World Wrestling Entertainment's Night of Champions pay-per-view has come and gone, and the immediate future of the promotion has once again been altered by the conclusion of the event.
In the night's main event, WWE champion Randy Orton defended his title against Daniel Bryan. For weeks, Orton and COO Triple H have done everything in their power to derail the surging Bryan in his quest to become not only WWE champion, but also the new face of the company.
Despite feeling the wrath of The Game, The Viper, their henchmen The Shield and a reluctant and despondent Big Show, Bryan has never quit.
Leading into Sunday's show, he had gained quite a bit of momentum. Could he maintain that momentum by defeating Orton and regaining the title he never should have lost?
Here is a look at what went down in the main event of the 2013 Night of Champions pay-per-view event.
A late start to the match (10:33 ET) ensured a fast-paced bout with little time for rest spots.
Bryan with the armbar. Orton escaped, applied a side headlock and took him over. A shoulder tackle from Orton followed and he posed. He hit the ropes, bounced off and got caught with a knee lift to the midsection.
Bryan delivered a series of kicks, backing Orton into the corner. Bryan followed up with a series of punches before Orton slipped out and delivered a back breaker from the middle rope.
Orton took control, sending Bryan into the corner and delivering a clothesline, then a second. He covered for a count of two.
Bryan and Orton traded right hands, but Orton cut him off and delivered a front suplex across the top rope. Another two count followed.
Orton slowed the pace down with a side headlock, but Bryan showed great heart, fighting out of it and delivering a few hard rights to the head. Orton almost immediately regained control and delivered the Garvin stomp, one of the signature maneuvers in his arsenal.
The champion climbed the ropes and delivered a series of hard right hands to the face as the crowd inside the Joe Louis Arena chanted "NO!"
Bryan moonsaulted over a charging Orton and delivered a running clothesline that turned the tide in his favor. A running dropkick into the corner followed, then a second stunned the champion.
The challenger unleashed with a series of kicks to the upper body, then perched Orton on the top rope and sent him crashing to the mat below with a hurricanrana.
With Orton outside the ring, Bryan charged through the ropes and caught the champion with a suicide dive. A dropkick from the top rope by Bryan sent Orton back to the outside. Another suicide dive between the ropes and the challenger was surging late in the bout.
Orton again ducked out of the ring and Bryan tried to make it a trifecta of dangerous dives, but Orton caught him rushing in and delivered a hard right hand to the face. He grabbed a front face lock and pulled Bryan to the edge of the ring. A DDT to the arena floor followed.
Bryan made it back into the ring just as the referee reached the count of nine, avoiding the count out. Orton called for the RKO and grabbed hold of Bryan’s head, only to be shoved toward the referee. Bryan exploded with a dropkick, sending Orton crashing into the referee.
A second official rushed to the squared circle as Bryan grabbed a hold of Orton for the No Lock. Orton shoved him into the ropes and caught him with a snap powerslam. The Viper set Bryan up for another of his trademark DDTs, but Bryan countered with the Yes Lock as the arena came unglued.
Orton crawled across the squared circle and barely managed to grab onto the bottom rope, forcing the No. 1 contender to break the hold.
Bryan kept on the champion, delivering kicks to the upper body before charging into the corner. He would crash and burn, however, as the champion ducked out of the way.
Orton set Bryan up top and attempted a superplex. Bryan ducked underneath and crotched the champion.
Bryan tied Orton in the tree of woe and delivered stiff kicks to the upper torso, followed by a running dropkick.
Bryan tried for a top rope side superplex, but Orton pounded away with successive rights to the forehead to block and sent Bryan off the top rope. Bryan recovered, though, and caught Orton with a forearm to the face. He hit a superplex and followed with a beautiful diving headbutt.
A two-count followed before original referee Scott Armstrong returned to the ring. Bryan unleashed a series of kicks to the body, but Orton caught him on the last attempt and delivered a T-bone suplex.
Orton again tried for the RKO, but Bryan countered with a backslide. Orton rolled out and Bryan delivered a stiff kick to the head. The running knee, and a fast count by Armstrong, gave Bryan the championship win.
Commentators Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler trumpeted the fact that Bryan had finally proved his worth and was, finally, the face of WWE.
The series of suicide dives by Bryan really put over his willingness to throw caution to the wind in order to achieve his goal. The two successful dives also set up one of the more clever moments of the bout, as the incredibly smart Orton suckered his challenger in and caught him in the face, slowing Bryan's offensive onslaught and regaining control of the match.
The referee bump, as well as the match-deciding fast count, will likely come back into play on Monday's Raw and could very well prove to be the most memorable, and important, moment of the bout.
Finally, Bryan celebrating with the WWE title to close out this month's show without any interruptions is a welcome sight. He has been on the receiving end of so much abuse by the evil corporate COO Triple H character that, to see him enjoy a few consecutive nights of success was nice.
Even if there is a great chance that the title will be ripped away from him on Raw.
The night's main event was a pay-per-view-quality main event that continued the evolution of Daniel Bryan as a main event babyface.
The action was crisp and clean, and the match helped save a show that was rapidly heading toward mediocrity. Bryan once again delivered in a high-pressure setting, even if it was a notch or two below the classic against John Cena at last month's SummerSlam.
It was another stop in what has become the most important angle on WWE programming and will likely continue to lay the groundwork for the moment that Bryan finally does vanquish the dictatorial Triple H and his followers.
On a night where several high-profile matches never really clicked, the main event delivered an entertaining match that will have a major effect on WWE programming in the coming weeks.
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