He did it.  We think.

Daniel Bryan captured the WWE Championship last night at Night of Champions.  He pinned Randy Orton, and the official counted to three...albeit a bit fast.  Will Triple H come out and reverse that decision and hand the championship back to Randy Orton?  Or will this stick?

CM Punk got a measure of revenge against Paul Heyman, but a new Heyman allegiance showed up in Ryback.  Will CM Punk turn his attention to the bully and go after him now?  Or is Punk satisfied that he got a measure of revenge on Heyman?

Show Open, Live from the Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH

They open with highlights from the CM Punk vs. Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman match, with Ryback coming out to offer the assist to beat CM Punk.  They move on to highlights of the WWE Championship match.  They highlight Bryan winning and celebrating with the belt, with Cole putting over Bryan as the face of the company.

In the arena, we get the introduction of Daniel Bryan as the new WWE Champion.  He comes out to a good reaction with the belt.  Worth noting is that they have changed the side plates to say "yes yes yes" He gets a rousing chant that keeps him from speaking.

He calls the fans awesome and says that ''what says it best is YES!".  This doesn't last long as here comes Triple H.  Cole finally checks in and says that he is not happy with what happened at Night of Champions.  King says he might be coming out to congratulate Bryan.

Triple H wants to address the 800lb gorilla in the room that is the fast count.  He says everyone is talking about it and Bryan's victory is tainted. He calls out Scott Armstrong, the official from last night.  Armstrong makes his way to the ring and Hunter feeds it into the footage of the end of the match.

Hunter discusses the footage, first of his normal cadence of the count.  He then sets up the footage of the "fast" count, rolling it twice.  Hunter then asks for a side by side comparison of the two.  Hunter says that Armstrong made a fast count - a three count in the time it takes him to make a two count.  Armstrong admits he made a mistake.

Hunter says he has known Armstrong for 15 years and never saw him make that kind of mistake.  Hunter admits he doesn't think Armstrong is telling him the truth. He asks for Armstrong to fess up.

Off mic, Armstrong appears to say "they got us."  Bryan says "what are you talking about?!"  Hunter sends Armstrong to the back and says he will deal with him later.  Hunter tells Bryan that he's ashamed of him.  He accuses Bryan of conspiring to make a fast count to win the title. 

Triple H says he's left with no choice to hold the title in abeyance. "I am not going to return the WWE Championship to Randy Orton but Daniel Bryan, as of this moment, you are no longer the WWE Champion."  The crowd boos and Bryan protests.

Trips says he understands that Bryan is upset.  He will continue to investigate further, but as of now there is no WWE Champion.  Hunter asks for the belt, but Bryan refuses.  He tells Bryan he embarrassed himself and disgraced the WWE Championship.  "I would have thought Shawn (Michaels) would have taught you better than that.  Hand me the WWE Championship, or I will take it from you."

Randy Orton's music hits and he walks out with a purpose.  He gets on the apron and Triple H tells him to wait and there will be no fight.  Bryan and Orton stalk each other while Triple H stands aside and waits for the title to be handed over.

Triple H demands the belt one more time, and Bryan ponders it.  Finally, Bryan turns to him and says no.  Triple H grabs at the belt, and Orton hits Bryan with the RKO.  With no further words, Triple H leaves the ring and Orton stands over Bryan.  The fans chant "Randy sucks!" as they go to break.

A hot crowd means a whole lot and this crowd is certainly hot tonight.  Their passion made this rather expected result of last night's pay per view feel more relevant.

Backstage:

Stephanie is talking to Triple H about what just happened out in the ring.  Randy Orton storms up and demands to know what happened out there. He demands the title belt back but Stephanie steps between Orton and Triple H.

Stephanie tells Orton he deserved to lose.  She asks where the Orton who had no morality went, and recalls him handcuffing Hunter to hit her with a DDT in their past.  She says they may have to find a new face of WWE if he can't find that Orton.  "That's the guy we're looking for." Triple H says as they walk away.  Orton just stares into space.

Match #1 - Dean Ambrose (The Shield) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ambrose locks on an early sleeper hold, but Ziggler counters with a jawjacker.  Ambrose comes back by throwing Ziggler to the corner.  Ziggler flips over the rope and hits the floor as they go into commercial.

Ambrose stays on offense out of the break.  He hits a superplex for two, then takes a big DDT from Ziggler.  Ziggler goes on a run, hitting a drop kick then splashing Ambrose in the corner. He rains in the ten punches in the corner.  A bit later, Dolph goes through the ten elbows sequence, which draws some heart attack jokes from the commentary team.  Ambrose hits a spinebuster for two.

Ambrose sets up for his finisher, but Ziggler counters.  He hits Zig Zag and grabs the win.  The announcers put over that he beat the US Champion as Ziggler celebrates.  Justin Roberts is sure to announce that Ambrose is still the US Champion.

A good TV match and better than the affair between them last night.  Ziggler is from the area, so I presume he was with some family at ringside.

Backstage:

Big Show is in Brad Maddox's office.  He clears his throat and tells Show that "Triple H and Ms. McMahon will be here in a minute."

After commercial, Triple H and Stephanie are in the office.  Stephanie is staring down Big Show.  Maddox gets instruction from Triple H to book Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan.  Maddox tells him to consider it done.  Maddox goes on to applaud the decision to hold up the title and tells Stephanie that Dusty Rhodes has arrived.

Stephanie turns to Big Show and talks about him being "suspended without pay" on Smackdown.  She asks if it hurt, then tells him he's to stay in the office and stay out of trouble unless she calls him.

At the announce position, the commentary team talks about the match between CM Punk and Paul Heyman last night.  They question why Ryback got involved in the match and said we will find out later tonight.

Match #2 - R-Truth vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)

Fandango dances to the ring with Summer prior to the commercial break.  As R-Truth comes out after the commercial, they recap the "dance-off" that happened on Smackdown this past Friday night.  During the early action, the fans actually chant for Summer Rae as Fandango gets dumped from the ring.

Truth misses a scissors kick, which allows Fandango to get control.   In the end, Fandango hits a kick, then goes up top for his top rope leg drop to get the win.  He and Summer dance their way to the back.

The match was what it was, and it quieted down the Cleveland crowd for the first time all night.

Backstage:

Dusty Rhodes is shown with the Prime Time Players, Natalya, Hornswoggle, and others.  He is to be up next to talk about a business proposition with Stephanie McMahon.

They set up this next segment with recaps of Cody Rhodes and Goldust losing their respective matches.

In-Ring Segment:

Dusty Rhodes' music hits and he gets a nice welcome from the Cleveland faithful.  The announcers talk about Stephanie tweeting this proposition that she has for him.

Rhodes cuts his promo. He says he's not here tonight as the American Dream, but instead Virgil Runnels.  He wants to hear what the McMahons have to say.  He talks about being so broke that bills can't be paid.  He says that you dig down and find a way to do it.

He says that he didn't come to beg for Cody's job, but instead to ask for the opportunity for Cody to fight for it.  He says he heard about this proposition on the "tweet" and asks Stephanie to "bring those long legs out here and let's get on with it."

Stephanie comes to the ring and applauds Dusty.  She calls Dusty's speech beautiful and remarkable.  She says her husband's decision to fire Cody was weighing on them a lot and apologizes if this cast a shadow on the wedding.  She offers a gift card from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Dusty casts it aside and asks for Stephanie to get on with the proposal.

She tells Dusty that she can offer Dusty's son his job  back.  Rhodes says "great, that's what I wanted" and starts to leave.  She stops him and says he has to choose which son gets his job back.

Dusty says he doesn't want to make a choice and tells Stephanie to  not interrupt him.  Stephanie says he could give the job to Cody, the son who did everything the right way, or Goldust, the one Dusty neglected all those years when he was on the road.  Dusty asks Stephanie about her daughters and how they are.  She says they're fine but it's not about them.  Dusty asks if she plays favorites with them like this.

Stephanie says Dusty is making this all about him as he always does.  Dusty tells her to go straight to hell.  "Well, I'm sorry you feel that way."  she says, and the Shield's music hits.  They come to ringside and get up on the apron.  She stops them and says it doesn't seem fair.

Stephanie asks for Big Show to come out and join them.  Show comes out looking confused and conflicted.  Stephanie says that since Dusty couldn't decide which son gets his job back, he could decide if he wanted to be dismembered by the Shield or knocked out by Big Show.  Stephanie noted Dusty can't make his mind up, so she orders Show to knock out Dusty.

Show refuses, so Stephanie orders the Shield to get him.  Show backs the Shield down and yells at them.  The Shield backs off, chairs in hand, and Show agonizes.  He apologizes to Dusty, cries a bit, then lands the WMD Punch.  He cradles Dusty and lays him on the mat.

Stephanie smiles and leaves, as does the Shield.  Show kneels over the fallen Dusty as the trainer calls for medics.  He cries while trainers and medics tend to Dusty and take him from the ring.  They run through a replay of the situation as Show hits the knockout punch reluctantly.  The announcers talk in hushed tones about how Show was faced with a terrible choice.

This was terrible television.  Dusty made a good promo about not wanting to choose one son over another and telling Stephanie to go to hell, but it went downhill fast after that.  Just awful.  I can't say I blame people for changing the channel if they did.

They show Dusty being loaded into an ambulance.  Big Show gets in the ambulance with him.

Match #3 - Naomi, Brie Bella and Cameron vs. Layla, Aksana and Alica Fox

AJ is on commentary for this one.  She talks about being the one who won last night at Night of Champions and that she beat three other women to retain her title.  Natalya's supposed to be talking as well but her mic isn't working. 

In the end, Brie Bella gets the win for the Total Divas team.  Natalya calls AJ a title holder while she's a born champion.  The Total Divas girls celebrate in the ring while Natalya and AJ have a staredown.

There, just wasn't anything to discuss here.  Really.

Backstage:

Miz is shown talking to Brad Maddox.  Cole ponders what is happening there.

Back live, the announcers recap what just happened in the ring with Dusty.  Cole says that Rhodes is a 68 year old man and JBL says he was just defending his sons.

Match #4 - Damien Sandow vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)

Ricardo delivers Rob's intro again, unnecessarily.  Sandow didn't get a televised entrance.

RVD basically dominates this one from the start, hitting his signature offense.  Sandow gets the knees up on Rolling Thunder.  RVD fights back with a couple kicks then hits the Five Star Frog Splash to get the win.  Sandow, though, does his normal proclamation of being the guaranteed next world champion.

Basic squash match.  I guess that's the fate of the Smackdown MITB winner, to be miserable until they cash in.. 

Cole says that Miz is happy because he gets a match with Randy Orton next.  He points out that they're in Cleveland, which is Miz's hometown.

The announcers give us a show reset.  They talk about what happened at the top of the show, and the Dusty Rhodes situation. 

Backstage:

Triple H talks to Scott Armstrong.  He tells Armstrong that he has to have a tough talk with him.  Hunter talks about how WWE officials have to have integrity and be above reproach.  He reminds Scott that he had to hold up the title after what happened.  Every time Armstrong tries to speak, Hunter cuts him off.  He tells Armstrong that he will take care of him and offer a healthy severance package and he has to let him go.

So, Hunter keeps him quiet so that Armstrong can't admit Hunter put him up to it....

Match #5 - The Miz vs. Randy Orton

Orton comes out first and the announcers talk about how he looks angry.  King says he expected to be handed the title back until Stephanie chewed him out.  They put over how Miz is in his hometown and Miz spends a moment with his parents at ringside.

Orton attacks him from behind and throws him into the stairs.  He works Miz over at ringside then walks away.  Officials tend to Miz as they go to break.

Miz limps back to the ring after the break and wants this match to continue.  The bell rings and Miz hits a double leg takedown and hammers away on Orton a bit.  This is essentially a scrum that ends up outside the ring.  The two battle back and forth and the match ends up in a double count-out.

Afterward, Orton brings Miz over by his parents and beats on him a bit.  Miz fights back with a clothesline and sends Orton tumbling.  Orton battles back and hits the hanging DDT onto the floor off the barrier.  Orton throws Miz back in the ring and locks his head in a chair, then drops a knee on it.  He stares at the situation while officials tend to Miz.

It makes sense to have that happen to follow up on Stephanie's earlier challenge to regain his mojo to be the face of the company.

Stage Segment:

Ryback's music hits and he comes out with Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel.  Heyman's in a wheelchair.  Curtis Axel excuses himself to backstage.  Heyman introduces himself as the best in the world.  Heyman tells the fans to boo all they want, but envy is one of the seven deadly sins.  Everyone knows how many heathens are in Cleveland.

Heyman says it must be had to compare the fans' insignificant accomplishments to the things he has achieved.  "I pinned CM Punk."  Heyman says he would love to take credit for a master plan but he didn't have one.  Heyman says Punk had him dead to rights when he gave him a beating so heinous that he's confined to a wheelchair.

Heyman says Punk gave him perhaps the most vicious beating in WWE history.  He says it's a miracle he's not a vegetable rotting away in a nursing home.  Heyman says he appears before the fans because one man took initiative to change history.  "Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here tonight and will continue to torment each and every one of you because of the actions of this big beautiful man right here.  I want you to know from the bottom of my heart that I owe my life to Ryback."

Ryback says that if there's one thing he can't stand, it's a bully.  He says Punk bullied Heyman and calls Paul "a human being."  He says he doesn't like Punk because he's a bully and he's going to stop him.  Ryback kneels down and tells Heyman he doesn't have to worry again because Punk won't put his hands on him again as long as Ryback is around.  Heyman kisses Ryback on the cheek, then Ryback stands back up and says "Ryback Rules!" and wheels Heyman backstage.

So, Heyman's going flying at some point in that wheelchair.  Decent segment, and it got some good heat.  The kiss business was actually kind of funny.  I'm interested in where this one goes.

The announcers hype up the match between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns later.  We see the vignette for Los Matadores.  They will fight soon.

Out of break, they show Heyman kissing Ryback again.

Match #6 - Tons of Funk vs. The Real Americans vs. The Usos; #1 Contender's Match under Triple Threat Elimination Rules

Lawler points out some of the Cleveland Browns that are at ringside.  One of them is married to a cousin of The Usos.  After some back and forth action between all three teams, Antonio Cesaro rolls up Tensai to send Tons of Funk to the showers.

The "Tons of Funk" gimmick is falling apart with now.  Two losses in a row and the girls don't even come to the ring with them.

During the break, one of the Uso's took a big swing - some 29 laps around.  The fans start chanting for the announcers as seems to be a weekly routine now.  The Usos go on a flurry, hitting a double dive over the rope onto Swagger and Cesaro at ringside.

Back in the ring, Swagger locks on the Patriot Lock, but he kicks away from it and hits a superkick in return.  The Usos go top rope and tries for a dive, but Cesaro cuts him off.  The other Uso takes care of Cesaro.  Swagger goes up top and hits a superplex but the other Uso made a tag, and hits Swagger with a splash to get the win.

Once it got down to the Usos and Americans, it was a good match.  They seem to be over with this crowd anyhow as well.

Cole and King give us a medical update on The Miz and Dusty Rhodes.  They say Miz has an "injured thorax" but his neck is otherwise okay.  Dusty is alert and his vitals are good but he will be kept overnight for observation.

They feed it to a promo for a reading program that WWE, Walmart, and others were involved in in Detroit.  Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle are shown reading with kids in an elementary school.

We get a video from the Wyatts.  He talks about patience being a virtue but he calls it a lost art.  He says people don't realize there's another world beyond the city walls - it's his world.  In his world, when one of his animals is sick or hurt, they don't let it fumble in agony, they put it down.  He tells Abigail to not worry because he will put them all down.

Another well-done video for the Wyatts.

We get a recap of the Dusty Rhodes angle from earlier.  Cole mentions that Cody Rhodes simply tweeted "Cowards." in response.

They show Daniel Bryan walking backstage, with various members of the roster patting him on the shoulder and rooting him on.  He's got Roman Reigns, next.

Match #7 - Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns (The Shield, w/Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins)

Reigns is in the ring with Ambrose and Rollins as we come out of break.  Cole mentions that this is a "punishment match" for Daniel Bryan.  Reigns is getting a pep talk from Ambrose and Rollins.  Daniel Bryan is somewhat subdued in his entrance but still does his "yes" hand motions.  Randy Orton comes out to watch this one up close from ringside, conferring with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Bryan hits a series of kicks and works over the knee.  Orton sits down with the announcers but doesn't put on a headset.  Bryan works a leg lock and leans forward to throw some forearm shots.

Reigns fights back with a clothesline to the back of Bryan's neck and controls the next several minutes.  Bryan trips Reigns in the corner then kicks the middle turnbuckle into his face.  Bryan hits a missile drop kick.  He tries a suicide dive, but Reigns catches him (clumsily) but picks him up and drives him into the apron then throws him in the barricade.

Reigns keeps up the assault after the break.  He tries for a superplex but Bryan counters with punches to the midsection to break things up.  Reigns hits a nice twisting slam a bit later to get two.  Bryan mounts a comeback, hitting Reigns with the kicks while he's kneeling.  He misses the big finale though and Reigns slams him for two.

Reigns tries for a powerbomb but Bryan flips over and rolls him up for two.  Bryan hits a stiff kick to get another two count.  Bryan hits running drop kicks on Reigns in the corner then on Ambrose and on Rollins to dispose of them.  Reigns turns Bryan inside out with a clothesline, and goes to pick him up.  When he does, Bryan locks on the Yes! Lock.

Randy Orton hits the ring and attacks Bryan.  That throws the match out and Bryan wins by DQ.  Bryan is up to the task though at first and gets Orton in the Yes! Lock.  The rest of the Shield hits the ring though to gang up on Bryan.  The four on one assault takes Bryan down.

Orton grabs a chair and puts it on Bryan's head.  He cues up for his knee drop that he hit earlier on Miz, but here comes a whole lot of help.  Zack Ryder, the Prime Time Players, Rob Van Dam, Dolph Ziggler, The Usos, and a couple others hit the ring.  Orton bails for higher ground.

The scrum is on, and the gang takes out the Shield.  They gang up on each one, with Dolph hitting Ambrose with the Fameasser and the Usos superkicking Reigns from the ring.  They set Rollins up to take Bryan's running knee.  The Shield falls out to regroup, and the guys in the ring hoist Bryan up on their shoulders and do "yes!" chants.  Cole hypes that there's been some justice tonight as the show ends.

So the Superstars of Superstars, aside from RVD and Dolph, and perhaps the Usos and PTP, run out to save the main eventer.  Well, I guess it had to come from somewhere.  I might have gone with only one guy, or maybe a pair (say the Usos, who have a beef with the Shield as it is) to give some momentum.  But hey, I'm just happy to see the babyfaces have some balls again.

Orton got out unscathed, so he lost nothing in this exchange.  He knew he was outmanned so he got out of Dodge.

There was some good on this show, and it definitely benefited from the hot Cleveland fans.  They didn't quiet down for too much throughout the night.  But, this show did have some negatives to it also - like Fandango's match quieting down the crowd, and I'll admit I was not a fan of knocking out a 68 year old man as a part of an angle.

I still feel like we're getting too much McMahon and not enough talent push.  Is it that they feel Cena is out and they just HAVE to be on TV?  I don't know.  Maybe I'm just burned out on heel authority figureheads in general.

Anyhow, I'll have more to say about this show in Raw Afterthoughts, and look for other opinion on the site as well throughout the day tomorrow.  Thanks for watching along tonight.

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