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Daniel Bryan def. Kane
Bryan countered a Tombstone Piledriver attempt into a picture-perfect Small Package for the 3-count and upset victory at 8:02. Following the match Kane stormed the backstage area in search for Daniel Bryan, effectively ruining Josh Mathews' night.
I loved the storytelling throughout this match. The reason Daniel Bryan plays such an effective heel is his ability to be really, really annoying! He's like the fly buzzing around your apartment that you just can't seem to kill. In this match, Daniel Bryan foolishly disrespects and further provokes a 7-foot tall giant that already doesn't like him. By all accounts he should be toast, but leave it to the weasel to always find a way out!
I'm consistently impressed with Kane's ability to meet the pace of whoever he's in the ring with. Daniel Bryan is extremely agile, but the Big Red Monster was able to stick with him and the two made each other look quite good! The goal of any wrestling match should be to keep the audience wanting more. Not because they're dissatisfied, of course, but because the story being told was interesting enough to merit one more go. They must have done their job; I'm downright shocked to find that I'm excited for another round at Night of Champions!
The Miz got the pin via Skull-crushing Finale to retain the Intercontinental Championship at 9:09.
The Miz is absolutely over since making his return. I know he's a heel, and technically his job should be to get the crowd against him, but L.A. made a ton of noise for the Champ when he got the 1-2-3. And to be fair, Miz drew considerable amounts of heat throughout the match as well. There is no denying that the former WWE Champion has returned with a vengeance, bringing with him an "awesome" new intensity and some great new offense.
I liked the back-and-forth early on, as they tested the waters and got the better of one-another on several occasions. The pace eventually slowed - as slow as a Mysterio match gets anyways - and showed neither have trouble working a classic mat game either. It was a great match; a lot more than I was expecting. These are the kind of matches that put meaning behind the Intercontinental Championship. I haven't seen the crowd behind a mid-card match like that in a long time.
World Heavyweight Championship
Sheamus got the pin after using one of Ricardo's shoes as a weapon (the ref was distracted) and an Irish Curse Backbreaker at 11: 22. Alberto del Rio's leg was on the bottom rope throughout the pin, however afterwards Sheamus was able to pull it away before the referee could see it and reverse his decision.
After reading a lot of feedback on Twitter, it's easy to see there are a lot of mixed feelings towards how the end of this match played out. I actually thought it was a lot of fun! Sheamus took a page out of Del Rio and Ricardo's playbook, and did what any good Champion would do to keep his title. Could he have won without the foreign object? Probably. Could he have kept Del Rio down for a second 3-count had he been honest about the final rope break? Again, probably. But when an advantage falls out of the sky and into you hands - in this case, one of Ricardo's expensive shoes - you use it!
As I've said on multiple occasions, individually I'm not a dedicated fan of either Sheamus or Alberto del Rio. But they've developed a great chemistry together, and turned a decent exchange at Money in the Bank into a feud that is interesting, dramatic and most importantly...fun! They started slow tonight, but the action picked up quickly. The first half of the match wasn't anything better than we've seen in their past encounters; the second half neared perfection.
I actually want to see how Del Rio responds to being screwed over. I want it all to escalate, and like I said on last night's Voice of Wrestling with Chris Cash and Nick Paglino, I believe they have the potential to carry this all the way to Hell in a Cell.
This may be just me, but I know they both did excellent work tonight because I found myself actually compelled, at one point almost hoping for Alberto del Rio to win the match. And if you've followed me on Twitter @MikeKillam at all since last year's WWE Title disaster, you know how big a deal that is...