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   September 30, 2014



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Bryan, Wyatt bring the heat for WWE to cold Fairfax
By NOLAN HOWELL - SLAM Wrestling


FAIRFAX, VA - The East Coast was rocked late with winter weather. Schools were closed down and roads were iced as many called it a weekend early. However, Sunday evening in Fairfax, Va. brought some red hot action that brought a welcome distraction from the dreary weather outside. While the cold wind blew outside the Patriot Center, nestled in the confines of George Mason University, the crowd and performers kept everything heated.

Of course, the hottest topic in the WWE today lies in what is likely their most universally loved performer in Daniel Bryan. His stunning alignment with the Wyatt Family has many scratching their heads and dropping their jaws. That was quite apparent as the steel cage was assembled by the hands of the referees and ring crew alike and Bray Wyatt promised to show a "dog" who its "master" was, where Bryan soon came out in a blue jumpsuit fit for a mechanic. The usual chants of "YES!" were replaced by tentative, yet audible cheers at the bearded hero made his way inside the cage.

The match itself was filled with uneasy moments itself, though the crowd made very clear where its allegiance lied. Bryan showed a level of hesitancy that he has never demonstrated, despite the crowd's chants of his signature phrase and his name. Just when it looked like the "dog" had come off its chain, Erick Rowan slammed the cage door in a crawling Bryan's face. Sister Abigail brought an end to the match as Wyatt hooked the leg. However, it wasn't quite all over as the behemoths Rowan and Luke Harper stepped in at the orders of Wyatt to bring Bryan to his feet. The tattooed arm of Wyatt struck out in peace, offering a handshake. Though the crowd feverishly chanted "NO!," Bryan showed a defeated acceptance of his fate once again and returned the symbol of affection to his new family.

Prior to this matchup, the fans had already been treated to the work of Harper and Rowan as they fell to The Usos earlier in the night. While the group dominated throughout the bout, a hot tag saved fan-favorite Usos to score a roll up upset. Soon after, a devilishly backhanded NXT Champion Bo Dallas changed the stipulation of his title match to a non-title contest so the "Bolievers" in "Richmond" wouldn't have to worry about losing their champion. Despite his loss to R-Truth, Dallas delivered this reporter's favorite performance of the night, showing great chops for playing the heel with unawareness for arrogance.

The Prime Time Players defeated 3MB sans Heath Slater after the opening pair of bouts, with Darren Young and Titus O'Neil showing their usual knack for entertainment to the crowd's delight. Miz and Fandango both showed off some dance skills in their bout as well. Though both were clearly enjoying their time, it would be Miz who took home the win with his signature Figure Four Leglock. Finally, before the Bryan vs. Wyatt steel cage matchup took the show to intermission, WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka took on Natalya and NXT standout Emma in a tag match where all the women minus Snuka received praise from the fans. The vaunted Sharpshooter brought about the win for Natalya, who shared the signature dance with Emma before doing her usual rounds of going above and beyond with the fans.

As fans returned from the concession booths, Bad News Barrett delivered some bad news to Justin Gabriel after taking some jabs at the people of Fairfax, who chanted "USA" during the contest despite the lack of American participation in the matchup. The sour tone wouldn't last long though, as the show closed out with WWE Intercontinental Champion Big E Langston retaining his belt against Damien Sandow and CM Punk defeating The Shield in what was the match of the night in terms of quality and reaction. Punk, aside from Bryan, heard the most roars from the crowd as he played the team against each other with constant movement to hit the GTS on WWE United States Champion Dean Ambrose to score the win.

Though the attendance was scare and the cold prevented many from making the trip, no one could say that both sides didn't do their jobs Sunday evening in Fairfax. The performers brought it and the fans returned it in kind, showing why WWE house shows provide a fun atmosphere that rivals, if not brings an entirely different experience than other WWE live events. The second Holiday Tour trip in two years to Fairfax for the company proved that the Northern Virginia fans can bring the heat, no matter the cold!

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