Nearing WrestleMania in terms of anticipation, SummerSlam had a lot of pressure to be a success Sunday night.
There were a few questionable turns and finishes from the second-biggest pay-per-view of the year, but overall, the memorable moments stood out and the WWE continued the fantastic momentum it has built as of late.
Brock Lesnar and CM Punk competed in an instant classic. Daniel Bryan and John Cena followed that up with a classic of their own. Alberto Del Rio and Christian put on a wrestling clinic. Bray Wyatt and Kane's feud took a compelling new turn. And the pre-show between Rob Van Dam and Dean Ambrose was a great match.
And that was just part of the massive show.
Let's take a full look at what went down at the Staples Center on Sunday.
Pre-Show for the United States Championship: Rob Van Dam defeats Dean Ambrose (c) via DQ. Ambrose keeps his title.
Ring of Fire Match: Bray Wyatt defeats Kane. Afterward, Wyatt Family attacks Kane and drags him away with them.
Cody Rhodes defeats Damien Sandow.
World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) defeats Christian.
Natalya defeats Brie Bella.
Brock Lesnar defeats CM Punk.
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn defeat Big E Langston and A.J. Lee.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan defeats John Cena (c). Afterward, Randy Orton teases a cash-in, then Triple-H hits Bryan with the Pedigree. Orton cashes in and wins the WWE Championship.
Randy Orton Leaves as WWE Champion
Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena for the WWE Championship was just about everything you want in a main event.
It had some thrilling spots, from Bryan's flying headbutt to Cena's big leg drop to Bryan's amazing superplex to Cena's attempted AA from the top rope to the two exchanging ferocious slaps with unbelievable energy.
The crowd was going bananas, and when Daniel Bryan finally got the pin, everyone was loving it:
And it was a deserved moment for Bryan, who has been on fire the past several months.
But that wasn't it.
In a move many were anticipating, Randy Orton came down to assuredly cash in his Money in the Bank suitcase. But as he began to walk away, Bryan's fans breathed a sigh of relief.
Once again, not so fast. Triple-H hit Bryan with a Pedigree and Orton cashed in for the title, leaving everyone quite stunned:
The confetti after Bryan's win, the handshake from both Cena and Triple-H—everything was done to perfection. It looked like Bryan was going to walk away as a champion, but the WWE left us astonished with a beautiful ending.
And with John Cena reportedly headed for a break because of an elbow injury, we can proceed with a Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton feud.
I'm slightly bummed—like I'm sure many others are—that Bryan isn't walking away as champion, but having him chase the corporate champion, Randy Orton? I am already on board.
The Beast vs. The Best
I'm looking for words here, but all that's really coming to mind is "wow."
Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk is something that the WWE universe has wanted for a long time, and when it was finally confirmed, anticipation shot through the roof.
It was going to be difficult to live up to the type of hype that "Beast vs. Best" was getting, but it somehow exceeded expectations by about a country mile.
A clear match of the year candidate, this epic battle had a little bit of everything: massive power moves and exhibits of pure strength from Lesnar (which resulted in some brutal bumps for Punk), Punk's reversal of the F-5 into a DDT, creative work with chairs, Paul Heyman's integration, Lesnar's fantastic Kimora Lock, several near-falls, a well-told story and a great finish.
I'll just let some individuals in the business some it up:
Simply put, it was a spectacular show from two extremely talented and unique superstars. It's difficult to get much better than this match.