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5 Best WWE Matches Of 2016.

The past 12 months have certainly been an interesting time for professional wrestling, especially in WWE. It seemed like there were more matches than ever because of the (http://www.ibtimes.com/wwe-draft-2016-results-raw-smackdown-rosters-where-did-john-cena-brock-lesnar-seth-2392990) brand split , leaving several "match of the year" candidates for 2016.

There were so many good matches in WWE this year that some of the company's best moments didn't even come on pay-per-view. The (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TezwU7Hccs) Falls Count Anywhere Match between Sasha Banks and Charlotte was probably the best "Monday Night Raw" match of 2016, while the(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CsdbVZZEds) fatal 4-way  match on the night after WrestleMania 32 also stands out. NXT featured some of the greatest matches for any promotion, most notably Sami Zayn vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT TakeOver: Dallas and The Revival vs. DIY at NXT TakeOver: Toronto.

When looking at the best matches on WWE's main roster in 2016, five stand out among the rest.

5) AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose (TLC)

Styles and Ambrose fought over the WWE World Championship for the final quarter of 2016, and their TLC match was the best of their feud. It also included the best use of James Ellsworth, who inexplicably enhanced the feud between two of the top stars on "SmackDown."

Styles has delivered terrific matches at each PPV, and it was only fitting for him to close out 2016 with another top notch performance. The two wrestlers did battle for more than 30 minutes, taking brutal bumps throughout the match. Ambrose put Styles through the announcers' table with a flying elbow off a ladder, and he even threw a ladder at Styles outside of the ring. But Ambrose took the night's biggest bump when Ellsworth sent him flying off a ladder and through two tables, allowing Styles to grab the belt.

4) The Miz vs. Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn (Extreme Rules)

It's hard to think of a better fatal 4-way match in the last few years than this one. The Miz retained the Intercontinental Championship, but all four superstars left the PPV looking strong.

The match featured constant action, with every wrestler hitting their finisher and perfectly timed near falls. The feud between Owens and Zayn made for an interesting subplot, and Zayn's hatred for his rival ultimately cost him the title. The Miz was able to pin Cesaro as Owens and Zayn fought outside the ring, though Cesaro made The Miz tap to a Sharpshooter earlier when the referee was distracted by Maryse.

3) Charlotte Flair vs. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (WrestleMania 32)

On a (http://www.ibtimes.com/wwe-2016-wrestlemania-32-results-recap-video-every-match-card-2347753) WrestleMania card that was largely disappointing, the triple-threat match for the Women's Championship exceeded all expectations. It was the culmination of WWE's "Diva's Revolution" as the women put on the best match of WWE's biggest show in 2016.

Charlotte was spectacular in retaining her title, highlighting the match with a moonsault to the outside of the ring that took out both Sasha and Becky. Sasha paid homage to Eddie Guerrero with a frog splash, and she nearly won the title by locking Becky into a Bank Statement towards the end of the match. But Charlotte tossed Sasha out of the ring and submitted Becky with a Figure-Eight Leglock, continuing what was probably the best year for any female wrestler in WWE history.

2) Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (Battleground)

In one of the longest-running feuds in recent WWE history, the saga of Zayn vs. Owens came to a satisfying conclusion (at least for the moment) at WWE Battleground. Starting with his NXT debut on Dec. 11, 2014, Owens continually got the better of his former best friend, until Zayn finally got his revenge at the July 24 PPV.

The match ended after Zayn hit three straight supplexes and back-to-back Helluva Kicks, but the build towards the finish is what really made it one of the year's best. The two superstars traded brutal blows for more than 18 minutes in the night's longest match, as Zayn endured multiple Superkicks and Owens was hit with a brainbuster on the apron. It's matches like this one that have many WWE fans hoping that Zayn and Owens will one day fight for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania.

1) AJ Styles vs. John Cena (SummerSlam)

There were no titles on the line or any stipulations, but championships and gimmicks weren't needed in order to make this the No.1 match of the year. WWE's top wrestler of 2016 and the face of the company were at their best when they went head-to-head at Barclays Center at the year's (http://www.ibtimes.com/wwe-summerslam-2016-results-recap-every-match-card-video-2405290) second-biggest PPV.

In a war that lasted more than 23 minutes, both wrestlers threw everything they had at one another. Cena was unable to win with an Attitude Adjustment or an STF. Styles didn't win after hitting a Styles Clash or locking in a Calf Crusher, and he even hit an Attitude Adjustment of his own that didn't score a pinfall. The tension continued to build with each near fall, and it wasn't until Styles hit a Styles Clash and a Phenomenal Forearm in succession that the match finally came to an end. Cena rarely loses clean, but Styles more than earned his victory over WWE's top star.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Dec 26, 2016
Words:889
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