Randy Orton was a heavy favorite to retain the WWE Championship over Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions, but the ultimate underdog was able to overcome The Viper on Sunday night to win the coveted title for the second time in his career. He used the same Shining Wizard finisher to pull off the thrilling win.
Bryan's real-life girlfriend and WWE Diva Brie Bella celebrated via Twitter.
WWE ring announcer Justin Roberts has one word and pictures.
Bryan has been in dogged pursuit of the WWE Championship ever since SummerSlam when he originally won the title from John Cena, but his reign was short-lived to say the least. Following Bryan's win at SummerSlam, special guest referee Triple H hit Bryan with a Pedigree, which allowed Orton to successfully cash in his Money in the Bank contract.
Ever since that moment, Triple H and Orton have made life a living hell for Bryan. While Triple H hasn't gotten physically involved with Bryan since SummerSlam, Orton certainly has, and Triple H has used a number of different Superstars to do his dirty work.
Chief among them is The Shield, as Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have attacked Bryan on several occasions. Also, Triple H enlisted Big Show to do much of his bidding. The COO of WWE has used Big Show's kayfabe money problems against him by threatening him with termination if he refuses to follow his orders.
All of those things stacked the deck against Bryan heading into Night of Champions, but tonight, Triple H vowed that no outside interference would be allowed. He was a man of his word, as the two Superstars went mano a mano. Seeing Bryan hoist the WWE Championship again was great, as there is no question that he has earned the right to be the company's top guy.
However, one can't help but wonder if he was given the title too quickly.
As a rule, wrestling is usually at its most entertaining when an underdog face is trying to pry a title away from a dominant heel. That is precisely what has been happening in WWE over the past several weeks. With Triple H, The Shield and other assets on Orton's side, it almost seemed like it was impossible for Bryan or anyone else to capture the title. Because of that, it might have been wise to postpone Bryan's title win until a later date.
Bryan has all the tools necessary to be a great WWE champion and serve as the face of the company, but having him win the title Sunday night may prove to be a big mistake.
WWE programming has been extremely entertaining as of late, and the feud between Bryan and "The Corporation" is a huge reason for that. While the feud is obviously going to continue now that Bryan has the strap, it's possible that it won't be as effective as it was prior to Night of Champions.
Having the WWE Championship validated Orton and Triple H, so losing it could severely weaken their credibility as the top heels in the company. The main reason why they have been so hated is that they were perceived to have been holding Bryan down, keeping him from achieving his lifelong dream of winning and holding the WWE Championship. But that is no longer true.
Even though Orton retaining the title probably would have been the ideal scenario, the creative team can still make this work. Bryan's feud with Orton and Triple H is similar to "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's feud with The Corporation during the Attitude Era, and that angle was able to persevere even when Austin was in possession of the WWE Championship, so the writers simply have to tread carefully.
The big question now relates to where Orton and Bryan go from here.
In all likelihood, their feud is going to continue for the foreseeable future. Orton is entitled to a rematch, and there is no way that Triple H will allow Bryan to get away unscathed from a storyline standpoint.
With the Battleground, Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series pay-per-views coming up in rapid-fire succession over the next two months, it wouldn't be surprising to see Orton vs. Bryan at the next two pay-per-views before shifting focus to a traditional Survivor Series match at Survivor Series involving the likes of Orton, Triple H, The Shield, Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz and Bryan.
Whatever the case, there is plenty of intrigue surrounding the product right now, and Sunday's result ensured that it will continue.
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