Heading into SummerSlam Daniel Bryan was unquestionably the hottest thing going in WWE, and the company capitalized on that momentum, as he defeated John Cena to become the new WWE champion on Sunday.
The glory was short lived, though, as Triple H turned on the new champion, hit him with the pedigree and allowed Randy Orton to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase to win the WWE title.
Despite the fact that Cena has long had his fair share of detractors, he is still considered the most popular wrestler in the business. With that said, Bryan's crowd reaction has blown Cena out of the water in recent weeks, and that continued at SummerSlam as the Los Angeles faithful at Staples Center exploded when he made his entrance.
That reaction was dwarfed by the one that occurred when Bryan won the match, though, as the fans were extremely excited to see Bryan accomplish his lifelong dream. Becoming WWE Champion is something that Bryan has worked extremely hard for over the years, and there is no doubt that he earned it.
Bryan and Cena had been involved in a fairly heated feud leading up to SummerSlam, and that was blatantly obvious during the match, as there were several intense moments. Much of it seemed like spillover from their confrontation on Raw, as Cena said that Bryan couldn't beat him, and Bryan told Cena that he isn't a real wrestler and that he doesn't deserve his respect.
Cena made Bryan look inferior throughout their feud, as he handpicked Bryan to be his SummerSlam opponent. While he claimed that he made the choice because Bryan was deserving, Cena made a point of mentioning that he chose Bryan on several occasions rather than giving him credit for earning the title shot.
Bryan proved that he could hang with the top dog in the company, however, which is something that very few have been able to do over the past decade. Not only did Bryan surpass Cena in terms of crowd reaction, but his in-ring performance was superior as well. That isn't necessarily shocking considering the fact that Bryan is one of the best pure wrestlers in the world, but he showed the ability to deliver on the big stage.
The differences between Cena and Bryan were apparent on Sunday, and they have been discussed at length over the past several weeks. It is no secret that Cena and Bryan are each dating a Bella Twin, so they are inevitably linked. This has led to them being featured on the new E! reality show Total Divas, which has highlighted their differing personalities and ways of life even more.
Cena has been the top star in the business for a very long time, so he has generated a great deal of wealth, and he lives a luxurious life. Bryan, on the other hand, has scratched and clawed his way up from the independent scene. He has developed into a main-event-caliber Superstar, but his lifestyle is far more humble, as he is based in remote Aberdeen, Wash.
Those differences made their way into the storyline to a certain extent, as Bryan portrayed himself as a wrestler, and portrayed Cena as an entertainer. This is an argument that Internet fans have been making for a very long time, and it just so happened to come to life on Raw. The entertainer has been coming out on top for more than a decade, but the wrestler dealt him a major blow at SummerSlam.
There has long been a stigma attached to Vince McMahon and the WWE that they favor big, muscular wrestlers. With the rise of CM Punk over the past couple years and Bryan's ascent to the pinnacle of the company, though, those archaic thoughts figure to be a thing of the past.
This storyline is flat-out amazing.
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