Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan exchange heated promos
While it went on too long—way too long, in all honesty—the Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton feud nonetheless provided several memorable and entertaining moments during its time on top.
Come on, when you have two guys as talented as Bryan and Orton, they are bound to deliver good results, no matter how flawed and illogical the booking is.
So, in order of just how entertaining and impactful they were, let’s have a look at the top moments from this program.
On the October 14 edition of Raw, Orton’s feud with Bryan got very personal when “The Viper” appeared on the titantron and threatened Bryan’s on and off-screen girlfriend, Brie Bella.
Bryan, in the middle of a bout with Alberto Del Rio, gallantly rushed backstage to Brie’s aid only to be—you guessed it—ambushed and attacked by Orton.
WWE’s attempt to infuse the stale Orton/Bryan program with some passion actually delivered quite well—if you ignore Brie's terrible attempts at acting.
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell
At Hell in a Cell, the Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton wrapped up their feud; with special guest referee Shawn Michaels interfering on Orton’s behalf and taking out Bryan.
While it was good to see the back of this rivalry, the match itself was very good, and certainly worthy of being in the main event.
And, regardless of what you think of the ultimate result, it was also nice to see the WWE Championship rescued from its dreadful state of “abeyance.”
Daniel Bryan delivers a kick to Randy Orton
At Night of Champions Bryan and Orton fought in a terrific and well-paced match for the WWE Championship—it was easily the best of their series. The bout ended with Bryan defeating Orton for the belt, to a huge reaction from the approving crowd in attendance.
Alas, Triple H stripped him of the title the following night using the paper-thin reason that the count from referee Scott Armstrong was too fast.
Oh, well. It was nice while it lasted.
On the 26 August Raw, Triple H presented new WWE Champion Randy Orton with a Cadillac Escalade, as a reward for Orton’s loyalty to The Corporation.
Of course, this is pro wrestling, which meant the fancy new car was as doomed as a Spinal Tap drummer.
And, sure enough, Bryan grabbed several bottles of spray paint and badly vandalized the vehicle later on in the evening, much to the chagrin of Orton and Triple H.
Granted it wasn’t anything original, but this was still a fun Attitude era-style storyline.
Orton finally goes to the dark side
SummerSlam was a pivotal moment for both Bryan and Orton.
Bryan was insanely over with the Los Angeles crowd as he took on John Cena for the WWE Championship. It was like the heyday of Steve Austin again, or something.
Just as impressively, the former ROH performer even managed to garner a spotlessly clean win over the star, something few have ever managed.
It was also a big night for Orton who, after months and months of speculation, finally went through with his heel turn, by cashing in his Money in the Bank title shot on an unconscious Bryan (Triple H had just Pedigree’d the star, insuring his first WWE title run was a short one).
It was a tremendous and gripping way to end one of the year’s biggest pay-per-views, that’s for sure.