A relentless Daniel Bryan one-upped his corporate opponent Randy Orton in every way at the WWE Night of Champions PPV, but when he got the cover to become new WWE Champion, the only thing I could think of was … that was a fast count!
The solid B became an A when Bryan outsmarted Orton and hung him upside down on the turnbuckle. He connected with a vicious leg drop and clambered his way up to deliver a back Suplex on “the face of the WWE”. Bryan’s unique offense shined through when he was then able to hang on after the top rope maneuver and quickly hit the Flying Headbutt. Though he’d only get a 2 count, momentum was on his side. He took a T-Bone Suplex in his stride, and managed to escape the RKO to unleash the running Knee for the finish. But it’s that finish that could throw another spanner in the works.
No matter how you slice it the referee’s three count at the end of the match was fast. Now obviously this could have been fast because that’s just how it went down, or for added excitement. Wrestling refs have always counted fast for finishes (particularly the original ECW) to add to the pop. However it is also possible that the fast count is all part of the Daniel Bryan underdog storyline. Perhaps the ref foolishly wanted to ensure Bryan got revenge without thinking of the wider repercussions?
“I’m ready for them to throw whatever they got at me [on RAW],” Bryan said in a WWE.com interview. “I know they don’t want me to be WWE Champion, but I’m going to do my best to hold onto this thing as long as I can.”
Triple H and corporate Champion Orton may use this as a loophole on tonight’s RAW to demand Bryan hand back the title because he won it unfairly, and Bryan can continue “the chase” leading to more high profile matches down the line. I personally always thought this would be a long term program, where Bryan wouldn’t get back the belt until months later.
Some fans have continually maintained that Bryan is being buried in the storyline and should have remained Champion after defeating John Cena. I disagree and feel much more mileage has been created out of prolonging his rise to the top. Though he’s been dominated, this has always been unfairly, which takes nothing away from his character. There does obviously have to be a payoff with Bryan overcoming and humiliating his adversaries (something many don’t have faith in happening), but having him featured week after week in awesome main events in the meantime is not “burying”. He gets the best reaction on the show!
The fact that he won the title again at Night of Champions should be enough evidence that there’s faith there, even if there is a “loophole” that allows Orton to take it back. Lets not forget this is a work, and Bryan is at the top of the card.
In my opinion the only person that can be remotely described as being buried is Orton! He had to have Triple H’s help to win the belt after Bryan had already endured a full blown match with Cena, and has then been overshadowed week after week on the mic by Hunter, who had the gall to call him “the future” as if his previous title reigns were meaningless. Then losing to Bryan clean at the PPV, regardless of the storyline outcome, makes him the weaker character out of the bunch.
If the promotion has decided to go with Bryan as Champion then it’s now time for him to start getting the better of Triple H and Orton. If he doesn’t then there was no point in giving him the belt yet. He should emerge as a locker room leader, and front the fight against the Corporation leading to some kind of team effort at Battleground. The new branding certainly suggests something like a War Games style match could take place, even if no actual cage or structure is used.
- Kick Off Show: The Prime Time Players def Tons of Funk, The Usos, 3MB (Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre) and The Real Americans to earn a shot at The Shield later on.
- Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. Kofi Kingston.
- AJ Lee retained the Divas Championship against Natalya, Brie Bella and Naomi.
- RVD def. Alberto Del Rio by DQ, when Del Rio refused to let go of the Cross Armbreaker, despite RVD getting to the ropes. RVD then fought back with a Steel Chair Van Daminator
- The Miz def. Fandango with the Figure Four.
- No Disqualification Elimination Handicap match: Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman def. CM Punk. DUring the match Punk got to Heyman, but before a final blow Ryback interfered and left Punk down for the count.
- US Title: Dean Ambrose (c) def. Dolph Ziggler.
- Tag Titles: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns def. The Prime Time Players.
- Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton to win the WWE Championship.