Five Must-See Wrestling Matches From September 2017
In 2017, there is more wrestling being produced than there has ever been. So much, that it has become somewhat overwhelming to keep track of where the best matches are happening. There's something for everyone in the wrestling world today. However, no matter if you're a hardcore fan or someone looking to get into wrestling for the first time, it can be a little difficult finding a place to start. Luckily for you, I've handpicked five great matches from the month of September that are worth tracking down and re-watching, or experiencing for the first time.
5. Bianca Belair vs Kairi Sane (Mae Young Classic 9/4/17)
In the second round of the inaugural Mae Young Classic this year we were treated to one of the best matches of the tournament. The hype behind Kairi Sane competing in WWE was strong this summer, however the same could not be said about Bianca Belair. However with just a few NXT appearances and only one year of pro wrestling experience under her belt, Bianca Belair left this match looking like a seasoned pro. Belair using her knee-lenght pony tail as a weapon against Sane garnered the biggest heel heat of the entire tournament. That was in part due to Kairi Sane being such a believable babyface throughout this match. Fighting with a 6 inch height disadvantage, Sane did an amazing job at making Belair look strong. A comedic highlight of the match came when Sane caught a kiss Belair blew and proceeded to stomp it into the ring. An amazing 450 splash from Bianca Belair almost caused the hugest upset of the Mae Young Classic and gave us the wonderful shot of Belair's "holy shit how did you kick out" face. So much has been said about Kairi Sane following her win of the MYC, but this match is worth revisiting and Bianca Belair proved that she's a rookie worth investing in.
4. AJ Styles vs Tye Dillinger (Sin City Smackdown Live 9/12/17)
The WWE United States Championship has had a strange summer. There weren't many title defenses that didn't involve questionable shenanigans. Luckily, besides a brief appearance by Baron Corbin, the shenanigans in this match were minimal. AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger put on a competitive back & forth that stayed true to their characters and never lagged. Even Corbin's aforementioned cameo during the match came and went so fast that you were able to see an advancement in the Styles/Corbin feud while still being able to invest in the match in front of you. I don't think anyone was expecting Dillinger to walk away with AJ Style's US Championship, but there were points during the match where that outcome looked possible. Everything about this match felt like a main eventer giving a midcarder a credible loss and that's exactly what happened. Tye Dillinger left looking like a strong contender even in defeat (like someone else on this list we'll get to later) and AJ Styles is AJ Styles.
3. Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly vs Trent Seven & Tyler Bate (NXT 9/20/17)
I am going to be completely honest here: I love Tyler Bate. I also love the super charismatic Trent Seven. So I was delighted when the seeds were sewn on the September 9th edition of NXT for this tag team match to happen. Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish had already made singles match appearances but this was their first outing as a tag team on NXT television. A win for the former Ring of Honor tag team champs was necessary to legitimize the newly formed Undisputed Era stable. However, Mustache Mountain are no push-overs. Seven spent the first half of the match trading offense with both Fish and O'Reily before channeling Kazuchika Okada with a short-arm clothesline on Bobby Fish. The respective tags that followed allowed Tyler Bate to show off his strength with an amazing dead-lift German suplex and an exploder suplex after catching the 200 pound Kyle O'Reilly mid-air. O'Reilly's counter of the Tyler Driver '97 into a guillotine looked effortless and gave us a further look into his mixed martial arts skill set. After amazing tag team action from all four participants, it was the fifth man that proved to be the equalizer. Adam Cole (BAY-BAY) delivered a super kick to Tyler Bate, allowing Fish & O'Reilly to focus on Trent Seven to pick up the win. With post-match appearances by both NXT Champion Drew McIntyre and NXT Tag Team Champions Sanity, this match progressed several storylines while not sacrificing in-ring action.
2. Kenny Omega vs Juice Robinson (Destruction in Kobe 9/24/17)
"You are going to see legendary defenses." That's what Kenny Omega declared after his victory in this summer's Long Beach tournament that crowned him the inaugural IWGP United States Champion. After watching Omega's first defense against Juice Robinson, it's hard to argue his point. The major story going into this match was that of Kenny Omega's recent knee surgery. With just two weeks to recover from a lateral meniscus injury to his left knee, many were questioning if Omega would be able to perform to the standard he has set for himself in 2017. Others were wondering if a title defense against someone like Juice Robinson was even worth the risk. All of that worry proved to be for naught.
Kenny Omega's knee seemed to be working just fine and Juice Robinson delivered an impressive outing that cemented his position as a credible contender.It was said that Juice wanted "to wrestle the title away from Omega", and not go after the injured knee. The opening moments of the match reinforced this when Juice Robinson passed up an opportunity to target the left knee. An opportunity he would be forced to resort to later in the match. After Omega's second attempt at the One-Winged Angel, Robinson's chop block and subsequent attacks on Omega's left leg were met with boos from the Kobe crowd. After a "fluke victory" over the US Champ in this summer's G1 tournament, it was clear that Juice Robinson had something to prove going into this match. Juice pulled out everything he had against a man regarded by many as the best wrestler in the world, however, a win simply wasn't to be. Like Tye Dillinger, Robinson came out looking strong even in defeat. Kenny Omega had to resort to a middle rope One-Winged Angel to put away the first challenger for his United States Championship. This solidified Omega's claim of "legendary defenses" and Juice Robinson's spot as a future champion somewhere in the company.
1. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs The Bar (No Mercy 9/24/17)
In the lead-up to No Mercy 2017 we were beat over the head with the phrase "Wrestlemania worthy". Although that was used to describe the dual main events of Lesnar vs Strowman and Cena vs Reigns, this tag team title match proved to be the only Wrestlemania-caliber bout on the card. If I would have told you 18 months ago that struggling mid-carders Sheamus & Cesaro would be putting on the match of the night against a freshly reunited Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins for the tag titles, I would be laughed out of the building. Sheamus & Cesaro's tag team chemistry has blossomed so much following their oddball pairing after the conclusion of their best of seven series late last summer. Going into the match, much of the story was focused on how The Bar were a better formed tag team because of the trials they went through to get to where they're currently at in the division.
The Bar's partnership was forged in fire, while the former Shield brothers were fooling themselves with this mini-reunion. In The Bar's mind, Rollins & Ambrose were destined to fail because of their rocky history with each other pre-reunion. This translated to the audience before the bell even rang with Rollins and Ambrose, despite being tag team champions, entering separately. The Bar on the other hand, made their usual tandem entrance, complete with those awesome matching jackets. This story continued for much of the early parts of the match with The Bar's frequent tags and isolated offense on Dean Ambrose. The tides (and my stomach TBH) finally turned when Dean Ambrose sling-shotted Cesaro into a ring post, causing Cesaro's front teeth to be lodged 2 millimeters into his gums.
It's been reported that Cesaro received a standing ovation from the locker room after continuing to compete for over 10 minutes following this injury and it's well deserved. Immediately after the incident, he was forced to endure one of Seth Rollins' trademark hot tags, including a boot to the face and kick to the jaw before Sheamus could get back into the ring. If the offense of The Bar was effected at all by Cesaro's injury, it was hard to tell. Sheamus & Cesaro continued their assault which included a callback to their Summerslam encounter with Dean & Seth. After attempting to hit Cesaro with a top-rope Frankensteiner, Seth Rollins was caught and powerbombed onto a prone Dean Ambrose, who had just taken White Noise from Sheamus a second earlier. After weeks of doubting the validity of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins as a tag team, it was a miscue from The Bar that set the stage for Ambrose & Rollins' victory. While aiming for Dean Amrose, Sheamus instead hit Cesaro with his patented Brogue Kick, allowing Rollins and Ambrose to hit Sheamus with both of their finishers. Even without the unfortunate injury to The Swiss Cyborg, this match was one of WWE's best tag team bouts of the year.