Who is the WWE MVP of 2017?
2017 has seen the rise of many new and re-cemented stars in WWE, from the rise of "The Monster Among Men" Braun Strowman, to Brock Lesnar and Goldberg battling over the Universal Championship and even to Jinder Mahal, who had a lengthy 6-month title reign as WWE Champion this year.
WWE's flagship show Monday Night Raw has seen many intertwined storylines, such as the ever-growing tension between The Authority and Kurt Angle, and his illegitimate son Jason Jordan. Braun Strowman has fought nearly anyone and everyone on Monday nights, and Roman Reigns went from retiring The Undertaker all the way to reuniting The Shield and becoming a Grand Slam champion with his Intercontinental Championship win in November.
Likewise, Smackdown Live has elevated the United States Championship's prestige in 2017 in the hands of the likes of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, and the former shockingly uniting with his archenemy Sami Zayn to question the authority and reign of Shane McMahon as commissioner of the blue brand.
McMahon himself has had some growing dissent with his general manager Daniel Bryan, which we are sure to boil over to a potential and perhaps eventual fight for control of Smackdown Live in 2018.
Jinder Mahal shocked the WWE Universe when he defeated the 14-time world champion Randy Orton at Backlash, and has defeated him and Shinsuke Nakamura, who himself has had a stellar debut year in WWE. Yet, the MVP of not only the blue brand, but the entire company is the man who has put Smackdown Live and the company on his back heading onto the Road to Wrestlemania and into the new year: The Champ that Runs the Place, the new face that runs the place, AJ Styles.
AJ Styles has been ALL OVER the WWE in 2017, not just in the main event scene. Starting off the year by putting on one of the year's best (and this author's favourite) matches of 2017 with John Cena, Styles was destined to have an MVP year in his sophomore season in the WWE.
While he lost the WWE Championship, Styles had a heated rivalry and put on a stellar match with Shane McMahon to open Wrestlemania 33 in Orlando. Going from there, he quickly rose up the ranks and became the #1 contender to Kevin Owens' United States Championship.
Styles eventually defeated Owens for the US title at Madison Square Garden.
As United States Champion, Styles put on solid matches throughout the summer and into fall with the likes of Owens, an impromptu return by former rival Chris Jericho, Tye Dillinger and the eventual man to dethrone him, Baron Corbin.
Styles did not take the US title loss hard, as he soon set his sights on Jinder Mahal's WWE Championship shortly after. Styles then did what no previous challenger could: he overcame the odds, and even with the help of the Singh Brothers and other roadblocks, he defeated Jinder Mahal in November in the United Kingdom to head into Survivor Series to face The Beast and reigning Universal champion, Brock Lesnar.
AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar put on one of the best matches of the year in the semi-main event of Survivor Series, pushing The Beast Incarnate to the absolute limit and having Lesnar reeling on the ropes throughout the match. It was without a doubt Lesnar's most competitive match in 2017, and Paul Heyman praised Styles as "the best" in the world at performing and entertaining today.
Fast forward to December, where he successfully retained the WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal at Clash of Champions, and looks to be the flagbearer for Smackdown Live in 2018, the undisputed face that runs the place.
His constant high-profile contests and the fact that Styles was a major player in any storyline he was featured in throughout the year, along with putting on fantastic matches out of Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens, John Cena and more which just proves that Styles is not only the most valuable asset in the WWE, but perhaps the most valuable player in the entire world of professional wrestling and sports entertainment today.