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Daniel Bryan beats John Cena for title at WWE SummerSlam, then loses it to Randy Orton

WWE wrestler Randy Orton attends WWE & E!

WWE wrestler Randy Orton attends WWE & E! Entertainment's "SuperStars For Hope" at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. (Aug. 15, 2013) Credit: Getty Images

The lead-up to John Cena's WWE title defense vs. Daniel Bryan at Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view celebrated the saying, "Never let the facts get in the way of a good story." 

The premise used to build the encounter was the "sports entertainer" (Cena) vs. the "wrestler" (Bryan). Fans chided Cena in the weeks prior with chants of "You can't wrestle!" -- ignoring the sizable progression he's made as an in-ring performer since debuting in 2002.

Bryan celebrated himself as the indie-at-heart classic grappler who didn't need gimmicks to build a following -- even though his legend grew thanks largely to cheesy outside-the-ring segments undergoing couples counseling with tag-team partner Kane. 

When the match was over, no one could argue with either's wrestling chops, but it was Bryan celebrating his newly won WWE Championship after using a running knee to get the pin on Cena.

The celebration wouldn't last long. While Bryan enjoyed his win, Randy Orton came to the ring holding his Money in the Bank briefcase, guaranteeing him a shot at the WWE title at any time.

While Orton and Bryan jawed, special guest referee Triple H -- who called the Bryan-Cena match right down the middle -- turned Bryan around and hit him with the pedigree.

Orton then cashed in his contract, easily pinned Bryan and walked away the new champion. And Triple H, having mostly left the ring to focus on his real-life job as WWE's chief operating officer, walked away once again firmly entrenched in the company's creative landscape.  

New York Sports