As we saw on Night of Champions, Daniel Bryan broke the night streak of every champion retaining their titles when he won his second WWE Championship by defeating Randy Orton. Orton kept the title for just one month after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase, while turning heel and aligning with a freshly turned heel Triple H in the process.
Even with a burst of momentum coming from this semi-reincarnation of the Corporation angle in 1998-99 (which led the WWE to ultimately win the ratings war against WCW), the buzz started to die down after Daniel Bryan was laying on his back at the end of nearly every show. This is nearly a stark contrast to the Austin/McMahon feud, seeing how ratings went through the roof as a result of Austin being the one who left most of the shows with the upper hand.
Despite a lackluster build, mainly from a lack of time to build Bryan to how he should have been (especially in comparison to the great build leading to SummerSlam), WWE still decided to grant Bryan his third world title.
However, it was with a bit of controversy.
Referee Scott Armstrong, in the heat of the moment, executed a fast three count to Randy Orton as he was being pinned by Daniel Bryan. This count was quite noticeable, and it was totally unexpected based on Armstrong's not being involved in the storyline or being a victim of typical heel bullying of referees during the match (minus an unintentional bump to the outside of the ring).
At the end of the night, Bryan celebrated the win, and nothing else came from the fast count. Although it was not addressed at the PPV, it is expected to be evaluated on the upcoming edition of Raw. According to F4WOnline (via WrestlingInc.), the count was indeed purposefully done to extend the feud and garner anticipation for tonight's show.
While Daniel Bryan's winning the title was well deserved, it seemed very anticlimactic. This is mainly due to the enervating event that was Night of Champions—arguably the worst pay-per-view of the year—as well as the lack of time to effectively build Bryan to have that "brass ring" moment, similar to SummerSlam.
Was the fast count an effective way to extend the storyline? Sound off (civilly) below, and tune in live Tuesday night (September 17) to the Pancakes and Powerslams show as we discuss the major disappointment of Night of Champions.
Chris Featherstone is a writer for WrestlingINC.com. Continue to show your support following on Twitter, Facebook, and tuning into the Pancakes and Powerslams show Tuesday nights at 11pm ET on Blog Talk Radio.