At SummerSlam last month, Daniel Bryan beat perennial WWE poster boy John Cena in the center of the ring to win the WWE Championship. A veteran of the independent wrestling scene who cut his teeth in high school gyms and National Guard armories around the country while waiting for his big break, it was the culmination of a 14-year journey for the Aberdeen, Washington native.
But his fans weren't left to chant "Yes!" for long.
Within seconds, Bryan was planted face-first on the mat by WWE executive Triple H. After cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase, there was a new face of WWE indeed—but it wasn't the diminutive, bearded Bryan. Randy Orton was the choice, instead, to replace Cena as the WWE standard bearer.
For the last month, as WWE executives tried to justify their decision, Bryan has fought for what is his. He got a chance to earn it back at Night of Champions and made the most of it.
The show ended with the finish we didn't get at SummerSlam—Bryan celebrating with his fans and leaving the WWE champion.
Meanwhile, the war of words between CM Punk and Paul Heyman escalated into violence—finally—as Paul E. joined his protege Curtis Axel in the ring to face his former friend.
Heyman and Punk had a partnership of unprecedented success. Punk held the WWE title for more than a year, with Heyman always by his side. It's those good times that have made this feud so intense.
They say "good friends, better enemies." And in Heyman, Punk has perhaps found the most bitter rival of his entire career.
Punk, after dispatching Axel, got his hands on Heyman, delivering a brutal beating. But Heyman would have the last laugh. Ryback came to his rescue and speared Punk through a table. The WWE's resident bully, it appears, is now a Paul Heyman guy.
I've graded every segment, from A-F, to let you know what I thought of the event. Remember, grades are dependent on match placement and expectations.
I expect a WWE championship match to be great—therefore I hold it to a high standard. A filler match that surprises, likewise, can earn a shockingly high grade by virtue of simply not being bad.
Disagree with my letter grades? Provide your own in the comments!