WWE: 10 best matches of 2016

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There were plenty of great matches in WWE this past year. Here’s a look at the top 10 WWE bouts of 2016.

As 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look back at some of the incredible matches that took place this past year, and there were a lot to choose from. Between 15 pay-per-view events, tied for the second-most in history, Monday Night RAW and Smackdown Live, the WWE Universe was treated to many memorable encounters. And let’s not forget about NXT. However, with all of the amazing matches that we saw from that brand this year, they may have taken up nearly half of the spots on this list so we’ll have a top 10 NXT matches list later this week, so make sure to check back in with FanSided for that.

But for now, let’s stick to the main WWE roster. Now, any list like this is going to be subjective. Each member of the WWE Universe has their own criteria for what makes a great match. Maybe you like how a crowd reacts. Maybe you just prefer the matches of one particular wrestler. Or maybe you just don’t like somebody and refuse to accept that he or she can put on a great match. For instance, you may not like that I’ve got both Roman Reigns and John Cena on this list. But the fact remains that whether you like a WWE superstar or not, you have to take everything into account, even those matches in which the finish may not be perfect, and decide if you’ve been entertained. And that’s what I’ve tried to do here.

I like matches to tell me a story. Most of the great matches in WWE history have been able to do that and I think that the ten I have listed here accomplished that. And there’s going to be some matches that you may have loved that I didn’t, and once you’re done reading this, I want you to tell me in the comments section why I should have included it. And that’s the fun part. Take any wrestling fan and ask him or her to put together their top 10 matches of the year and you’d likely get millions of different combinations.

With that being said, here’s my list of the top 10 WWE matches of 2016.

Honorable Mention

  • Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose-Royal Rumble
  • Fatal 4-Way WWE World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contender’s Match (AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro) –Monday Night RAW, April 4
  • Sasha Banks vs. Charlotte-Monday Night RAW, July 25
  • AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose-WWE Backlash
  • Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz-WWE No Mercy

10. AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns – Extreme Rules

Following a lackluster main event at WrestleMania a few weeks earlier, Roman Reigns defended his newly-won WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Payback against AJ Styles, who won his spot in this match in a Fatal 4-Way number one contender’s match that just about made this list. Styles came very close to winning the title and was granted a rematch at Extreme Rules just a few weeks later and the result was a high-quality encounter that made both participants look very good. And even knowing that Anderson and Gallows and The Usos were likely going to get involved didn’t really matter.

The buildup to this match was done very well, and once it came time for this Extreme Rules match, you knew that if done correctly that this could be a great match and that’s exactly what happened. AJ Styles took a lot of punishment in this match and endured some crazy bumps throughout, including going through not one but two broadcast tables, one via backdrop and another via powerbomb. But that didn’t keep Styles from getting his own offense in, hitting Reigns with the Phenomenal Forearm from the pre-show table and a couple of Styles Clashes late in the bout, including one onto a steel chair. For a minute there, it almost looked like Reigns was going to drop the belt but “The Guy” ended up getting the victory after a solid finish saw him hit a spear as Styles went for another forearm. And yes, Anderson and Gallows and The Usos did play a part in this match but it only helped the story and the outside interference may have actually strengthened this match.

This was a hard-hitting and very intense battle, which it should have been seeing how it was at Extreme Rules, but it wasn’t even the best match of the night (more on that later). Oh yeah, Seth Rollins came back after the match as well for a nice post-match moment, but what should come out of that match is the show that Styles and Reigns were able to put on. Good chemistry here.