As evident by my list of the Top 25 Best Matches of the Year, 2016 was an absolutely incredible year for wrestling. It was crammed full of historic events, fantastic moments, and most importantly, amazing, memorable matches. However, even in such a landmark year for this wonderful sport, not everything was up to the world class standard. There were plenty of globally exposed matches from Vinny Mac’s House of Graps that have slipped through our minds in just less than a year. Even if you’re WWE through and through, you’ll be scratching your head when reading this one. Here are the Top 20 Big WWE Matches from 2016 that You’ve Probably Already Forgotten About.
Now, obviously I’m not going to cheat by choosing some random match from a January episode of Superstars. To qualify for this list, each match has to have some kind of significance – it must have either been featured on a PPV, or been a championship match on one of WWE’s weekly television shows. Kickoff matches will rank lower down in the list as they aren’t exactly designed to be the highlight of the night, whilst matches that are higher up the card will be more likely to rank higher on the list. With that being said, let’s get started.
- Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus – Raw January 4th
Perhaps I’m cheating a little considering most people will probably think this Raw Championship match happened in December of 2015, but still, it counts. Besides, I think we all want to forget the entire Reigns vs. Sheamus feud anyway.
- The Usos vs. Dudley Boyz – Wrestlemania Kickoff
Even the biggest Wrestlemania of all time has a forgettable match hidden away in there. Obviously, the fact it was tucked away on the preshow certainly didn’t help matters for these two teams, but still, when you wrestle in front of 100,000 people and everyone still struggles to remember it ever happening, that’s when you know it was a forgettable match.
- Kane vs. Luke Harper – Survivor Series Kickoff
Was there really any point to this one? At least we got to see Harper wrestle a one-on-one match on a PPV, and considering he’s one of the most underutilised talents in WWE, that needs to happen far more often.
- The Miz vs. Darren Young – Battleground
Let’s face it, the only reason anyone would remember this one is because of how awful the finish was. Turns out Bob Backlund couldn’t even teach Darren Young how to lock in a Crossface Chickenwing properly, let alone make him ‘great again’.
- Kane vs. Bray Wyatt – Backlash
Even when his original opponent (Randy Orton) had to drop out due to an injury scare, Bray Wyatt STILL couldn’t get a PPV victory, even against last minute demonic insurance salesman Kane. Come on WWE, give Wyatt a chance!
- Bayley vs. Dana Brooke – Hell in a Cell
Admit it, we all want to forget that arm wrestling segment these two women had on Raw. Turns out they also had a match after that as well, and considering how many great matches were on the card that night at Hell in a Cell, it’s no surprise that this one got lost in the shuffle.
- Rusev vs. Zack Ryder – Battleground
Zack Ryder winning the IC Title at Wrestlemania was one of the most wonderfully surprising moments on 2016, whereas seeing him being destroyed by Rusev in a US Title match just months later wasn’t all that wonderful. You know it, bro.
- Lucha Dragons vs. Dudley Boys- Money in the Bank Kickoff
There’s a reason why this one didn’t make the main card, and a reason why it didn’t stick around in my head for more than a week. Another match barely worth being on Raw made it onto a PPV card – let’s hope this trend doesn’t continue in 2017.
- The Miz vs. Apollo Crews – Summerslam
Apollo Crews had a PPV championship match, at Summerslam no less! Bet you forgot about that one, didn’t you?
- Apollo Crews vs. Sheamus – Money in the Bank
Apollo Crews hasn’t exactly had the best transition from NXT to the main roster. Sure, he’s incredibly athletic, and has a wealth of potential if given the opportunity, but as far as his WWE run so far goes, it hasn’t exactly been memorable. Even a PPV fight against a former WWE Champion wasn’t enough to have an Apollo match stay in my mind. Considering that Smackdown GM Daniel Bryan struggles to even remember his name most of the time, it seems that Apollo needs to start having some more memorable matches in 2017.
- New Day vs. Vaudevillians – Extreme Rules
Cast your mind back to April of last year. The Vaudevillians debuted on the main roster, almost killed Enzo Amore, and earned themselves a tag team title match in the process. Then they went on to destroy New Day’s time machine – that was fun! Then they had this brain lapse of a match at Extreme Rules, and shortly after, they were losing to The Golden Truth within two minutes, and now they’re barely ever seen on television. The wonderful world of wrestling!
- Intercontinental Championship Fatal 5 Way – Raw February 15th
Our first non-PPV match on the list is an Intercontinental Championship bout from Raw. Considering it ended with Kevin Owens starting his second reign with the title, you’d think it would be a pretty memorable match, but…no. By no means a bad match, but nothing worth writing about…wait….
Anyway, why are four and five the only fatal numbers? What did they do?…
- Natalya vs. Becky Lynch – Battleground
Since Big Show wasn’t very active last year, it seems as though Natalya took over the role of flip-flopping between face and heel. During one of her villainous turns, she went after Becky Lynch, which led to this forgettable fight at Battleground. In respect to both of these women, they’ve already had plenty of memorable bouts in their careers so far, and are bound to have even more, so they can afford to have a scrap nobody remembers from time to time.
- Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks vs. Team Bad – Fastlane
Team Bad used to be a thing. That was sort of fun. Then they kicked their best member out and had a match against her and Becky Lynch. That clearly wasn’t as fun as nobody really remembers it. Thankfully for us, everyone involved (except for Tamina) moved on to much better, much more memorable things.
- Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins – Raw July 18th: WWE Championship Match
How can a WWE Championship match not be memorable?! Well, this one certainly slipped through the cracks.
Now, most of you will remember that on the July 19th episode of Smackdown, the WWE draft took place, and the brand split began. On that historic addition of the blue show, the number one draft pick from each brand, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, fought in the main event to determine which show would hold the prestigious WWE Championship. However, what you may not remember is that this match only took place because on the previous night, these two had another WWE Championship match that ended in a double pin. This is purely a situation of one match overshadowing another, but still, nobody likes bullshit finishes in championship matches anyway, so who cares if nobody remembers?
5. Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch – Royal Rumble
Considering how talented both of these women are, I’m really surprised and slightly disappointed in myself that I don’t remember this match. In my defence though, I can’t exactly remember Charlotte facing anyone except Sasha Banks in 2016. Let’s hope when these two meet one-on-one in the future, it makes for a much more memorable affair.
4. Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger – WWE No Mercy
Remember when Jack Swagger made the transition from Raw to Smackdown with a surprising amount of fanfare? Remember how he almost immediately faded back into obscurity after only a couple of weeks on television? Well, this forgettable confrontation happened between those two events at WWE No Mercy. It may have only been a few months ago back in October, but this lacklustre clash has already made its way to the back of my mind.
3. Sami Zayn vs. Stardust – Roadblock
Who the fuck even remembers this happening at all?
With some of these matches, I remembered them yet assumed others would forget, others I was reminded of when I was doing my research, but this, I have absolutely no memory of this whatsoever. And after watching the match back over, there’s a reason why it didn’t stick around in my memory. It loses a few points as it took place at Roadblock (a network exclusive special that was given little build-up compared to a regular PPV), but still, utterly forgettable nonetheless.
2. Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler – Fastlane
Both Kevin Owens and Dolph Ziggler had incredible, memorable matches in 2016, and both made appearances of my list of the Top 25 Best Matches of 2016, but it seems as though when these two world-class talents collided back in February, it made for a less than memorable match. Luckily for them though, I highly doubt their 2016’s will be defined by this unadorned battle.
- Big Show, Kane and Ryback vs. The Wyatt Family – Fastlane
Was I in a coma or something for the majority of Fastlane, or was it really just that terrible? Maybe the drugs wore off just in time for the main event or something.
Apparently there was a battle of the behemoths back in February, and Big Show, Kane and Ryback actually managed to win for some reason! The Wyatt Family couldn’t even get a W against these three oversized jobbers! Nice work WWE, perfect booking! Who cares if the wrong team won though, absolutely no-one even remembers this ever happening anyway; just forget you ever read this list, and forget how terribly Bray Wyatt has been booked for such a long time. It’s time to be optimistic! Bring on better booking, bring on 2017, and bring on some brilliant, memorable matches!
How many of these matches did you genuinely remember? Let me know in a comment below or tweet me @HairyWrestling.