Against all odds, Daniel Bryan walked out of Night of Champions as the new WWE champion. It took a marvelous effort against Randy Orton to get there, but in the end, with outside interference banned, Bryan emerged as the man with the gold.
Now, WWE must rewarded the Bearded One with an extended title reign.
Bryan used the famed Busaiku Knee Kick to drop Orton for the three count in a match that saw top rope spills, multiple Yes! Lock attempts and two referees. In the end, Bryan outlasted the "Face of the WWE," earning a reign as WWE champion that will actually last longer than a handful of minutes.
Plain and simple, this is a moment the professional wrestling world has been waiting to see.
Now that it's here, it needs to stay.
Bryan is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the world, earning respect in every country from the United States to Japan and back again. Now that he's on top of WWE, drawing a crowd reaction the average wrestler could only dream of, he's the perfect Superstar to carry the title.
It's a new era in WWE, and it's time the championship belt meant something again.
Since July 25, 2011, three different wrestlers have held the WWE Championship for less than one complete day. More significantly, eight of the 12 WWE championship reigns before Bryan won at Night of Champions lasted 35 days or less.
Seven of those 12 lasted 28 days or less.
In fact, only three of the past 12 WWE champions have managed to hold the title for more than three months. In turn, the title is now something the top stars in the company pass around more than it is a prestigious piece of gold.
There are few better than Bryan to return prestige to the belt. The Bearded One will be a strong world champion, and allowing him to own a lengthy reign will signify that winning the title means something again.
Having him lose it right back to Orton would simply affirm the notion that the world title in WWE isn't as important as it used to be—it's just something the company gives to a wrestler it deems fit for a push.
Call me traditional, but being the world champion should mean you're the top star in the company you call home. In the case of WWE, that means the WWE champion is not only the face of the organization but also of the professional wrestling industry.
Why pass that label around and decrease its value when you can give it to one man and have him carry the company into the future?
Change of Pace
For quite some time, WWE has given the company's most prestigious championship to the biggest names and best microphone users. Today, the WWE has crowned a breed of champion we're not accustomed to seeing.
Bryan is the WWE champion because his technical prowess in the ring is simply unparalleled.
In the mid-2000s, Chris Benoit had a 154-day reign as World Heavyweight champion that ranks among the best ever. Benoit took on Evolution, the most powerful stable in WWE, and walked away victorious until a new rising star, Orton, emerged.
Today, Bryan can be the technically masterful wrestler who takes down the biggest faction in WWE, overcoming Orton, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon. In turn, he can give WWE a storyline that can run for months, all the while restoring the meaning of being champion.
Even if Orton isn't the one directly involved, Triple H and the McMahons hold positions of power that enable endless storylines.
A primary option would be Big Show, who has played a critical role in the development of the storyline between Bryan and the McMahon family. Due to his ability to play the role of underdog or technical match to any wrestler, that would also allow CM Punk or Sheamus to return to the top or Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins to rise up.
The only question at this point is simple: Will WWE do the right thing and give Bryan the opportunity to carry the company?