like they would/do with Kane and Big Show, but still… why? God, I had forgotten about this show, and now the painful memories are flooding back… Got to move on…

Jake Chambers
5. WWE No Mercy
4. WWE Hell in a Cell
2. WWE Survivor Series

1. WWE Clash of Champions – I’m just picking the last five WWE PPVs that happened in 2017, as it represents to me the continual march to consistent mediocrity of the Network-era. There might be a good match here or there, but there is never a well done PPV event at this point. There’s no style, no pacing, no logical order of matches, no momentum built up, most events have main events that are rushed or forced in storylines sourced from these horrible weekly TV shows. Clash of Champions was a particular standout, as it featured matches that all should have just been on TV. I don’t even think WCW would have had the balls to try and sell that show for $30 on PPV back in the day. But that’s where we’re at now with the WWE, they don’t need to pursue excellence when they have locked in a subscriber base for life based on the presumed discount $9.99 has for the new content being provided. Even if that content sucks, few are going to unsubscribe, at least not enough to make any dent in WWE’s constantly (and suspiciously) increasing numbers as touted at these quarterly business reports. WWE is invested in other ways to trick you out of your money at this point, and putting on excellent monthly PPVs is not one of them.

Larry Csonka
4. NJPW Destruction in Fukushima
3. WWE Fastlane
2. Impact Wrestling Bound for Glory

1. WWE Battleground – This show was hot fucking garbage, created via dumpster fire. It peaked with match one, a great Usos vs. New Day match and from there, matches ranged from DUDS (Cena vs. Rusev & Orton vs. Mahal) to average at best. This was one of the worst major shows I’ve seen in years, and a complete embarrassment, outside of The Usos & New Day, the lone bright spot on this PPV.

AND 411’s Worst Shows/PPVs of 2017 ARE…

T-5. WWE Elimination Chamber5 points

T-5. WWE Money in the Bank5 points

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4. NJPW Destruction in Fukushima6 points

3. WWE Clash of Champions10 points

2. WWE Fastlane15 points

1. WWE Battleground16 points

* The Biggest Disappointment of The Year: >Katsuyori Shibata’s Injury & Retirement – 14points
* The Best Non-Wrestler: Dario Cueto – 17points
* The Best Tag Team of The Year: The Usos – 31points