After one of the wildest Hell in a Cell matches in years, it was Randy Orton that was victorious over Daniel Bryan and won the vacant WWE Championship in the main event of Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.
With Shawn Michaels as the referee, plenty of drama ensued.
After a back-and-forth affair that featured a ton of action, Orton was shoved into HBK and all three men fell down. Bryan connected with a knee to Orton, but HBK couldn't count.
Triple H pulled Bryan off, but Bryan nailed Triple H with the running knee, then HBK landed a superkick on him.
Orton lands the cover and HBK is forced to count the pin.
This is a monumental win for Orton, and he now joins the ranks of the all-time greats.
Whether you love Orton or hate him, his impact on the business is undeniable.
Which star has a brighter future?
After wallowing in obscurity for the last two years as a face, the corporation storyline has given Orton the chance to turn into a more interesting heel character. Since becoming the more vicious bad guy the company needed, the new champion has proven that he is once again worthy of the main event spotlight.
Orton is a viable top star for the company (is a bona fide draw and has the look the WWE loves), and his heel tactics make him the perfect antagonist for Bryan's hero character.
While the victory is huge for Orton and the corporation, it is equally devastating to Bryan’s ascension to the top. There is no questioning that Bryan is still the most popular star in the business right now, but the loss will not help his credibility.
No matter how much the odds were stacked against the bearded former champion, he was still unable to walk out of Hell in a Cell with the WWE Championship. If the WWE was building Bryan as the underdog, the inability to overcome the odds kills much of the momentum he and the company had created.
As much as fans may not want to see it again, this feud needs to add another chapter at Survivor Series. Whether it's an iron man match or a 2-out-of-3 falls match, this long-term battle must come to a definitive end with Bryan standing tall.
If the company truly believes Bryan is the star of the future, he must be booked more like John Cena.
Instead of tossing these men into a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match (a possible Team Bryan vs. Team Orton match would be very exciting), the groundwork has been set for yet another rematch at Survivor Series.
With Bryan feeling slighted by the corporation’s constant attempts to hold him down—not to mention the likely inclusion of Big Show vs. Triple H on next month's PPV card—there is no doubt that the company could drag this battle into November’s marquee show.
Bryan deserves to continue fighting for the WWE Championship in the main event.
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