Raw: Bryan rides an emotional roller coaster in Cleveland
NICK TYLWALK - SLAM! Wrestling
Daniel Bryan overcame the odds and beat Randy Orton for the WWE Championship on Sunday at Night of Champions. But do we really think the McMahon family was going to give up this easily, or will there be another twist in the bearded one's saga tonight? We'll find out together as Raw goes live once again on USA.
The fans give Bryan a warm welcome as he hits the ring with his hard-earned title belt in hand. He tells the fans how awesome they are and leads them in a triumphant "Yes!" chant that would probably go longer if it wasn't halted by the arrival of Triple H. The Game wants to address what he calls the 800-pound gorilla in the room, which as the fast count that ended the championship match. In the interest of getting to the bottom of it, Trips summons Scott Armstrong, the official who made the count. They watch footage of Armstrong's normal cadence while making a count and compare it to the finish. It was faster, no question. How does he explain this? Armstrong admits that he made a mistake and that it was a fast count. Hunter thinks he's hiding something, and Armstrong reluctantly says "They're onto us" to Bryan. A confused champ faces more heat from Triple H, who says he has no choice but to hold up the championship because of the "conspiracy" that needs to be investigated in more detail. He asks Bryan to do the right thing and hand over the belt - or he will take it. The crowd urges him not to comply as Orton hits the ring. Triple H wants both men to be reasonable, promising that he'll get to the bottom of this. When Bryan refuses, Orton hits him with an RKO, allowing HHH to leave with the gold.
Orton storms in and demands his title back, but Stephanie McMahon intervenes and tells Randy that until he finds the sick bastard with no morality that he used to be, maybe they'll have to find a new face of the WWE.
Match 1 - Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler
JBL says that as a former WWE Champion, he's disgusted and embarrassed by what Bryan has done. Playing that heel role to a tee! Ambrose sends Ziggler flying out to the floor and right into a commercial break. Dolph is still taking it on the chin after we return, getting planted by a superplex for two. He absorbs more abuse before hitting a jumping DDT that leaves both men down. A dropkick and mounted corner punches follow, as does a running clothesline and repeated elbow drops. Ziggler covers but Ambrose kicks out at two. The two grapplers trade two counts until Ambrose looks for his finisher, which gets countered by a Zig Zag that ends the match. No belt for Dolph, but he does get a measure of revenge.
A pacing Brad Maddox tells Big Show that Triple H and Stephanie will be in to talk to him momentarily. And they are, with Trips telling Maddox that he wants Bryan to compete against Roman Reigns, while Steph tells Show she expects him to be at her beck and call tonight in case she needs him. He has no choice but to play along, since he can't afford to be suspended without pay again.
Match 2 - Fandango vs. R-Truth
This one spilled out of a dance competition on Smackdown, apparently. The fans chant for Summer Rae instead of the match, somewhat understandably. She gets excited as Fandango drops a leg off the top turnbuckle, and that's enough to get a victory.
Dusty Rhodes makes his way out, acknowledging the fans but clearly with a lot on his mind. The American Dream makes an impassioned speech about finding a way to do things for the love of your children, and he's definitely upset about what happened to Cody. He wants to know about the business proposition Stephanie supposedly has for him, and she comes out applauding. She apologizes if Hunter's business decision cast a shadow over the wedding, but Dusty turns down the Bed, Bath & Beyond gift card she offers (“That's where they were registered!”). Cutting to the chase, McMahon says Cody can have his job back... or it can go to older brother Goldust. She says she knows that Dusty blames himself for neglecting Dustin over the years, but he won't be tricked into choosing between them. He tells Stephanie she can go straight to hell, and she ends up summoning The Shield in response. Steph calls for Big Show to "even things out," but something tells me he won't be on the Dream's side. Sure enough, she wants Show to knock him out, and when he refuses, she sends in The Shield instead. The giant gives Dusty a hug before apologizing and knocking him out. I guess that was more humane than the alternative, no?
Show stays by Dusty's side as medics wheel him to a waiting ambulance, even hopping in to ride to the hospital with him.
Match 3 - Layla, Oksana and Alicia Fox vs. Brie Bella and The Funkadactyls
AJ and Natalya join the announcers for some commentary, mostly so they can trade barbs about making each other tap out. Meanwhile all six women get in on the action and Brie ends up getting the pinfall. Nattie and AJ have a post-match staredown as well.
Match 4 - Damien Sandow vs. Rob Van Dam
Sandow gets some early pinning attempts as the crowd tries to rally behind RVD. The Elbow of Disdain gets another two, and now Ricardo Rodriguez is leading the cheers. On cue, Van Dam starts flying around until his Rolling Thunder is countered. The announcers would rather debate whether Bryan knew about the quick count. Van Dam delivers the Five Star Frog Splash, and that's it for this one.
Armstrong visits Triple H, who gives him a lecture about how the officials need to be above reproach. And so he's going to offer him a very generous severance package. "I'm going to take care of you."
Match 5 - Randy Orton vs. The Miz
Hometown boy Miz wants to celebrate with his parents and friends, but Orton assaults him from behind, possibly hurting his shoulder in the process. After some commercials, Miz wants to go on with the bout anyway, valiantly competing with only one good arm. He sends Orton into the retaining wall several times on the outside, but Randy quickly responds right in front of Mr. and Mrs. Miz Sr. The ref calls for the bell, but Orton still sends Miz over the announce table and stomps away on him. Miz fights back beside his folks, but a DDT off the barricade puts an end to that. Back in the ring, Orton puts Miz's head in a steel chair and makes a dramatic knee drop onto it.
Paul Heyman makes his appearance pushed in a wheelchair by Ryback. He calls himself the best in the world and taunts the Cleveland fans for their insignificant achievements. He's pretty proud of his most recent one, pinning CM Punk. Heyman claims he had no master plan, and that the beating he took was so bad that he's confined to a wheelchair, perhaps the most vicious beating in WWE history. How did he survive? Because one man stood up hen all other Paul Heyman men fell down, and that man is Ryback. He owes his life to Ryback. If there's one thing Ryback can't stand, it's a bully, and Ryback didn't appreciate the way Punk was bullying Heyman. As long as he's around, Punk will never put his hands on Heyman again. And there's a kiss on the cheek. #Awkward
Match 6 - The Usos vs. The Real Americans vs. Tons of Funk - Tag Team Number One Contenders Match
Trent Richardson and some of the other Cleveland Browns are in the house as guests of The Usos. They see Jimmy (I think) get an extended beating from both the other teams until Tensai decides to focus on Antonio Cesaro instead. That doesn't stop Cesaro from flying in and rolling up Tensai to eliminate Tons of Funk. Commercial time. During the break, fans were giving the "This is awesome!" chant to Cesaro for his Big Swing. Seriously. Now the fans are chanting for JBL and Jerry Lawler for some reason. Jimmy Uso gets a hot tag from his brother and unloads on Jack Swagger, but Cesaro manages to save his partner. The Usos make dual leaps to the outside as Zeb Colter shows some concern. A wild finish ends with Jey flying off the top rope to splash Swagger and win a tag team title shot.
At this point, I'm not going to try translating any of the Wyatt Family videos for you. They kind of need to be seen for themselves. Bray does promise to Abigail to put all the sick and wounded animals down, that much I got. Backstage, Bryan gets some support from the good guys on the roster and a hug from Brie as he heads to the ring.
Main Event - Daniel Bryan vs. Roman Reigns
Ambrose and Seth Rollins are out supporting their teammate, but Orton soon makes his way out as well. Bryan opens fast with a flurry of kicks, working over Reigns' left leg with abandon. Orton sits back and strokes his facial hair as Reigns tries to prevent more damage to his leg. The Shield's enforcer finally gets things going his way, slowing the pace with a headlock and some shoulder blocks. Bryan responds with a knee to the midsection and some kicks to Reigns' back. He goes back to his bulldog-like attack on the left leg but ends up in a bad way in the corner. Bryan's rally takes the form of a big missile dropkick, but Reigns catches him flying out to the floor and smashes him into the apron. Switch to the app during the ads (where applicable)! Bryan slowly works his way out of trouble, drawing on some love from the Cleveland crowd. He kicks Reigns in the chest a bunch of times but misses a head shot, and a Reigns Samoan drop is good for a near fall. Bryan escapes a power bomb and gets his own two with a kick to the head. Rollins gets a baseball kick for getting too close to the action, and Ambrose gets a dropkick too. Reigns tries moving in for the kill with Bryan on the mat, but he gets hauled into the Yes Lock instead. Orton intervenes, the match is thrown out, and Bryan is soon victim to a four-on-one assault. Orton sets the chair up to give Bryan some of the same medicine Miz got, but the Usos, Kofi Kingston, Ziggler, RVD, R-Truth , Zack Ryder, Justin Gabriel, and the Prime Time Players all hit the ring. Rollins eats a running knee shot from Bryan ,and The Shield is left licking its wounds. The Players hoist Bryan onto their shoulders and everyone joins in a "Yes!" chant as Raw ends with the good guys finally getting some payback. See you in seven!
Nick Tylwalk has been waiting for a WCW-style ending with the locker room hoisting a guy up in the air in triumph at the end of the show, and now he got it. Follow his Twitter feed @Nick_Tylwalk or his Google+ page for musings on wrestling, video games and sports, or email him at email@example.com.