Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan appeared to be limping into the final phase of their lengthy feud. Through three pay-per-view matches dating back to SummerSlam, the WWE Championship has changed hands three times.
Orton won the WWE Championship from Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
Daniel Bryan regained the championship at Night of Champions only to have it stripped the following night on Raw. Nobody would be declared victorious following the rubber match at Battleground, and here we are.
The feud was in danger of wearing out its welcome after bush-league booking on the part of the WWE. The promotion refused to crown a champion on a $54.95 pay-per-view offering, causing an uproar among paying customers.
Fortunately, Raw did a good job adding intrigue to WWE's main event feud. Not only did general manager Brad Maddox announce a definitive Hell in a Cell match between Bryan and Orton, but Shawn Michaels was selected as a special guest referee following a fan vote.
Any scenario where Hell in a Cell signs off without a WWE champion is now inconceivable, but is this too little, too late?
Cena will go one-on-one against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell. He should figure to be a fixture in the ongoing fight against the corporation sooner or later.
The Rhodes family continues to compete with Bryan-Orton for TV time and relevance. The reinstatement of Cody and Dustin Rhodes was widely considered the lone bright spot on a disappointing pay-per-view.
Said Chris Shore of ProWrestling.net, "This shows what simple and clean storytelling with compelling characters can do. Just fantastic."
By Hell in a Cell, the current feud for WWE's most important championship could play third-fiddle to John Cena's return and the progression of the Rhodes dynasty.
WWE was wise to team Bryan with the Rhodes brothers in Raw's main event. This created more unity between current top babyfaces while allowing Bryan to borrow momentum from the red-hot Rhodes boys.
Which storyline are you currently most interested in?
Bryan's babyface chase, and the presence of part-time babyface Michaels, should result in a legitimizing third WWE Championship reign for Bryan at Hell in a Cell. God forbid Michaels screws Bryan and joins Triple H as a member of WWE's new corporation. This angle has become complicated enough.
Triple H and Stephanie's attempts to once again end Bryan's reign with hand-selected opponents could restore lost momentum to both the corporation storyline and the Bryan character. Following a likely Hell in a Cell loss, Orton would be an ideal candidate to feud with The Big Show, who has recently become an enemy of WWE's modern monarchy.