AJ Styles Vs. John Cena, from Royal Rumble 2017, was better than most of Big Match John's Big Matches because his freakish strength was used as a narrative driver, and not something to ignore in service of a near-fall popcorn festival. The leviathan Fatal 4-Way at SummerSlam was very much the insane and spectacular demolition derby WWE promised us. Styles and Lesnar, after inconsistent years, made fools out of SmackDown creative and doubters alike by contesting a phenomenal and totally believable war at Survivor Series.
Prior to their respective break-up and call-ups, #DIY and The Revival crafted several more tag team stunners as athletically exciting as they were psychologically rich. Tomohiro Ishii continued to master the art of ballsy selling in countless dramatic battles. Zack Sabre, Jr. entered what was arguably his best in-ring year yet, grounding Will Ospreay in a recent minimalist masterclass. He still didn't quite make the cut.
Asuka; WALTER; Hiromu Takahashi; Ricochet; the Young Bucks; The Usos; The New Day; Yuji Nagata; Roman Reigns; Braun Strowman; Io Shirai; Shuji Ishikawa: all wrestled matches ranging from excellent to minor classic territory.
In any other year, their superb matches would comprise this list.
This wasn't any other year.
This was arguably the greatest year ever for the grand art of the pro wrestling match.