Like any good pro wrestling fan there is always something to complain about, and lately my biggest problem has been the fact that after months of chasing the WWE title, Daniel Bryan was completely removed from the title picture at WWE TLC. But like a grown up I am able to admit and am happy to highlight when the WWE does something absolutely fantastic; which we received this last Monday night. I’d like to say real quick that this Monday’s broadcast was a tremendous show, the caliber of which I wish we saw on a consistent basis. The broadcast was topped off with an absolutely spectacular main event pitting the new champion Randy Orton against Daniel Bryan. This match needs to be praised because it was not only a great match in the intensity and physicality, but in the story telling. While we do receive plenty of good matches on Raw, this match had a great story going into it, an easy to follow story during and a great finish.
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton have been facing each other since the early summer of this year and have gone on to have some great matches this year. In all honesty I think this past Monday’s match may have been their absolute best work to date; the proof of which is by the end of the match Bryan was loved even more and Orton was hated a lot more. The match has had so much groundwork laid for it since SummerSlam, Orton having never beaten Bryan cleanly; that Cena suggesting the match after TLC was easily the smartest decision. I’m only hoping that last Monday was an indication as to where the storylines are heading, with Cena, Orton and Bryan all dog piling for the title. I’m hoping WWE capitalizes on the current popularity of Bryan, and his use on Raw was not simply as a place holder to continue the feud between John Cena and Randy Orton.
One thing that I noticed while watching this main event was the shaking of the head that Daniel Bryan does, while I’ve seen him do it before, there was something different about Monday. Usually I recall Bryan doing his head shaking when he’s about to drop someone with his running knee, but on Monday he was doing it as he was mounting his comeback, reminiscent of Hogan Hulking up. If this is something that Bryan or WWE decide to keep doing as a regular part of his gimmick, I am in complete support, because as soon as you see that head shaking you can feel that business is about to pick up. My favourite thing about the match on Monday was the fact that you could easily tell the story that WWE was trying to get across.
Daniel Bryan had Randy Oron’s number, this is literally the night after Orton beat Cena to unify the biggest titles in the company. Good God is this a great story, especially considering the size of Bryan, having him be the underdog, but has beaten both the company’s top stars. As I was watching the match on Monday, the feeling started being transmitted through the screen that Bryan might actually win this match and it worked because I was dying to see it. The finish they went with? A straight low blow from Orton to Bryan in front of the referee; God Damn brilliant. How dare Randy Orton steal, not the belt from Bryan, but this wrestling classic from us the fans. It made me angry, I’ve been watching for 20 years and the ending genuinely pissed me off, until it dawned on me how perfect it really was.
Then enter John Cena storming to the ring in order to extract a measure of revenge for the fans from Orton for screwing over the match. My only problem here is that after this fantastic match, the love at the end of the show was poured onto Cena, after Bryan fought with his entire being. Either way I was head over heels for this entire ending because it made so much sense, Bryan looked like the best wrestler on the roster, Orton looked like a filthy heel and Cena looked like the hero coming to the rescue. Like J.R. said in his latest blog, this finish did not put the heat on the ref, which is always a positive in this industry. The number one thing about this ending for Raw is that it makes me excited for next Monday, it makes me want to see how the story evolves and where these three players end up. I praise WWE for the ending of last Monday’s broadcast and hope to continue seeing intense matches with logical endings that further the stories and propel all people involved further into the limelight.