Retrospecting back on the year 2011, we remember the most memorable and monumental matches in all of WWE history. From John Cena versus CM Punk to Triple H versus The Undertaker, there is no forgetting any of these exhilarating bouts anytime soon.
However, there is always a handful of matches that are overlooked at the conclusion of every year merely due the fact that they occurred on the Internet shows known as WWE Superstars and NXT: Redemption. I understand the fact that neither program may appeal to the casual viewer, but the average amount of pure wrestling that transpires on these shows is sometimes greater than both Raw and SmackDown combined.
While reading WWE.com's Top 25 Matches of 2011, the excellent match between Tyson Kidd and Yoshi Tatsu was enough to make the cut, but was the only shout-out NXT was given on the list. After reminiscing of some of the greatest matches to occur this year on the Internet broadcasts, I beg to differ.
Also, please keep in mind that the following selected bouts are in no way listed from greatest to worst, as that would be too difficult of a task. Nonetheless, let's get ready, Bleach it!
During his lengthy reign as United States champion, Daniel Bryan found himself an enemy to the relentless Tyson Kidd in early 2011. On the way, Bryan was joined by his newfound valet Gail Kim after being discovered by the Bella Twins backstage with the current knockouts champion.
With only days prior to WrestleMania 27, the controversial couple teamed up against the tandem of Tyson Kidd and Melina, a former friend of Kim's who was continuously attempting to humiliate her. Kim and Bryan showed excellent chemistry, even executing simultaneous dropkicks.
After a near-10 minute bout, the star spangled champion was able to force Kidd to submit for the victory. It's unfortunate that the relationship between Kim and Bryan ended so abruptly, as that could have made for one exciting partnership.
Last April, Tyson Kidd was sent packing to SmackDown via the 2011 WWE supplemental draft. It wouldn't be until a few weeks later that he made his official debut for the blue brand on WWE Superstars, facing another adrenaline junkie in Trent Barreta.
However, what was even more exciting was the fact that Kidd had found himself a new manager in the legendary Michael P.S. Hayes. Prior to the bout, Hayes cut a well-delivered promo as to why Kidd is the future of the business given his natural style.
In the end, it was indeed the former WWE tag team champion who emerged victorious following a hard-fought battle against Barreta without the help from Hayes at ringside. Although these two would go on to wrestle many more matches following this particular one, I found this contest the most exhilarating with a fresh feel to it.
For the third consecutive slide, Tyson Kidd once again makes the list, this time for his speculator rubber match against heated rival Yoshi Tatsu. For weeks on end during WWE NXT: Redemption, Tatsu and Kidd were at each other's throats over the fact that the former Hart Dungeon member broke the leg of Tatsu's signature action figure.
Sure, it was a stupid storyline, but it featured excellent back-and-forth wrestling that kept the NXT crowd intrigued for the first time in a good while. After trading victories, the two met in a Leg on a Pole Match that without a doubt exceeded my expectations and later made WWE.com's Top 25 Matches of 2011.
Although the feud would continue soon afterwards with the same material, nothing beats this specific bout that was able to put NXT: Redemption on the map.
As WWE NXT: Redemption progressed, rookie Darren Young began to slowly revert back to his "dark roots" so to speak, proving to the world that he can win the competition without a pro by his side. After going through Titus O'Neil, Young then targeted the host of the show itself, Matt Striker.
Although it took some time, Young was able to convince Striker to step back into his wrestling boots to go head-to-head with the former Nexus member. Given the fact that he hasn't wrestled a match in nearly thee years, Matt Striker was able to provide an impressive performance in this rematch against a determined Darren Young.
Despite his awe-inspiring performance, the former school teacher fell victim to Young following a well-timed counter into the Gut Check. With Striker now limited on commentary and backstage segments, I'd love nothing more than to see Striker be given a roster spot back on SmackDown, even if it meant to help put over younger talent.
After suffering a defeat at the hands of John Morrison in a brutal Falls Count Anywhere match the week prior on Raw, R-Truth looked to seek vengeance against his former tag team partner in the main event of WWE Superstars.
It's quite rare for a feud from one of the main shows to carry over to Superstars, so these two former friends delivered a solid match that was something out of the ordinary for the Thursday afternoon program. From Morrison's flashy offense to Truth's hard-hitting style, their 10-minute-plus bout was not one that should be overlooked.
Sure enough, it was R-Truth who cleanly defeated Morrison to further the Shaman of Sexy's evident losing streak. Nonetheless, this would be the last time these two rivals would ever face off before Morrison's departure from the company a few months later.
Although he may have been Mr. Money in the Bank for a long period of time, Daniel Bryan was still left floundering on SmackDown for months. In light of his consistent losing streak, Bryan returned to WWE Superstars to put an end to his unsuccessful ways against the go-lucky Trent Barreta.
Their similar styles made for an extremely enjoyable match where there was never a dull moment in sight. In this rare clash of faces, both wrestlers were able to shine tremendously with the American Dragon pulling out the victory with the vicious Guillotine choke.
Given Bryan's recent heel turn, fingers crossed we see a rematch take place between these two relatively soon.
Since forming their tag team last fall, Curt Hawkins and Tyler Reks have been hell-bent on making an impact in the tag team division as they keep focus on the WWE Tag Team Championships. In their apparent path of destruction was NXT: Redemption, laying waste to the Usos on multiple occasions.
After defeating the Usos the week prior, Hawkins and Reks looked to once again claim victory. Despite this, the Samoan tandem were able to pull off a double splash from the top rope to get themselves one step closer towards tag team gold.
Why WWE fails to utilize both teams on the main shows more often is beyond me.
Since being moved over to Raw in the 2011 WWE supplemental draft, Drew McIntyre was relegated to WWE Superstars for a lengthy period of time, most of the time coming up short. In a rematch of sorts from a month prior, McIntyre looked to change all that when he took on long-time rival John Morrison in early November.
With Morrison's continuous losing streak no secret as well, the Scottish superstar got lucky in defeating the Shaman of Sexy following a solid contest. Their rivalry back in 2009 further proves as to why both superstars deserve much better, especially in the hunt for the Intercontinental Championship.
As of late, Matt Striker has been inviting NXT alumni back to the show as they approach their 100th episode celebration. Most recently, both Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater made their respective presences known at the start of the show, immediately engaging in a match made by the host Striker.
Although it's been six months since the breakup of the former Corre stablemates, that didn't take away from the intense action at hand. Their chemistry is undeniable and made for an exciting bout that has be highly anticipating a rematch for.
The rivalry continued last Friday night on SmackDown, giving me hope that we might finally see something start to ensue between the former three-time WWE tag team champions.
In what perhaps takes home the award for the greatest WWE match contested on the Internet in 2011, Daniel Bryan and William Regal, the classic wrestling rematch many people have been waiting for. The former mentor and apprentice were able to draw a significant amount of people to WWE Superstars that night just for that spectacular contest.
Before the match even began, it should be noted that not only did Bryan debut the new entrance music he has now, but Regal also made his way down to the ring to his former theme entitled "A Real Man's Man." By this point, I was smirking from ear to ear, especially since Bryan and Regal did the same.
What made this match even more special was the fact that is occurred in England, the homeland of William Regal himself and the crowd being a great supporter of the work of Daniel Bryan, even being booed due to their love for Regal.
Predictably, it was the American Dragon who forced his mentor to submit, but it was Regal who raised the hand of his protege following the contest in a sign of great respect. Hell, even Lance Storm tweeted that he thoroughly enjoyed the match and was surprised that WWE featured wrestling for once.
Wade Barrett vs. Trent Barreta: August 18, 2011—During Wade Barrett's "downtime" this past summer, he made a minor appearance on WWE Superstars to compete against Trent Barreta. I merely expected a squash, but instead was treated to a very cool finish.
Drew McIntyre vs. Ted DiBiase: November 24, 2011—As two rising, young stars in the WWE, Ted DiBiase and Drew McIntyre were able to provide a strong opening match on the Thanksgiving edition of WWE Superstars.
Drew McIntyre vs. Daniel Bryan: August 25, 2011—In one of the most electric matches mentioned on this list, Daniel Bryan and Drew McIntyre pulled out all the stops in their WWE Superstars encounter that saw Bryan pull out the victory.
Daniel Bryan vs. Heath Slater: October 4, 2011—Both Daniel Bryan and Heath Slater always seem to have great matches together given their chemistry inside the squared circle. Their surprise bout on WWE NXT was a pleasant surprise that gave Bryan a much-needed victory.
Thanks for reading, Bleachers, and make sure to drop a comment below with your thoughts on the list as well as any additional matches you believe I may have forgotten to include. As always, your criticism and overall feedback is greatly appreciated.
Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant and Spoilers podcasts for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, rumors, reviews and more. Follow me on Twitter @SAVE_US_GSM.