Heading into tonight's (Sun., Sept. 15, 2013) Night of Champions pay-per-view (PPV) event at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan, it seemed clear Daniel Bryan was destined to lose his WWE championship match against Randy Orton in the main event of the evening.
After all, that's the direction all signs had pointed in for weeks on end.
The crowd was insanely hot for Bryan, greeting him with boisterous "YES" chants upon his entrance theme and staying as loud as possible for all of his high spots. Hell, he was getting cheered for rest spots, not that there were many.
The way the match was playing out, it certainly appeared as though Bryan would emerge victorious. The first sign of trouble was a ref bump, but another referee quickly replaced him. Shortly after, Bryan had "The Viper" in the YES! Lock and teasing us all with the finish we so badly wanted.
It didn't come.
After another prolonged back-and-forth, a diving headbutt from Bryan resulted in a rest spot that saw the original referee come back from his exile to resume presiding over the activities.
Then, the smoz.
Bryan hit the flying knee and when he covered Orton, the original referee counted to three far faster than any unbiased referee in the history of pro wrestling. He certainly counted faster than Nick Patrick at Starrcade all those years ago.
Still, the celebration was on and everyone was acting as though the count wasn't fast. The show went off the air with Bryan still the champion, enjoying his victory with fans in the arena.
Me thinks this will all change at Monday Night Raw tomorrow.
For complete results and the live blog from Night of Champions click here.