Here's my ideal (read: not necessarily realistic) booking of Triple H (hereafter referred to as HHH) vs. Daniel Bryan and the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania 30. Let me know what you think!
On the go home edition of Monday Night Raw, HHH makes clear that everyone but he and Bryan are banned from ringside. If anyone interferes in the match – The Shield, New Age Outlaws, Kane, etc. – they will be fired on the spot. Their match will be one on one, so HHH can take care of business for himself, because that’s the only way. He wants to bury Bryan once and for all, on the biggest stage in sports entertainment, by himself. He wants to shut up the fans. He wants to show that he deserves a spot in the title match, where he will win and reclaim control of HIS company.
Bryan vs. HHH opens the show and, like Bret vs. Owen Hart at WrestleMania 10, they go a clean 25 minutes of back and forth action. HHH dominates most of the match but Bryan won’t go down. Really play this like Bret vs. Owen, where nobody thought Owen would actually win. HHH gets noticeably frustrated throughout the match when he just can’t put Bryan away. Then, Bryan gets an opening, goes for the high knee, and misses. HHH picks him up, puts him down with the Pedigree…but Bryan kicks out at 2 ¾. HHH is shocked…he just stares at Bryan laying on the mat. He gets the look of determination back and bends down to pick up Bryan when…Yes Lock. HHH is trapped in the middle of the ring but won’t tap. Slowly HHH inches to the rope to force the break but DB clearly has momentum now. As HHH begins to gets up, Bryan hits his series of kicks and the crowd is at a boiling point. There is hope for Bryan after all. Bryan hits his signature moves and sets up for the knee. He hits it but HHH kicks out. Bryan goes for the Yes lock again but HHH powers out. They tussle and HHH regains the advantage. He hits his spinebuster and sets up again for the pedigree. He gets Bryan up but Bryan counters into the Yes Lock and after an eternity, HHH submits in the middle of the ring.
Bryan celebrates while HHH lies there. HHH gets to his feet and spins Bryan around like he’s going to level him. Instead, the men stare at each other until HHH extends his hand. He and Bryan shake hands out of respect. Here, HHH really sells that he now believes Bryan can be the face of the company. HHH leaves to let Bryan have his celebration. 70,000 strong chant "YES."
After the next match, Renee Young talks with HHH backstage and HHH professes how he may not like it, but Bryan is a hell of a competitor and has earned his respect tonight. HHH says that he needs to step away for a while to evaluate his career and his perspective on the business after his loss. Throughout the night, the announcers really play up the fact that HHH is gone. Not even Stephanie knows where he went. We don’t see HHH again throughout the remainder of the card (until the main event).
Fast forward to the final match – the WWE Championship match. Orton and Batista troll the crowd and Bryan is noticeably gassed. The match is Orton and Batista beating on Bryan to incapacitate him, then Orton and Batista lose patience with one another and begin to brawl. Batista gains the advantage and runs roughshod through Orton and Bryan.
Bryan recovers and hits the knee on Batista but Orton breaks up the pin. Orton and Bryan battle until Batista recovers and the match resets. Then, after a sequence of events, the ref takes a nasty bump from Batista as Orton takes advantage and hits the RKO. No ref, no count. Bryan recovers and gets the Yes Lock on Orton but the ref’s still down. Batista grabs a chair and nails Bryan. He nails Orton. Back and forth, Batista hits them both. He trolls the crowd.
HHH limps down and confronts Batista. HHH says his WrestleMania is not going to end like this. They tussle over the chair and HHH gets it. But then he nails Orton with it. SWERVE! HHH and Batista incapacitate Orton and roll him out of the ring. Then they set up Bryan for an Authority beat down when CM PUNK’S MUSIC HITS. HHH and Batista look genuinely shocked. Punk marches to the ring, while Bryan kicks a distracted Batista and knocks him down. Punk does his best Hogan point and headshake like, "No way is damn HHH screwing another great wrestler."
Punk runs into the ring to confront HHH and help Bryan when -- SWERVE -- Punk kicks Bryan and picks him up for the GTS. It hits. Then Batista picks up Bryan and nails the Batista Bomb. Punk grabs the ref, who counts the three. WrestleMania goes off the air with new champ Batista, HHH, and Punk celebrating in the ring, and Bryan lying on the canvas. This recalls the end of WrestleMania 17 and sets up a summer where Bryan can chase the title with a cautious ally in Orton (and maybe a returning Vince McMahon), against Punk, Batista, and HHH. It can climax with Bryan winning the title at SummerSlam and holding it until WrestleMania 31, where he defends it against heel Punk in the main event, and HHH and Vince square off for control of the company, opening the door for a spot for Stone Cold Steve Austin to help out Vince in some fashion.