Happy New Year! Before we turn the calendar to 2016, it’s time to look back and reflect on the year that was in our beloved WWE. Several matches entertained and electrified, but this piece will highlight the best of the best. Let’s get to it!
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order)
NXT Championship: Kevin Owens vs. Finn Balor – The Beast in the East: This was an important match for the future of NXT at the peak of “Owens fever.” Balor winning the title in Japan was a great moment, and the streamers added a nice touch.
U.S. Championship Open Challenge: John Cena vs. Sami Zayn – Raw, May 4: Zayn answering the challenge after being introduced by Bret Hart in his hometown of Montreal was one of the most memorable Raw moments in 2015. Despite his injury early on, Zayn still put on a heck of a performance.
Chris Jericho vs. Neville – The Beast in the East: These two put on one of the cleanest, crispest matches of the year – a real hidden gem of a match.
WWE/U.S. Championship: Seth Rollins vs. John Cena – Summerslam: Though the Jon Stewart interference knocks this one down a few pegs, this was still a highly entertaining back-and-forth contest that displayed both men’s athletic prowess.
Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar, Hell in a Cell: A brutal bout that settled the score between these two behemoths of the wrestling world. This match stands out as one of the most physical, dramatic brawls of the year.
Triple H vs. Sting, WrestleMania 31: Sure, this match was booked into a jumbled mess. Taken for what it was, it was an enjoyable homage to the height of wrestling popularity. Plus, how can you not get chills at seeing the Stinger in a WWE ring?
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt – Hell in a Cell: Bray Wyatt deserves a lot of credit for helping Roman Reigns out this year. This contest was an excellent combination of hardcore wrestling and storytelling, and marked the culmination of their program emphatically.
Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin Thunder Liger – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn: Triple H’s willingness to bring in stars from other promotions has been a breath of fresh air. The opening contest to what some would call the greatest show of the year was fun and fast-paced.
Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match – WrestleMania 31: What could’ve been a jumbled, overbooked mess came across as organized chaos without a second of downtime. Luke Harper powerbombing Dean Ambrose through a ladder, and the headbutt contest between Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler were phenomenally well-executed moments.
NXT Women’s Championship: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley – NXT TakeOver: Rival: The Four Horsewomen, as they would come to be known as, initiated the “Divas Revolution” in NXT. This was yet another match that proved that whatever these four touch turns to gold.