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WWE Night of Champions: Bryan reaches the mountaintop
By NOLAN HOWELL - SLAM Wrestling


Daniel Bryan won the WWE heavyweight title at the WWE Night of Champions pay-per-view. Photo by Brad McFarlin


"Best for business." That has been the motto of WWE under the iron fist reign of COO Triple H. Tonight at WWE Night of Champions, the poster boy WWE Champion Randy Orton looks to continue the positive business trend against the proverbial redheaded stepchild of the company in Daniel Bryan. Plus, a lot of gold on the line! All that and more in this year's edition of WWE Night of Champions!

Pre-show is live from Detroit, Mich. Josh Mathews, Alex Riley, Booker T, and Santino Marella are our hosts.

Previews of the matches on tonight's show.

WWE Raw GM Brad Maddox discussing the handicap match tonight with Paul Heyman. Heyman informs Maddox that he will punch the referee to get out of the match, to which Maddox declares the match no disqualifications.

We are LIVE from Detroit, Mich. Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, and Jerry "The King" Lawler have the call for tonight's event.


Tag Team Turmoil Match One: The Prime Time Players vs. Tons of Funk vs. The Usos vs. 3MB (w/Jinder Mahal) vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)

Tons of Funk and 3MB start us off. Heath Slater unloading jabs to the larger Brodus Clay, who unloads some power offense before bringing in Tensai. 3MB playing the numbers game to get control. Tensai and Drew McIntyre left inside and Tensai with a rollup.

3MB have been eliminated.

The Real Americans have entered the match and clean house.

Promos for tonight's pay-per-view roll.

Antonio Cesaro and Tensai are inside when we return. Cesaro attempts a suplex on Tensai to no avail. Brodus Clay tagged in and he takes out Cesaro with power offense. Splash from the second rope and a nearfall as Jack Swagger breaks the pin.

Jack Swagger blind tag in and he locks in the Patriot Lock on Brodus Clay.

Tons of Funk have been eliminated.

The Usos enter the match and take out The Real Americans with high-flying maneuvers. Cesaro taking a beating before landing an atomic drop to bring Jack Swagger in. Swagger locks in the armbar and The Real Americans isolating Jey Uso on the mat.

More promos for tonight's show.

The Usos rolling as we return. Jack Swagger stops the offense by locking in the Patriot Lock and forcing the submission.

The Usos have been eliminated.

The Prime Time Players enter the match. Titus O'Neil using big offense to work Jack Swagger. Big boot attempt misses and Swagger with a chop block to the leg. Darren Young gets in and ducks Swagger. Gutbuster from Young connects.

Winners by pinfall: The Prime Time Players

Pre-show capping off with a rundown of the rest of the show.


No, it's not the start of Raw, it was the start of Night of Champions, with Triple H. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
The pay-per-view is LIVE.

WWE COO Triple H makes his way to the ring to kick off the show. Triple H introduces the show and says he wants to announce that no interference is allowed in tonight's WWE Championship match between champion Randy Orton and challenger Daniel Bryan.

WWE Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman interrupt Triple H. Heyman says he has been cutting through red tape to speak to Triple H and he now has the opportunity to do so. Heyman believes there was a serious misjudgment by having him compete tonight against CM Punk. Triple H says there is no reason for Heyman to be scared if he believes in Axel. Axel asks if this is something personal, considering he beat Triple H months ago. Triple H books Axel in a match with his belt on the line next after Axel's poking of the bear.

Match Two for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: Curtis Axel (c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kofi Kingston

Lockup between the two leads to a grappling exchange between the two. Stalemate between the two men as they exchange holds. Kingston getting a bit of control and Axel slips outside to regroup. Back inside, Kingston wearing Axel down in the corner with strikes. Axel again heads out to regroup.

Spinning back kick from Kingston gets a nearfall back inside. Axel now in control and countering Kingston with a clothesline that sends him outside. Axel looks to whip Kingston into the steel steps, but Kingston runs them to hit a crossbody from the top on the floor. Nearfall inside from Kingston.


Apparently, Curtis Axel was as surprised by his Intercontinental title defense as the viewers were. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Kingston looking to continue his onslaught, but he gets hung in the tree of woe in the corner. Axel working strikes and power offense for a nearfall. Submission hold in for Axel. Kingston looking to fight back, but Axel lays him out cold with a lariat for a nearfall. More strikes and power offense lead to a chinlock submission. Kingston building momentum and he lands a DDT. Clotheslines and a cross body from the top get a Kingston nearfall.

A kneeled Axel gets the back punted to allow Kingston to land a Boom Drop. Kingston looking to finish, but Trouble in Paradise misses. Axel shoulder tackling Kingston into the corner, but he runs into a pendulum kick. Kingston up top and he falls right on a counter dropkick from Axel for a nearfall.

Both men exchanging counter after counter. Neckbreaker attempt from Axel is turned into an SOS for Kingston for a close nearfall. Kingston sent into the corner and attempts to float over, but Axel with an electric chair hotshot before hitting his signature turning facebreaker.

Winner by pinfall and still WWE United States Champion: Curtis Axel

Rob Van Dam and Ricardo Rodriguez prepping for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match tonight.

WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee meets up with Layla, Aksana, and Alicia Fox. Lee says she is ready to fight for them against the reality stars. The ladies have decided they are no longer a group and they are all for themselves. Lee is nervous as Layla shuffles off last.

Match Three for the WWE Divas Championship: AJ Lee (c) vs. Naomi vs. Brie Bella vs. Natalya

The group all gangs up on AJ to start. The three ladies take turns tossing AJ into the barricade. Brie Bella knees AJ out of the ring and double clotheslines Naomi and Natalya. Bella with knee strikes for both ladies. Natalya is sent to the floor. Dropkick from Naomi leads to a hurricanrana for a nearfall. AJ with a sneaky rollup on Natalya for a nearfall.

Natalya and AJ striking each other before Naomi hits Rear View for a nearfall on Natalya. All four ladies going at it. Natalya with a body slam on Bella and Naomi. Double Sharpshooter on both of them before AJ Lee comes from behind with a kick. Black Widow locked up on Natalya.

Winner by submission and still WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee


Rob Van Dam did not go over in Michigan, his home state. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match Four for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)

Both men even to start it off. Action moves outside and Rob Van Dam takes control on Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio draped on the barricade and RVD with the helicopter leg drop. Both men fighting on the apron and Del Rio sends RVD out. Suicide dive follows and Del Rio in control outside.

Del Rio wearing down the high-flyer with some mat work. Sleeper hold in, but RVD is able to counter with a sunset flip for a nearfall. Suplex from Del Rio. RVD being worked back down to the mat and Del Rio gets the sleeper again. Headbutts and a Saito Suplex send RVD to the apron. Enzuigiri sends RVD tumbling to the floor.

Back inside, RVD regains control with some kickboxing. Del Rio with a few dirty strikes to regain the pace. Springboard thrust kick from RVD gets a nearfall. RVD heads up top and lands a side kick. Rolling Thunder attempt misses and Del Rio with a Backstabber for a nearfall.

Del Rio toying with RVD in the corner before sitting him up top. Reverse suplex attempt is countered by RVD elbows. From the top, RVD with a flip dive that puts Del Rio down for a nearfall. The men exchanging strikes in the center of the ring before Del Rio gets a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a nearfall.

Cross Armbreaker being looked for, but RVD with a head kick and a legscissors rollup for a nearfall. RVD continuing with the split-legged moonsault for a nearfall to keep momentum on his side. Del Rio with an armbreaker as the action returns to the feet and he follows with a side kick to the head. Stomps of frustration coming from Del Rio. Del Rio up top, but he comes down on a spinning wheel kick. Leg drop from RVD allows him to head up top. Five-Star Frog Splash comes right down on the knees of Del Rio. Cross Armbreaker locked in and RVD squirming towards the rope. RVD gets there and the referee counts the hold. Del Rio refuses to relinquish the submission.

Winner by disqualification: Rob Van Dam

Post-match, Del Rio looking to attack RVD with a steel chair. Ricardo Rodriguez swipes it away and RVD hits a DDT. Del Rio dragged to the corner and Rodriguez with the chair in hand. Van Daminator from across the ring.

Curtis Axel and Paul Heyman preparing for their match. Heyman reiterates the implications of this match and says he might not be able to help Axel should Punk get a hold of him.


How about an extra shot of Summer Rae? Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match Five: Fandango (w/Summer Rae) vs. The Miz

The Miz muscling Fandango into the corner to start. Miz controlling Fandango and looking for the Figure-Four, but Fandango gets to the ropes. Corner clothesline from The Miz. Summer Rae up on the apron for a distraction and Miz kicked down from the top. Fandango locking in submissions on the mat.

Action moves outside. Baseball slide kick into the barricade by Miz. Miz from the apron is caught by a jumping kick to the midsection from Fandango. Fandango with a nearfall back inside off the kick.

Gutwrench constricting Miz. The Miz fighting out and hitting Fandango with a barrage of kicks. Fandango cornered and The Miz punts the second rope, crotching Fandango. DDT from out of the corner by Miz gets a nearfall. Fighting back from his feet, Fandango with a falcon arrow for a nearfall.

On the apron, Miz looking to regroup. Fandango whips him into the ring post and connects with an enzuigiri. Miz draped on the second rope and guillotine leg drop from the top gets Fandango a nearfall. Fandango going for the same in the middle of the ring, but Miz moves out of the way. Figure-Four Leglock in for Miz.

Winner by submission: The Miz

Video package recaps the feud between CM Punk and Paul Heyman.

No Disqualification Handicap Elimination Match Six: Curtis Axel & Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk

CM Punk and Curtis Axel both start off with kendo sticks. Axel swinging for the fences and Punk ducks. Punk working the body with ferocious force. Axel down and Punk heads out to take Heyman into the ring. Inside, Punk muscling Heyman around and threatening with a kendo stick, but Axel with a low blow.

Axel in control with headshots. Nearfall after Axel takes one out of the park with the kendo stick. Axel goes out to get a chair and Punk starts working leg kicks. Punches and Punk has the chair, but Axel drops him with a dropkick for a nearfall. Countering strikes, Punk is caught with a lariat behind the head from Axel.

Chair stuck between the turnbuckles and Axel now bringing a table into play. Table set up in the corner and Axel looking to suplex Punk through. Reversals from Punk and Axel doing the same. Axel turns it away from the table for a snap suplex that gets a nearfall.

Sleeper in for Axel. The hold is released and Axel up top, but he comes down onto a throat strike from Punk. Punk tosses Axel into the chair and he tumbles out to the floor to regroup. Heel kick and axhandle smash lead to a swinging neckbreaker from Punk. Running knee in the corner is followed up by a clothesline. Elbow drop from the top by Punk sees Axel roll to the floor. Punk heads down and attempts a suicide dive, but he careens right into a chair. Nearfall back inside by Axel.

Swinging neckbreaker allows for another Axel nearfall. Axel crossfacing with the wrist across the head of Punk. Kendo stick strikes in abundance from Axel. Swinging neckbreaker attempt from Axel is nearly countered into a GTS. Punk slams the ribcage of Axel with a kendo stick and hits the GTS. Anaconda Vise in and Axel taps.

Paul Heyman looking like a dead man walking. Punk heading out to bring him inside and they run through the audience. Punk catches up to him as they get back to the ring. Punk with kendo stick shots across the back. Handcuffs from the boots of Punk tie Heyman up. Heyman trying to tap and Punk just unloading kendo stick shots.

Heyman down on the ropes and Punk ready to go for the kill. Ryback makes his way to the ring and spears Punk through the table.

Winners by pinfall: Paul Heyman & Curtis Axel

Ryback puts Heyman on his shoulders and carries him back. Punk is left with a giant gash on his back and he is in disarray as he heads backstage.

Match Seven for the WWE United States Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) (w/The Shield) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Dolph Ziggler using his amateur wrestling skills to school Dean Ambrose on the mat to begin. Ambrose with the hammerlock counter. Some mind games from Ambrose allows Ziggler to land a dropkick for a nearfall. Series of elbow drops followed up by a jumping one for a nearfall.

Both men go outside as Ziggler sends Ambrose out. Ambrose roughed up on the apron and the two men tussle in the corner. Match is in the wheelhouse of Ambrose as the two men brawl. Ziggler being stretched by a chinlock from Ambrose. Ambrose working the submissions until Ziggler is able to fight out for a shared pinning predicament.

Action moves up top. Ambrose dragging the nails across the back of Ziggler and a Tiger Driver from Ambrose for a nearfall. Both men exchanging offense and Ziggler gets control. Splash in the corner followed up by a running forearm for a nearfall by the challenger.

Ziggler off the ropes and he tilt-a-whirls into a sleeper hold. Ambrose lifts Ziggler into a Saito Suplex for a nearfall. Ambrose again playing some mind games and he nearly gets caught with a jackknife cover. The two men exchanging counter after counter and Ziggler catches the Famouser for a nearfall.

Ambrose punts the head of Ziggler as he enters the ring and tries to drive the head into the mat, but Ziggler fights out. Splash attempt in the corner by Ziggler misses big and Ambrose drives the head into the mat.

Winner by pinfall and still WWE United States Champion: Dean Ambrose


The Shield kept all of their gold. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match Eight for the WWE Tag Team Championships: The Shield (c) vs. The Prime Time Players

Titus O'Neil in control of Seth Rollins with ease here. Scoop slam and Rollins being tossed around as Darren Young is tagged in. Young working the side headlock and he heads off the ropes to catch Rollins on a leapfrog attempt for a powerslam for a nearfall.

Roman Reigns brought in and The Shield working on keeping Young cornered. Quick tags from The Shield, but Reigns sent outside and Rollins is hoisted into the air. Rollins wiggles out and young smashes him with an elbow for a nearfall.

Titus O'Neil inside pummeling Rollins. The Prime Time Players exchanging quick tags and Darren Young in now, but not having the luck of his partner as The Shield isolates him in their corner. Reigns tosses Young down to the floor and muscles in some strikes to earn a nearfall back inside.

Rollins inside and Young trying to mount a comeback, but Rollins smacks him down and starts toying with him. Rollins running the ropes, but he is caught by a belly-to-belly suplex. Reigns brought in and he saves the tag by tossing Young into the corner. Young fighting out and the path is clear after a bodydrop on Rollins.

O'Neil in and he turns Rollins inside out with a clothesline. Rollins with a brief resurgence in an enzuigiri, but he heads off the ropes and runs right into the Clash of the Titus. Reigns breaks the pin up, but Young takes him to the apron. Young is tripped up on the apron and Reigns gets inside to blindside O'Neil with a spear. Rollins cover.

Winners by pinfall and still WWE Tag Team Champions: The Shield

Video package hyping the WWE Championship match.


Daniel Bryan just after pinning Randy Orton for the win. Photo by Brad McFarlin
Match Nine for the WWE Championship: Randy Orton (c) vs. Daniel Bryan

Match starting off with the chain grappling of Daniel Bryan. Randy Orton yanking the beard to get out of the hold and takes Bryan down with a side headlock takeover. Bryan back in control with the roundhouse kicks and he hits an armbreaker across the shoulder. Repeat and a kick to the small of the back of Orton. Bryan looking to grind Orton down as he mounts him in the corner with strikes. Orton ducks under with some kidney blows to land a backbreaker. Orton now using the corner to his advantage with a series of clotheslines for a nearfall.

The limbs of Bryan being worked by Orton strikes. The two men exchanging blows in the middle of the ring, but Orton ends the striking battle with a front suplex onto the top rope for a quick nearfall.

WHAT YOU THINK
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Chinlock from Orton locked in with some illegal pulling of the beard. Body blows from Bryan get him out and a Lou Thesz press is followed by some strikes. Bryan back to his feet, but he is soon flat on his back courtesy of a clothesline from Orton that earns a nearfall. Stomps from Orton get another nearfall.

A cornered Bryan is mounted and Orton pounding right hands right down the pipe. Bryan slumps in the corner and Orton hits him with a headbutt. Bryan sent off into the corner, but he flips and begins the sprint to land a clothesline on Orton. Running dropkicks in the corner are followed up by a trio of roundhouse kicks. Both up top and Bryan with a hurricanrana to bring Orton back down.

Orton outside and Bryan is right there behind him with a suicide dive. Up top, a missile dropkick from Bryan again sends Orton outside. Bryan again follows up with a suicide dive that bangs Orton into the barricade. Once again, Orton rolls outside as he is put back in. Clever offense by Orton as Bryan dives right into a forearm shiver after going to the well one too many times. The apron holding Bryan up and Orton DDTs him into the floor.

Bryan makes the referee's count with a second to spare. Orton taunting Bryan a bit before setting up for an RKO. Bryan shoves him away and lands a dropkick that sends referee Scott Armstrong tumbling outside. Bryan looking for the Yes Lock, but Orton fights out and sends him off the ropes for a powerslam nearfall. Orton looking for his rope-assisted DDT, but Bryan ducks inside and cranks the Yes Lock. Writhing in pain, Orton inching towards the ropes and he barely gets there. Roundhouse kicks to the body from Bryan connecting, but Orton moves away from a running dropkick. Orton nearfall as Bryan recoups.

Orton seats Bryan up top, but Bryan slithers under and crotches Orton up top. Now in the tree of woe, Orton feels the roundhouse kicks of Bryan against his ribs before eating a running dropkick. Both men up top again, but Orton with elbows and punches to send Bryan to the mat. Too much time taken by Orton and Bryan is there with a forearm. Superplex from Bryan and he stays up top to hit the diving headbutt for a nearfall.

Bryan staying on the offensive with roundhouse kicks, but Orton catches one to land a T-bone suplex. Both men up and Orton looking for an RKO. Backslide attempt from Bryan sees Orton roll through. Bryan with a side kick and he heads to the corner. Busaiku Knee connects and puts Orton down.

Winner by pinfall and new WWE Champion: Daniel Bryan

The new champion celebrating closes the show.

RELATED LINKS

  • WWE Night of Champions Photo Gallery
  • Night of Champions continued Detroit's winning ways
  • Countdown to WWE Night of Champions

    Nolan Howell can be reached at nth993@gmail.com for any questions or comments. Click here to follow Nolan on Twitter.