To say that 2017 has been a bizarre year for the WWE is an understatement. For every Bray Wyatt WWE Championship win, there is a Jinder Mahal title reign, for every WrestleMania there is a WWE Battleground, for every Jericho and Owens feud, there is a Wyatt and Balor feud and for every star-studded return there is a debut of Sister Abigail - it’s been a strange one.
Like every year in the WWE though, there have been wrestlers (like Jinder Mahal) who have benefitted massively from booking decisions made, however, this means that there are obviously those that have found themselves booked in ludicrous things, to perform ridiculous stunts and take baffling losses to non-sensical people. Here are 10 of those wrestlers;
10. Finn Balor
Summerslam 2016. Finn Balor becomes the inaugural Universal Champion after a stellar semi-main event with Seth Rollins, having beaten Roman Reigns on RAW to reach the PPV. Unfortunately, Balor injured his shoulder during the match and was forced to relinquish the title the following night, before promptly missing 8 months with injury.
Returning on the RAW after WrestleMania 33, Balor received one of the biggest ovations of the night. Unfortunately, that has most definitely been the high point of Balor’s year thus far.
He has been forced into head scratching programs with Elias and Bray Wyatt, before losing in 3 minutes against Kane, who clearly needed the momentum!
The only reason Finn, a former leader of the Bullet Club and jewell in the crown of NJPW and even NXT, ranks so low on this list is because of his excellent match with AJ Styles at TLC 2017, and his rumoured main event program with Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Hopefully the WWE are through jobbing out the former Prince Devitt, and will allow him to flourish in the way he deserves.
9. Big Cass
From what I’ve seen so far of Big Cass’ singles push, I really wish he’d stayed with Enzo, at least for a little while longer.
With Enzo he seemed to have at least some modicum of direction and had him to bounce off during his promos. However, when you are 7 foot tall, fairly good in the ring and muscly, Vince will inevitably want to push you.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t ready for this and many times seemed like a deer in the headlights when faced with a crowd and no Enzo. His promos were bland and boring, his in-ring style, though certainly adequate, was nothing showstopping, whilst his matches against Enzo and Big Show were boring to the point of depression!
Unfortunately during a Street Fight between Enzo and Cass on an episode of RAW, the latter took a strange bump on his way out of the ring and legitamely injured his knee, an injury that is currently still sidelining him. One can only hope that his return after injury brings more fortune and more fire!
8. Sasha Banks
Some might find it slightly harsh that I’ve put ‘The Boss’ on this list, but I’m simply comparing 2017 Sasha to the 2016 Sasha who had that amazing feud with Charlotte, who put on the first Women’s Hell in a Cell Match, the incredible Iron woman match and became a multi time Women’s Champion - there is no way anyone could match that year admittedly.
Starting with this year’s WrestleMania, she was eliminated second in the match in highly contrived circumstances leaving Bayley and Charlotte to fight and since then...nothing.
She feuded briefly with Alexa Bliss over the title in a series of underwhelming matches before the WWE decided that it would a great storyline idea going forward that Banks couldn’t defend the title once she’d gained it...wait, what?
How is this anyway to treat a main eventer? The Legit Boss for goodness sake?
To couple with this, Banks was relegated to the pre-show in favour of a Cruiserweight Tag Match at TLC 2017, before losing a triple threat on RAW to be the women’s captain at Survivor Series....
It’s a long way from the Banks of 2016 isn’t it!
Does anything else really need to be said here?
6. Luke Harper
When it was leaked in August this year that Luke Harper was being repackaged, we dared to dream. This was a man who, despite being touted for the main event at WrestleMania having beaten AJ Styles in a Battle Royal , simply vanished from SmackDown Live television, save for a number 1 contendership 6 pack challenge which Jinder Mahal would ultimately win leading to his current title reign, a short and forgettable feud with former tag mate Erick Rowan and some wwe.com interviews where it was heavily implied he would enter a program with Aiden English. Instead...nothing.
In October 2017, vignettes aired of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in big coats carrying big toy hammers spouting utter tripe about breaking bones and severing spines! These have run for the last couple of weeks and, what I’m sure was supposed to be creepy and menacing, came across half-arsed and laughable.
Rowan for his part seems into it, but Luke Harper is dead inside and you can see it in his eyes; another stupid gimmick where he won’t be taken seriously.
This man can go in the ring as proved when he wrestled in the Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 31 - he looked fantastic, but the WWE seem so loathe to put any faith in him and insist on putting him in tag teams.
Yes it’s early days and for all I know I could be being very pessimistic and The Bludgeon Brothers may go onto be the most decorated tag champions in history...but Bludgeon Brothers...really?
5. Summer Rae
Looking at it now in the light of her recent release, maybe her inclusion on this list is a touch harsh, but let’s face the fact here that since the WWE draft last July, where she was drafted to RAW, she hasn’t made a single televised appearance through injury.
It’s not like she lit up the ring when she was on TV, playing second fiddle a lot of the time to the more talented members of the women’s roster coming through.
Seemingly only kept towards the end of her tenure due to Total Divas commitments, it’s a shame to see her released and we wish her all the best, but to not have a single appearance on TV and then be released is a fairly terrible year by anyone’s standards!
4. Bray Wyatt
Has anyone fallen from grace with such a bang as Bray Wyatt this year?
Rewind to Elimination Chamber 2017 in February and the Eater of Worlds fought off both AJ Styles and champion John Cena to claim his first WWE Championship amongst roof raising chants of “You Deserve it!”
Fast forward back to current day and in the space of 18 months; Wyatt has lost the championship to boring face Orton in one of the worst matches in WrestleMania history, he has taken part in the laughable spoof of a House of Horrors match at Payback, was denied the opportunity for a rematch, was shifted brands hastily and has then been thrust into a feud with Finn Balor which would have culminated in one of the least anticipated matches in PPV history.
All this coupled with the fact that the much touted Sister Abigail spirit turned out to be Bray Wyatt with a towel on his head speaking in a pitch shifted voice...dear God...
Oh Bayley, what has happened to you?
Whilst in NXT as part of the much lauded Four Horsewomen stable, Bayley could do no wrong; the pop from any crowd she was in front of would be enormous and her gimmick was as over as any gimmick at the time. Her feud with real-life best friend Sasha Banks and her subsequent capture of the NXT Women’s Title allowed us to dream that her main roster stint would be equally successful!
She has been subject to the most alarming booking decisions in 2017, and this is a year where she has been RAW Women’s Champion, and retained it at Mania. But the problem is she is perceived as a joke by creative and therefore her momentum has stuttered to a complete halt. She has been buried by persistent losses to other talent on the roster, has been subject to the diabolical ‘This is your Life’ segment and a complete over inflation of her character.
It’s got to the point now where her entrance, once a pop inducing fun-fest, fails to illicit any reaction whatsoever. It’s going to take a lot to rebuild ‘The Hugger’ from here I’m afraid...
2. Shinsuke Nakamura
HOW ON EARTH DO YOU BOTCH SHINSUKE NAKAMURA!?
The most electrifying man coming out of NXT, where he was a two time NXT Champion, coming to the US on the back of his unbelievable run in Japan prior to this, WWE fans were delighted to have Nakamura debut on the main roster come the SmackDown after Mania. Whispers began about potential show stealing feuds against the likes of AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, even John Cena, but none of this materialised.
Instead, we got a month and a half of waiting until the next PPV to see his first televised match against Dolph Ziggler which was, luke-warm if we aren’t kidding ourselves. He was then in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match which teased his feud with AJ, and then won a #1 Contendership match against John Cena - a fantastic bout, even if Shinsuke did nearly break Cena’s neck - things were looking up.
However, then the wheels fell off. Nakamura then had two BLOODY AWFUL matches against current WWE Champion Jinder Mahal in which he felt less like the Rockstar he was supposed to be, and more like a glorified jobber - as well as being subject to racist and boring promos for the Maharaja, and has now slid down the card to a series of Tag Team matches...what the hell is going on?
Luckily, Shinsuke has the charisma to pull himself slowly back up the card - a good match against Kevin Owens to determine who would be on team SmackDown at 2017 Survivor Series is certainly a start - but those two defeats and his less than impressive feuds and displays in the ring are definitely reasons to worry, especially amid rumours that he and Asuka have been told they need to tone down their Strong Style style of wrestling on the main roster!
1. The Good Brothers
I’m going to start this article with some trivia for you;
Gallows and Anderson are 3 time holders of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, winners of the 2013 World Tag League and have held the RAW Tag Team Championships heading into WrestleMania 33. Couple this with the fact that they have both registered on PWInisder 500 inside the top 100, and were original members of the extremely popular heel stable - The Bullet Club.
With all this in mind, how are these two at the top of this list? Simple, WWE have booked them into utter oblivion!
In the abscence of the Golden Truth, The Good Brothers have taken the job of ‘jobber Tag Team’ for the better part of a year. Karl Anderson seems to be on the roster for the sole purpose of taking pins and Gallows, despite being a behemoth of extreme power and strength is booked as an ineffectual fool! It’s got to the point where I quite genuinley forgot their entrance theme music because for so long they’d been given the jobber’s entrance!
With rumours circulating wildly about their status with the WWE, it’s hardly surprising is it? They’ve been booked as an absolute joke that, no matter what, will never be seen as anything other than that.