Randy Orton def. Daniel Bryan to win WWE Championship
On the surface, there didn’t appear to be any sort of fix in against the bearded rebel who has defied The Authority at every turn. However, it was clear something was amiss from the very beginning, when Triple H – who had a heated discussion with HBK moments earlier – made a grand show of parading the abeyant WWE Title before the match, offering handshakes to both Orton and Bryan. Even as The Viper seemed smug and confident in his patron’s presence, Bryan’s rebuke of the handshake was repaid with a knowing wink from the COO, as if he knew the tenacious grappler’s fate was already sealed.
The two rivals wasted no time on pleasantries once the steel came down, using everything from the ring ropes to the Cell walls to their fists as weapons. Bryan attacked The Apex Predator with the force of a bullet train, but The Viper picked his spots carefully, absorbing his opponent’s attacks and cutting Bryan off each time the submission master neared critical mass. The early patience paid off almost immediately when Orton sent the winded former WWE Champion flying into the Cell, leaving the “Yes!” man splayed and dazed outside the ring.
Exploiting the full lawlessness of Hell in a Cell, Orton attempted to use the steel steps as weapons, yet he seemed to have underestimated Bryan’s capacity for ruthlessness. The “Yes!” man reversed Orton’s attempts to dismantle him, slamming him into the steps and sending an ominous message to his clearly rattled opponent: Hell ain’t a bad place to be for Daniel Bryan.
Proving the Cell really does make monsters out of the noblest Superstars, Bryan brought Orton to the ring and trapped him in the Tree of Woe, chopped away with a sequence of rib-rattling kicks and a baseball slide that turned The Viper into a human bobblehead. As his momentum built, the “Yes!” man threw Orton outside the ring and struck with two suicide dives.Once again, however, The Viper proved the more patient of the two and calmly dodged an attempted third. Bryan’s momentum carried him headfirst into the chain link, knocked him into a stupor and handed The Viper the upper hand.
Orton took the fight back in between the ropes, though Bryan’s tenacity again proved more than he anticipated. After suffering a barrage of headbutts from The Apex Predator, Bryan finally found his rhythm and hammered Orton with European uppercuts, then pulverized the reeling Viper with a diving headbutt and a “Yes!” Lock that The Apex Predator only barely managed to escape.
Orton staggered to the outside but found no mercy, as Bryan ground his head against the chain links before producing a chair from beneath the ring and putting the implement to work. Not only did the submission master play a tune on The Apex Predator’s exposed back, but Bryan also tossed about a dozen steel chairs into the ring. Sensing that his old student was, perhaps, getting out of hand, HBK tried to talk some sense into the two-time WWE Champion. But the fuming Bryan only had one response for his onetime sensei: “Get out of my way, Shawn.”
For the second time, Shawn Michaels attempted to intervene by talking The Viper down, and for the second time his words fell on deaf ears. Orton tossed the chairs into a macabre pile and sent Bryan tumbling onto them with a top-rope superplex, though the ensuing two-count briefly turned The Viper’s rage toward HBK instead of Bryan. The Apex Predator all but demanded that The Showstopper give him a three-count, and HBK’s protests – his insistence that the contest be decided fair and square – brought Triple H storming out of the locker room.
The King of Kings’ presence, understandably, took Michaels’ eye off the action at hand, and while the COO chastised his best friend for putting his own interests in jeopardy, Orton regained the advantage by hurling Bryan through the air with a devastating T-bone suplex. With Michaels’ time otherwise occupied by Triple H, though, Orton’s attempted pin went unrecorded. The Viper didn’t take kindly to the oversight and joined Triple H in berating “Mr. WrestleMania” for his evidently shoddy officiating. However, with all his attention focused on the bout’s referee, Orton committed the one unforgivable sin of Hell in a Cell: He forgot about his opponent.
Bryan sprang immediately into action and “Yes!” Locked Orton again, bringing The Viper to the brink of submission. Although Orton escaped the hold, the WWE Universe sensed the end was near and roared its approval. In the same arena where the “YES!” chants first took life, Bryan fed off the crowd’s energy and found his groove again. While the Universe roared and The King of Kings literally rattled the cage of a conflicted Michaels, Bryan countered the RKO by shoving The Viper into a distracted HBK, leaving the WWE Hall of Famer down and robbing the steel house of pain of its lone peacekeeper.
Unsurprisingly, this was the moment when all hell broke loose.
Seeing his best friend laid out threw The Game into a panic, and WWE’s COO demanded that the Cell door be unlocked so Michaels could be attended to. While Triple H and WWE medical staff fumbled with the padlock, however, Bryan made his move and leveled Orton with the Running Knee Smash. With Michaels unable to count, Bryan attempted to rouse his mentor to fulfill his promise and bring the bout to a fair conclusion. Triple H unceremoniously threw Bryan away from his Michaels and, with Orton indisposed and The Game’s defenses down, Daniel Bryan saw his opening.
Granted, it wasn’t a WWE Title win, and given what happened afterward, it’s likely Bryan may end up regretting it. But the second Triple H left himself exposed, the “Yes!” man hit The Game with another Running Knee Smash with such enthusiasm you’d have thought he had waited for it his whole life. “YES!” chants erupted from the WWE Universe , though the euphoria was sadly short-lived.
Perhaps it was seeing his best friend knocked out . Perhaps it was something The Game had said to Michaels before the match, or maybe he just thought it was best for business. Whatever the reason, HBK staggered to his feet, took stock of the situation and hit Bryan with Sweet Chin Music, toppling the would-be titleholder to the mat.
Michaels, for his part, didn’t seem to believe what he had just done, especially when Orton regained consciousness and slithered into the cover. With no choice left , Shawn Michaels counted three and left the arena in disgusted silence as The Game celebrated alongside Orton, crowed again as his chosen champion and the Face of WWE.
Why did Shawn Michaels do it? The answer is likely not simple. A previous issue with Bryan? The need to side with his best friend, Triple H? Money? Sometimes it just takes the right combination of circumstances to bring out the devil in us all. The only question that has been answered is who is the WWE Champion. The answer is The Viper, Randy Orton.
John Cena def. Alberto Del Rio to capture World Heavyweight Championship
Cena's emotional pay-per-view comeback absolutely ignited the WWE Universe. From the early moments of the subsequent matchup, however, it quickly became apparent that Del Rio’s vicious aggression would threaten that homecoming and, in fact, the very career of his celebrated opposition.
Indeed, the treacherous titleholder would target the injured arm of his heroic No. 1 contender from the word go. And despite Cena’s resilience and ability to roar back from his opponent’s unrelenting assault, it seemed for a time as if the 13-time World Champion had indeed reemerged too early and was not 100%. With each passing moment, Del Rio executed a calculating attack, designed to wear down his prey.
The resilient challenger would soon build a solid offense, catching Del Rio with a drop kick as his opponent came off the top rope and following up with the Five-Knuckle Shuffle for a near near-fall.
But, as the two determined warriors battled back-and-forth with growing intensity, the fans couldn’t help but wonder just how much punishment Cena would be able to take.
Then, in a critical moment, Cena avoided a Del Rio charge, sending the Mexican Champion directly into the unforgiving steel post and allowing his iconic foe to hit a follow-up high cross body.
Regaining the advantage, Del Rio would try the Cross Armbreaker, only to have that attempt countered with the feared STF. Still, the champion managed to persevere by getting two fingers on the ropes and forcing the referee to break the hold.
At wasn’t long before Del Rio would return to his signature maneuver, this time successfully locking in the Cross Armbreaker. But even as he rolled down Cena’s protective pad to expose the injury, the incredible strength of the Cenation Leader allowed him to pick up the reigning champion and miraculously drive him down into the canvas.
And when the stunned Essence of Excellence regained to advantage and went for his dreaded submission hold yet again, Cena would be ready for him – countering with an incredible Attitude Adjustment to grab the monumental three-count to earn Cena the World Heavyweight Title amidst a standing ovation!
CM Punk def. Ryback & Paul Heyman in a Handicap Hell in a Cell Match
From the get-go, it was clear Heyman had no interest in being locked in the merciless structure with The Second City Saint. After Ryback entered the Cell by himself, Heyman rode to ringside in a motorized scissor lift. Microphone in hand, Heyman boasted about being “Satan himself” while the lift rose the extreme architect to the top of the Cell, where he remained for the duration of the match.
With Heyman glaring on from overhead, Ryback plowed into Punk with his high-power offense. “The Big Guy” tried squeezing the air from Punk’s lungs with a tight bear hug, and once he got hold of a kendo stick, the juggernaut teed off on The Straight Edge Superstar. Ryback repeatedly suplexed his outsized opponent into the Cell’s chain link wall and dropped Punk with the over-the-shoulder Boulder Holder.
Savvy as ever, Punk survived the early onslaught and fought back with kendo stick strikes of his own, as well as hauling off with his running knee in the corner. The point of no return for Ryback, however, may have been when Punk connected with a low blow, harkening back to their match from WWE Battleground, and then drove Ryback through a table with a flying elbow drop. After connecting Ryback’s chin to his knee with a GTS, Punk scored the pin.
Then, the real fun began.
With the match result no longer in doubt and a look of disbelief plastered on Heyman’s face, Punk pointed skyward. The crowd inside Miami’s AmericanAirlines Arena, sensing what was to come, swelled with anticipation as Punk tucked another kendo stick into his trunks and began climbing the Cell.
With Heyman looking very much like a stranded walrus atop the structure, Punk stalked his prey. The advocate begged off but Punk would have none of it, and after planting an ominous peck on Heyman’s cranium, The Best in the World slammed the kendo stick into his ex-mentor’s midsection.
Unrelentingly, Punk continued striking Heyman with the cane in a cathartic moment for the entire WWE Universe. Pressing his hands together and nestling them next to his cheek, Punk signaled for the GTS, which the WWE faithful in Miami welcomed with chants of “Go to Sleep.”
For the second time Sunday night, Punk hit his finishing maneuver — this time, perhaps, being the most gratifying one of all. Showered with cheers and shouts of support, Punk stood over Heyman’s motionless body and embraced the moment.
Now that he has dealt yet another beating to his former advocate, has Punk’s war with Paul Heyman come to an end? Or, with the man who claimed to be The Best in the World suffering a major setback, is it only a matter of time before The Second City Saint again finds himself a target for Paul Heyman Guys?
WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes & Goldust def. Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins and The Usos
Big E Langston def. United States Champion Dean Ambrose (Count-out)
Fandango & Summer Rae def. The Great Khali & Natalya
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Brie Bella
Damien Sandow def. Kofi Kingston
Los Matadores def. The Real Americans
Credit: Anthony Benigno, Michael Burdick and John Clapp @ www.wwe.com/shows/hellinacell