John Cena is the best wrestler in the world. At least he is to the children and their screaming mothers who make up much of the WWE's world.
Daniel Bryan, king of the independents, is the other best wrestler in the world. He represents young men in ironic T-shirts and people who take wrestling pretty darn seriously. He is the Internet's favorite. And, for once, that doesn't seem to be the kiss of death.
That's the subtext, brought to the fore on Raw this week. There's also McMahon drama at play. Patriarch Vince doesn't want the scruffy and tiny Bryan to be champion. Son-in-law Triple H wants to give Bryan a chance and has inserted himself as the referee of the main event. It's a match that promises to propel the WWE through the fall.
Daniel Bryan pins John Cena with a hard running kick to the head.
"Boooo!": the crowd let's Cena know they are with the beard.
"He may be hot, but he's still 210 pound and looks like a goat against the 11-time WWE champion": JBL on Bryan.
"This is awesome": the crowd as the match neared an end.
"You can't help but feel bad for Daniel Bryan": Lawler. This.
Triple H's comical referee get-up. I guess no one had the guts to tell him he looked like a goon?
Bryan goes face first into the announcers table, then gets suplexed off the ring steps to the floor by Cena. Bryan counters the Five Knuckle Shuffle with a kick that blackens Cena's eye.
Bryan turns an STF into a German Suplex. I'm still not sure how. Bryan superplexes Cena but doesn't take a bump, hanging on the middle rope by both knees. That allows him to hit the diving headbutt for a two count.
Cena hits the Fame-Asser off the top rope. Wow. The two exchange a series of hard slaps. Inoki would be proud.
The entire crowd chants "Yes" with Daniel Bryan on his way to the win.
Ugh. John Cena and Daniel Bryan had a tough task in front of them. CM Punk and Brock Lesnar set the bar pretty high earlier in the night, and while they didn't leap frog the Beast and the Best, the goal was at least in sight. This was a WWE championship match worthy of the belt Bruno held, a classic in its own right.
Had the show gone off the air with Bryan's celebration, fans would of felt pretty darn good about it. But it's the WWE. A new star only gets elevated once every decade or so. I guess it might be Bryan's time around 2020. We'll all have to check back then.
In the meantime, Monday is a new day. We'll see what Raw brings us regarding the Triple H turn and Orton's rise to the top. The potential is there for even better things for Bryan. He may emerge, when it's all said and done, stronger for having lost at SummerSlam. But it sure would have felt good to see him get his happy ending.