Marathon men: Superstars who wrestled more than once in a night
It might have well been called, “ Monday Night Daniel Bryan” on June 3, as the submission specialist took over Raw by competing in two grueling matches in his latest attempt to prove to himself that he is not Team Hell No’s “weak link.”
Kicking the night off with an explosive Six-Man Tag Team Match against The Shield, Bryan then made the somewhat rash decision to take on the ever-hungry Ryback later in the night.
As remarkable as Bryan’s performance was, though, the former World Heavyweight Champion is hardly the first to perform double-duty on a given night of squared-circle action. After all, as WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair used to say, he’d wrestle six days a week, then twice on Sundays.
But to do what WWE’s submission specialist did on Raw is truly an accomplishment, as are the following examples of Superstars locking up more than once over the course of a given show.
Triple H and Randy Orton: No Mercy 2007
At No Mercy 2007, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon awarded the WWE Championship to Randy Orton, the result of the reigning titleholder, John Cena, suffering an injury. But following a challenge from Triple H, it would be The Game who emerged with the gold.
However, the night wasn’t over for The Cerebral Assassin, not by a long shot, as Triple H was destined to lock up in three separate matches in one night, including a successful defense of his newly claimed title against Umaga before losing it back to Orton in a brutal Last Man Standing Match – the second showdown of the evening for WWE’s Apex Predator.
Dolph Ziggler: WWE Vengeance 2011
The current World Heavyweight Champion is no stranger to stealing the show. But at WWE Vengeance 2011, The Showoff — then the reigning United States Champion — had his work cut out for him, competing in two consecutive matches with WWE gold on the line.
In the night’s first bout, Ziggler and tag team partner Jack Swagger squared off against WWE Tag Team Champions Air Boom. Despite his best efforts, however, Dolph’s bid for more bling was cut short, thanks to Evan Bourne hitting Air Bourne and covering The Showoff for the pinfall victory.
But Ziggler wouldn’t have much time to sulk about his loss, as the yappy Superstar immediately had to back up his tough talk by defending his U.S. Title against Zack Ryder just moments later. With Air Boom flanking Ryder, and with Swagger by Ziggler’s side, the stage was set for a title match between two bitter rivals. In the end, The Showoff prevailed, successfully defending his championship in impressive fashion.
Bret Hart: WrestleMania X
Others have performed double-duty on pay-per-views, but Bret “Hit Man” Hart took that distinction to a whole new level when he wrestled in two matches on The Grandest Stage of Them All.
At WrestleMania X, The Excellence of Execution put his technical prowess on full display, opening The Show of Shows with a match against his brother, Owen, and closing the night out by challenging Yokozuna for the behemoth’s coveted WWE Championship.
Although The Excellence of Execution lost that opening bout to Owen, the “Hit Man” more than made up for it, scoring a shocking and monumental upset over Yokozuna to kick off one of the WWE Title’s most important and well-regarded title reigns.
After Bret won the bout, he was famously joined inside the ring by a bevy of his fellow Superstars for an unforgettable championship celebration – a party he more than earned.
Chris Jericho and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin: WWE Vengeance 2001
WWE Vengeance 2001 was unique in that both Y2J and The Texas Rattlesnake wrestled twice that night as part of a championship unification tournament, and both walked away from matches with the WWE Title in hand at separate points in the evening.
Austin kicked off the road to unification by successfully defending his WWE Championship against challenger Kurt Angle. Then, Y2J defeated The Rock to lay claim to the WCW Title, which set the stage for the night’s main event between “Stone Cold” and Jericho.
Despite interference by both The Rock and Kurt Angle (and later by Booker T, Ric Flair and even Mr. McMahon), Y2J pinned Austin and captured Unified gold.