All day I was ready to call this article Ring of Dishonor and then the WWE threw the kind of curve ball that froze Carlos Beltran in the 2006 NLCS. Anyone watching Night of Champions expected it to be a vintage WWE pay-per-view meant to give us fan-blue-balls. Every internet wrestling message board predicted Randy Orton to win on some bullshit so one day, when Daniel Bryan finally won after months of overcoming, fans would explode in a salacious YES chant that’s a cross between Bryan and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.
The moment referee Scott Armstrong’s hand came down for a three count, I don’t know if many believed Daniel Bryan would be holding the WWE championship for long. I expected King of Kings to play and watch Triple H condescend the strap right off of Bryan’s shoulder because the ref’s count was too fast or the timekeeper shit on the floor and you can’t have shit within 2,000 feet of a camera for a PG show.
If Triple H came out and said the match was a no-decision because of faulty refereeing, he would have a good case. That three count was pretty quick. I don’t know if Armstrong counted fast because he’s injured, or because, like all Scott’s, he’s just a dick. (Lessons learned from South Park.) What I do know is he has a history of being a heel referee and I thought he was at it again. (If you didn’t know that then you shouldn’t be surprised. South Park told us years ago Scotts are dicks) Armstrong once rung the bell in favor of then champion CM Punk in a submission match between he and the Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Title a few years ago. Nobody was behind the screw job either. Armstrong just felt like being a dick.
I was terrified Armstrong had a relapse and got sloppy drunk with power giving the Game good enough reason to put the title back on Randy Orton -the man with 1,004 monotone faces. I’m curious as to how many fans held their breath waiting for the WWE logo to pop up signifying it was safe to celebrate. The moment was wrestling’s I Am Legend. Triple H was the zombies and the logo was the sunshine the undead couldn’t be out in. Thankfully Odin showed kindness to Bryan and allowed his championship reign to begin.
Side Note: Had Triple H come out to overturn the referee’s fast three count, this would’ve been the third time Daniel Bryan fell victim to having a world title removed moments after winning. The first incident was in 2011 when Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank contract against Mark Henry. Teddy Long reversed the decision because he was not medically cleared to wrestle. The second time was of course last month at SummerSlam.
The last time we saw an Indian-Giving-WWE-Championship-Take-Back-Finish after a quick three was thirteen years ago when Triple H lost the WWF title to Chris Jericho. Just like today, the Game was running the show. About an hour after losing the title Triple H forced referee Earl Hebner to reverse the decision. Right now the WWE is in recycling mode and it seemed as if they were going to recycle that particular Monday Night Raw finish. (Which hey, the recycling isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to revisit an ex for the night during a slump.)
The WWE has been so consistent with recycling the Attitude Era since the Game’s heel turn at SummerSlam, it was surprising Daniel Bryan didn’t get Jericho’d. For the past month Triple H has been running WWE the same way Vince McMahon ran the corporation during the wild west of professional wrestling. (Let me know if this sounds familiar.) Back then an underdog by the name of Mick Foley challenged the Corporate champion known as the Rock. Mr. McMahon wanted the Rock as champion because it was “good for business.” According to him, Mankind, a broken down mess who orgasmed at pain, wasn’t the type of poster boy you can sell on t-shirts or put on the cover of magazines week in and week out. Triple H and Stephanie have said the same exact things about Bryan but in a PG fashion. If they’re willing to have a Corporation rewind, I didn’t put it past them to have the same kind of McMahon-Helmsley-Indian-Giving-WWE-Take-Back-Finish Jericho was put through. Thankfully they didn’t… At least it didn’t happen yet. There is always Raw.
Vince McMahon’s product is so laced with genius, WWE probably wanted fans to believe Bryan would chase the strap for months. This formula is the same whether professional wrestling takes place in a bingo hall or an arena. It wouldn’t surprise me if WWE writers purposely messed with our Pavlov’d wrestling fan heads so they can pull a Roddy Piper and change all the questions just when we thought we knew all the answers. Thankfully wrestling fans didn’t know shit. (If we could predict the future I doubt Monday Night Raw would be the longest running weekly episodic show on television.) Daniel Bryan winning the title back after a month is a comeuppance record in professional wrestling. Either WWE writers wanted to get this story over with or we’re witnessing the change Obama CM Punk promised us in Las Vegas two years back.
Now if this story is shades of Mick Foley vs. the Corporation then Daniel Bryan should be gearing up for three championship reigns that total up to less than a month. Who knows where the WWE is headed though. Trying to predict it is like attempting to wrap your head around the idea that the universe is infinitely sized. Your head will explode if you try for too long.
WWE Night of Champions Results:
Daniel Bryan def. WWE Champion Randy Orton
Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. Kofi Kingston
Paul Heyman & Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel def. CM Punk (No Disqualification Handicap Elimination Match)
The Prime Time Players def. The Usos, Tons of Funk, The Real Americans and 3MB (Tag Team Turmoil No. 1 Contender’s Match on Pre-Show)
Tag Team Champions The Shield def. The Prime Time Players
Rob Van Dam def. World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio (Disqualification)
Divas Champion AJ Lee wis Fatal 4-Way Match
United States Champion Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler
The Miz def. Fandango
Wrestling Fan Board Argument of the Night:
Mike V: It was an awful P.P.V. event. I’m 35 and have watched wrestling religiously for 30 years. This was very disappointing.
Anonymous: Then stab yourself.