Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton and Batista to become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion

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April 06, 2014

Having felled The King of Kings to make the main event in the first place, it’s likely many in the WWE Universe thought Bryan had already gotten his victory  by embarrassing his tormentor on The Grandest Stage of Them All. Bryan, evidently, did not agree with that. The “Yes!” Man stood a full head shorter than both his opponents but fought with twice the heart, launching himself into Orton with a running dropkick all of two seconds into the match. After expelling Batista from the ring with a hurricanrana, Bryan targeted Orton again and was quickly cut down  when The Viper stomped the life out of Bryan’s injured shoulder.

With the submission specialist reduced to a non-factor, The Animal locked horns with his former Evolution teammate. Having finally gotten the one-on-one confrontation he wanted, Batista took gleeful advantage of the Triple-Threat’s no disqualification rule by using the barricade, ring apron and steel steps as weapons, though Orton staged a last-second rally by back-dropping Batista onto those same steps.

The WWE Universe continued to shower their typical jeers on The Apex Predator, though for once he did not seem fazed by them as he started to dismantle Batista. In what would become a recurring theme, Bryan re-entered the fray right when his enemies had written him off, connecting with a missile dropkick that put the Champion of Champions on his back. Despite being hindered by an excruciating injured shoulder, Bryan turned seamlessly to his famous feet and didn’t miss a step – so to speak – in the process. The Superdome erupted in waves of “YES!” chants each time The Beard’s kicks found flesh, peaking as the overachiever ping-ponged back and forth between the turnbuckles to pulverize Orton and Batista with running dropkicks.

It was Batista who briefly neutralized Bryan again and brought the bout back down to two, although champion and challenger both seemed slowed  by the lingering effects of The Beard’s attacks. Again, Bryan used the opportunity  to rally, blasting Orton with a flying headbutt and applying the “Yes!” Lock on  The Apex Predator.

In the past, this had been The Authority’s cue to save Orton’s serpentine skin, and with the ultimate prize on the line, the corporate powers that be did not disappoint. With Stephanie McMahon in tow, the conquered King of Kings pulled  the referee out of the ring and summoned Scott Armstrong – his bought-and-paid-for  official from WWE Hell in a Cell – to ensure that the job was done. But even a Batista Bomb and a crooked  ref couldn’t put the “Yes!” Man down for three; not only did Bryan kick Armstrong’s head in, but he took King, Queen and their pawn out all together with a suicide dive to the outside.

The sight of Stephanie laid out  by the “Flying Goat” drove The Game into a rage, yet the “Yes!” Man finally sent The Game packing the same way the COO has dispatched many of his own foes throughout the years: With a sledgehammer – The Game’s own sledgehammer, in fact – to the head.

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