Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton fall short...again
The tag team title match at Payback was easily the second best match of the night, which should be no surprise. Nor should the fact that Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton once again fell in defeat at the hands of The Shield.
Bryan exploded into the match with tremendous energy and aggression, popping the Chicago crowd in the process. As he has in recent weeks, Bryan had no problem with dispatching of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins by himself but, again, it was miscommunication with partner Orton that would prove to be the babyface's downfall.
The loss brings Daniel Bryan one step closer to a major singles push and should bring to a close the Team Hell No/Randy Orton chapter of The Shield's story.
AJ wins gold, crushes Kaitlyn
In the best Divas title match in years, AJ Lee and Kaitlyn delivered phenomenal performances and masterfully told a story that kept fans intrigued and entertained.
Kaitlyn, an emotional wreck following the revelation of her "secret admirer" on last week's Raw, allowed her feelings to get the best of her. Late in the bout, she delivered a hellish spear that knocked AJ unconscious. Instead of covering her for the win, she opted to lift the lifeless challenger's head off the mat and, mocking something from earlier in the match, blow her a kiss. When she finally did cover, AJ kicked out.
Moments later, Kaitlyn charged at AJ in the corner but connected head-first with the middle turnbuckle. AJ would apply the Black Widow and pick up the submission win, to the delight of the fans in Chicago, despite being the heel in the match.
Kaitlyn would spend the minutes immediately after the bout crying and needing to be consoled by fellow former Divas champion Layla before heading to the back.
The result of the match seems to indicate a new direction for the Kaitlyn character, who is emotionally drained and heading for a breakdown, not unlike the one AJ endured through most of 2012. Meanwhile, the new Divas champion has seen her hard work pay off and is now the unquestioned top female performer in World Wrestling Entertainment.
Alberto Del Rio defeated Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight title on Sunday night but, more importantly than the match result was what happened over the course of the bout and immediately afterward.
Del Rio was so focused on winning back the World title, so obsessed with recapturing the title he unfairly lost the night after WrestleMania, that he targeted the head of his opponent, exploiting the very real concussion Ziggler had suffered over a month earlier. He was relentless, ruthless and merciless in his attack and it was the best heel performance of Del Rio's career.
Even though ADR entered the show as a babyface.
Conversely, Ziggler garnered fantastic sympathy and support from a crowd that was already cheering him to begin with but sided with him completely after buying into the story being told. He was the resilient champion, fighting through the potentially-life threatening injury in an attempt to retain the title he worked so hard to have the right to hold.
With each kick, the boos for Del Rio grew while the cheers for some sort of Buffalo Bills-esque comeback by Dolph increased.
But there was no comeback. Del Rio acknowledged the boos and seemed to take some sort of perverse joy in delivering each kick to Ziggler's head. The final one, a short side kick, would result in Del Rio's second World title reign and the most heat he has had in over a year.
As the fallen former champion rolled out of the ring, tears flowed freely down AJ's face while the Chicago audience showed their respect for Dolph, unleashing a loud "Ziggler" chant.
After the bout, Del Rio reappeared and pandered to the crowd. He said he did everything for the fans and wanted them to give it up for him as their new champion. It came across as insincere and disingenuous and, after his actions moments earlier, the Chicago fans in attendance rained down on him with a chorus of boos.