Before I continue, I just want to announce that I am adding a star rating system to my review of PPVs. Each match will be rated using the same system Dave Meltzer uses for the Wrestling Observer, on a scale from -5 (Hogan vs Warrior in WCW) to 5 stars (Steamboat vs Flair). A "DUD" refers to a match that does not get positive or negative stars, or simply, zero stars.
Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan-**** (4 stars)
Easily the most anticipated match going into the show, we finally got a WWE Champion in Randy Orton, although of course, it was not without controversy. Anytime a special guest referee is involved in a match, there is always a likely chance that the referee is going to turn on one of the competitors. I think we all knew that Shawn Michaels was going to pick a side for this match; it was just unclear on which side it was going to be. It ended up being Randy Orton, and Daniel Bryan was once again denied the WWE Championship.
The match was unusual for a main event for a PPV in that there was not an extended feeling out period to start the match. Both guys came out and hit their heavy stuff right from the get go. The match as a wrestling contest was pretty good, and I think it has been the best match yet from Bryan and Orton. Bringing all the chairs into the ring and having the superplex onto the chairs was a unique touch, and there were no noticeable botches.
It may be too early to say, but I do believe that losing the WWE Championship tonight is going to really hurt Daniel Bryan. Bryan has been the most popular face the WWE has had since at least Summerslam, yet he is routinely denied the WWE Championship to the point that it is almost comical. All those losses could very well have an impact on Bryan's overall popularity as a face, so I am very unsure about having him get screwed out of the title AGAIN.
Another cause for concern is how they are going to handle Michaels screwing Bryan. If they make it seem like Triple H forced HBK's hand and made him do it, then it will be okay. However if they do it because HBK and HHH are buddies and HBK becomes a full-fledged heel, then I think they may encounter some trouble. HBK is at the point in his career that he is such an Icon that no matter what he does, he is going to get cheered. We love us some HBK, and him heeling it up again? That will just remind us of how cool of a heel he was back in his prime. If they are going to try and get the crowd to boo HBK, I think that they are going to be sadly mistaken.
John Cena made his triumphant return to the WWE, and in insanely predictable fashion, conquered Alberto Del Rio to win the World Heavyweight Championship in his debut match. Cena taking the WHC off of the mostly lame-duck ADR should have both positive and negative impacts on the WHC.
The match was pretty mundane. They got a lot of time, but since both guys do not really have expansive wrestling arsenals, the match seemed to sputtered to a boring pace. I can only watch ADR work the arm for so long before my interest begins to waver. Cena did his typical schitck, taking a large amount of abuse, only to persevere using his strength and fighting spirit.
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