WrestleMania 30: Daniel Bryan wins WWE world heavyweight title
The Daniel Bryan-Triple H feud may not have quite the everyman vs. executive impact that Vince McMahon and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin brought to WWE more than a decade ago. The latter pair's fisticuffs helped finish off competitor WCW and jumpstarted WWE into going public.
But the Austin-McMahon feud, a beautifully told tale, was largely that -- fiction. With Bryan and Triple H, the dynamic of a "suit" trying to keep "the man" down has a much more true-to-life back story.
Bryan hinted as much at the WrestleMania news conference in Manhattan last Tuesday, noting the power that the audience has. It was that power that had fans hijacking shows with chants of disdain until Bryan -- who wasn't even included in the Royal Rumble match in January -- suddenly found himself back in the title picture.
That winding road ended Sunday with Bryan winning two matches to become the new WWE world heavyweight champion.
WWE's brass -- such as Paul Levesque, a real-life WWE executive when not portraying Triple H -- realized that if the smallish and scruffy Bryan isn't exactly the poster boy for WWE, then they just need to make some new posters.
Bryan defeated Triple H on Sunday night at WrestleMania 30 to earn his way into a Triple Threat match with Randy Orton and Batista for Orton's WWE world heavyweight championship later in the evening.
Bryan came to the ring with his left shoulder bandaged, a gimmick that helped Triple H look even more dastardly when he slammed said shoulder into the announce table. He even used Bryan's own "Yes!" lock twice to try to earn a submission.
But Bryan's kick-filled comeback -- including chants of "Yes!" from the Superdome crowd each time he sent his shin into Triple H sternum -- turned the match around.
In the end Triple H tried to earn the win with his pedigree finisher more than once, only for Bryan to finish off Triple H with his high knee for the win.
Following the match, Triple H looked for revenge by slamming the wrapped-up shoulder of Bryan with a folding chair to put his status for the championship match in doubt.
Life didn't get any easier for Bryan during the Triple Theat match. Triple H and wife Stephanie McMahon weren't done, as they snuck to the ring along with rogue referee Scott Armstrong to squash Bryan's chances.
Bryan finally dispatched them with a leap onto the outside to take out both husband and wife. But he still had to deal with a double-team as Orton and Batista's combination powerbomb/RKO onto the announce table sent the medical team to ringside to immobilize Bryan.
But he rose from a gurney and returned to the action, eventually making Batista tap out to the "Yes!" lock to go home a champion.