MINNEAPOLIS - United States Champion Daniel Bryan has plenty to brag about after making Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler tap out to his patented LeBell Lock, picking up the win in the opening contest of WWE Bragging Rights. Not only was Bryan victorious in this non-title champion vs. champion match, but the U.S. Champion also earned Raw its first victory over SmackDown at this year's event. (PHOTOS)
During a SmackDown invasion of Monday Night Raw, Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler was introduced to the Raw audience by his girlfriend, SmackDown Official Consultant Vickie Guerrero. Friday Night's power couple entered the ring and proceeded to gloat to the WWE Universe about why Ziggler makes such a great Intercontinental Champion. Before the arrogance was allowed to go too far, Raw's United States Champion Daniel Bryan confronted the smitten pair, issuing a challenge to Ziggler.
What occurred next on Raw would ultimately foreshadow what transpired at WWE Bragging Rights. After the challenge was issued, the two champions got physical and before long, WWE officials had to pull Bryan off of Ziggler, who was firmly locked in the U.S. Champion's LeBell Lock.
Live from the Target Center at WWE Bragging Rights, Bryan succeeded in proving that on this particular night, he was the better champion. The action was intense and kept the Minneapolis crowd on the edge of their seats with many near falls. As the two Superstars battled back and forth, Vickie kept screaming words of encouragement for her beau. But Vickie's piercing screams weren't enough to distract Bryan as he once again captured Ziggler in his painful submission hold and forced the Intercontinental Champion to tap out.
While no titles changed hands or were unified, Bryan earned something more important, especially for this event: A victory for Raw. Surely, Monday Night's Superstars hoped that this win in the opening bout would set the tone for Team SmackDown vs. Team Raw later in the evening.
While Ziggler came up short in what was a very physical and memorable contest, both he and Daniel Bryan demonstrated why they are the Intercontinental Champion and United States Champion, respectively, and have their names etched in history with the legendary likes of Pat Patterson, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Harley Race and more.