One more year full of excitement is coming to an end in the WWE universe. This 2016 has been a year of risings and returns – meaning that the new stars rose up and many of the old ones came back. The old stars proved to everyone they still got what it takes and that they still can get the audience worked up while the newer ones managed to create and expand their own fan bases. But to cut this thing short, here are some highlights from this year. Enjoy!
1. Return of Shane McMahon
At this time boos echoed around the stadium because that was when Vince McMahon announced daughter Stephanie’s name for the Legacy of Excellence award, but it was all cut short with the entry of Mr. McMahon’s son Shane McMahon. Shane later had to battle it out with the Undertaker for control of Raw. Unfortunately, he lost the match, but his return had massive consequence, one of which was the brand split that led to Shane heading towards Smackdown with Daniel Bryan.
2. Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
When Goldberg returned, it was just as shocking as what happened in the match where he fought Brock Lesnar. This was a type of duel where you had The Beast and a man who has been out of the ring for almost a decade. But then something strange happened, two spears was all it took for Goldberg to knock down Lesnar on his back and the fight was over in seconds. Goldberg said that he was ready for one last title run and announced himself for Royal Rumble 2017.
3. Daniel Bryan retirement
Things like this happen more often than you would think. One superstar comes out of retirement, and the other decides to walk down that road. Bryan is undoubtedly one of the most popular wrestlers of his generation, and on February 8, emotionally, announced that he was hanging up his boots. Medical reasons are what forced him to end a career that had four world championship reigns.
4. Finn Balor debut
Finn Balor has been heading towards WWE NXT for a significant period of time, and his performances were well received, and thanks to that he was snapped by Raw during the Draft. His debut was an impressive one beating Rusev, Cesaro and Kevin Owens in a Fatal Four-Way and Roman Reigns in singles which took him to a Universal Title match against Seth Rollins at SummerSlam. Balor won that one as well, but unfortunately, he had to relinquish the belt one day later after dislocating his shoulder. But nevertheless, it looks like Balor might just be here to stay.
5. Kevin Owens becomes Universal Champion
If you recall, Kevin Owens defeated Adrian Neville to join in the four-way tie for the Universal Championship. He managed to win against Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Big Cass and thanks to that he won his first world title. He had finally represented himself on the big stage, albeit with some help from Triple H.
6. AJ Styles debut at the Royal Rumble
AJ Styles is definitely one of the most talented professional wrestlers. He entered the Rumble at number 3 and had a strong showing. He would then go on to face Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 32 before having a feud with John Cena and capturing the WWE title itself. Styles is now one of the most important names in the SmackDown brand.
7. Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold and Mick Foley walk up against “League of Nations”
This one was meant for the fans of the WWF and the Attitude Era, and as it turned out, there were quite a few. All three have been inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and the crowd went berserk when each of their entry songs was played, as expected. This was an answer to a proclamation made by the “League of Nations” (Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus, Wade Barrett and Rusev) that no three men in history could take them on.