The X-Factor: The 2017 X-Factor Awards
Submitted by Victor Mariscal on 01/03/2018 at 02:23 AM

I usually attend when Raw and Smackdown come to town. I went to see Smackdown on the July 4. It featured the return of John Cena and while all the upper levels were tarped off, pretty much all the other seats were full. It was a good show. WWE typically draws big crowds when they show up.

It was also the first time I sat in Row 1 AND I was right next to the entranceway.

The Smackdown on September 26 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ – the first show at the venue – was one I would choose to forget. Only 3,800 seats were full. That alone was depressing.

It was a damning indictment to what was 2017. Up at one point, but way down at another. That’s what happens when you make a glorified jobber the WWE Champion, among other things.

What goes down can come back up.

2017 gave us plenty to frown on, but also enough to smile at. What was the best and worst of the year? Here’s what I picked. Agree or don’t.

Tag Team of the Year
Winner: The Usos

All these years and they’ve never been on the main WrestleMania card. That had better change this year.

If I had to pick a Tag Team feud to win, it would be Usos vs. New Day. The latter has been around 4 years and somehow they’re still relevant. Jimmy and Jey are the reason why. To say nothing of Raw, the Smackdown tag division is the best it’s ever been.

The final pay-off came at Hell in a Cell. The Usos won, but the New Day still looked amazing in defeat. Both teams would cease hostilities soon after.

Best NXT call-up
Winner: Asuka

Surprisingly, they haven’t screwed her up. The year is still young.

Already an early favorite – next to Ronda Rousey – to win the first women’s Royal Rumble, Asuka has set the Women’s division on fire. I’m hoping somewhere down the line they revisit her feud with Bayley. The Hugger needs it.

There’s some debate about her matches being “too long”, but with a limited amount of females on Raw she can’t just run through them all.

She’s undefeated and untouchable. You could say she’s the female Goldberg except for the skill set.

Runner-Up: Shinsuke Nakamura
He fell to Jinder Mahal. Instead of being a potential face of Smackdown he’s being presented as another top guy instead of THE top guy. He’s still popular enough that he can be salvaged so fingers crossed.

Worst booking decision
Winner: John Cena’s 2017

He’s still a major draw, even with his part-time schedule. They threw away his first time matches with Nakamura and Braun Strowman on USA. They relegated his big match with Roman Reigns to a B-level show. They wasted his Survivor Series appearance. Even the haters will admit that was bullshit.

That’s what I miss about the Attitude Era. Even the B-shows were important. That was certainly the case in 2000.

Cena’s year started out well with a classic against AJ Styles which clinched him his 16th title reign. While that moment was memorable they proceeded to throw it away in my town two weeks later. Not the first time in 2017 they de-valued the top prize that I own a replica of.

Runner-Up: The WWE Championship
I understand wanting to reach out to a potentially lucrative market, but handing over the title to Jinder Mahal? Very telling though that India didn’t really care much when Styles finally saved it. There was also the manner in which Bray Wyatt defended it against Orton, but more on that later.

Biggest ego(s) – Two way tie
1st Winner: Triple H

He’s not in a big spot because the fans want it. HE wants it.

Never mind that only Shawn Michaels could make his slow and methodical wrestling look great. Triple H did set up potential matches with Strowman, Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon at Survivor Series, but it was all for him. All for the greater glory of the Game.

I’m no Jinder fan but even I think Triple H beating him was a lousy idea.

2nd winner: Stephanie McMahon
As if I had to tell you.

Wearing high heels when addressing the women and presenting herself as this exalted figure to them. Continuing to emasculate people including the returning hero Kurt Angle. And you want her – and her husband – taking over? You think it will be better?

Most Overrated
Winner: Shane McMahon

His ego isn’t anywhere near as bad as those two, but presenting him as an equal to guys like Styles, Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman?

I don’t like how he’s booked but I can always respect him for going above and beyond. At Hell in a Cell he took yet another flying leap off the cage for his match with Owens. That actually brings me to my next award…

Best turn
Winner: Sami Zayn

Sami used to stand with people like Cena, Bayley, and Rey Mysterio as people you’d never dream would turn. He did, and it made all the sense in the world.

You also thought him and Owens would “fight forever”. WWE actually got you twice.

Thanks to that and their feud with Shane McMahon – maybe even Daniel Bryan in the future – Zayn and Owens have never been more relevant. Somehow those two have even made Shane look like an asshole.

Most shocking moment
Winner: The List of KO

Coming into 2017, one of the leading stories was the friendship between Owens and Chris Jericho. I miss ‘The List’.

2/13/17. The “Festival of Friendship” happened. That painting. It totally wasn’t weird at all.

Then Jericho got his new list from Owens. “How come my name’s on this list?” Didn’t take a genius.

Worst Feud
Winner: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Bray’s feud with Cena may have been a letdown, but compared to this?

A program that started out red hot but flew off the rails very quickly. The burning of Sister Abigail’s grave, the maggots and cockroaches at WrestleMania, and everyone’s personal favorite: The House of Horrors.

Match of the Year – Three way tie
Winner: John Cena vs. AJ Styles – Royal Rumble 2017

It was the second Rumble in the Alamodome. WWE had to deliver, and deliver they did.

Cena and Styles had the 52,020 fans hooked from beginning to end. The both of them took it to the max. Big Match John lived up to his name in the best way and Styles is the best worker in WWE right now. His booking has been a bit inconsistent, but they’ve made sure to treat him like a major deal.

The match result did nothing to diminish AJ’s aura. It took everything Cena had to defeat him. Cena dropped him with 4 Attitude Adjustments, one of which was off the top rope. Cena had “tied” Ric Flair and the people had witnessed a true classic.

This was one match they wouldn’t dare waste on SD. Vince, please change your mind and make Cena vs. Styles happen again in New Orleans.

2nd Winner: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens – Royal Rumble 2017
I know it just kills you haters to admit Reigns is good at anything, but this was one of several times this year he proved it.

A negative to his program with Jericho was that it took away from KO. His rivalry with Reigns ensured that people would see him as a force to be reckoned with.

Brutal, hard-hitting, and all-around fun to watch. KO and Roman complimented each other giving us a great outing.

3rd Winner: AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar – Survivor Series 2017
The match that should’ve closed the show. We were also saved from Lesnar vs. Mahal.

For once, Lesnar didn’t rely too much on taking someone to Suplex City. While he was still a Final Boss in this match, it took him some real effort to defeat the Phenomenal One. They both had great chemistry and sold each other’s offense very well.

A testament to both men. Brock needs to have more matches like this. How many more will he have in the ring?

Best Return
1st Winner: The Hardy Boyz

The New Day hit the stage to announce a fourth team in the Raw Tag Title ladder match. The rumors were flying for weeks. The music blared across the stadium, the “DELETE” chants broke out, and they won the gold. YAY!

Plus, the arrival of “Woken” Matt Hardy looks to be the shot in the arm both WWE and Bray Wyatt need.

2nd Winner: The Shield
Sadly, their return wound up being cursed. First Reigns was out due to the mumps, delaying the Shield’s first PPV match. Second, Dean Ambrose is now injured.

Still, the thrill of seeing those three emerge through the crowd again could not be surpassed. Their match with the New Day was another high point for both factions.

Reigns’ absence led to the return of Kurt Angle. That was good.

Female Superstar of the Year
Winner: Alexa Bliss

I always hoped I would’ve given this award to Bayley. Nice going Vinnie Mac.

One of the most consistent performers on the female side as well as one of the best heels. We can already see a coming ‘Mania match against Asuka.

Superstar of the Year
Winner: AJ Styles

His booking wasn’t consistent, but he was still treated like the major deal he is. Styles started out hella strong with his classic against Cena. He even managed to carry Shane to something enjoyable.

His match with Finn Balor – while falling behind the Rumble – was one to enjoy. Styles came through for just about the entire year.

In a very uneven 2017, AJ remains one of the brightest spots in WWE.

Runner-Up: Roman Reigns
I know it just kills you to even admit he’s good at anything, but this year was one of his best.

The conclusion to Great Balls of Fire saw Reigns attract a lot of criticism for attempting to ‘kill’ Strowman. Hey, guys like Steve Austin, Shane McMahon, Triple H, and Kane have gone pretty savage too. Hell, The Undertaker admitted to setting the fire that took his parents. Why don’t people talk about that?

Reigns was the one who ‘made’ Strowman. The man can sell like no other.

Yes, his match with Undertaker will be a black mark.

If I had to give an award for Saddest Moment, it would be for ‘Taker’s last hurrah. If the match under-delivered, it was due to Mark Calaway being barely in any shape to perfrom.

One of my longest columns. I’m exhausted.

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