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Randy Orton's Mean Streak Spoiled Daniel Bryan's Career

The Viper's ruthlessness spells a big N-O for an historic run. Plus, Week 42 of the Wrestler Wrankings.

logo via Hollywood Wallace

Professional sports is a dog-eat-dog world. As the purest of all sports, pro-wrestling is no exception.

There is a big difference; however, between the WWE and lesser sporting endeavors, such as the National Football League, National Basketball Association, or Major League Baseball. You see, in those other sports, conflict between two opposing sides is abstracted by way of some arbitrary activity. When Stephan Curry hits a clutch three pointer or Felix Hernandez strikes out a batter, they are damaging their opponent only within the rules and confines of their game. No matter how tough or heated the action might get, it only means that the next home run will fly a bit further, the next touchdown scored quicker, the next dunk slammed more emphatically.

Professional Wrestling is the world's greatest sport because it does away with all the abstraction and circumstance. It is just two supreme athletes, fighting for dominance. Simply break the will of your opponent to win.

That's great, but it also means that two studs, bred for war, are directly battling, tooth and nail. And when tempers flare and judgement perhaps takes a backseat, someone can get really hurt.

This was the case in the summer of 2013, when Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton faced off in a match that felt bigger than your average RAW encounter, even at the time. Daniel Bryan was vying to establish himself as a top tier star in the business. To do so, he needed to defeat Randy Orton, a legend in his own time.

If you need a refresher on this one, here it is:

It's a great match, featuring the best of Bryan as a firey, technically sound, scrapper, juxtaposed against Orton's vile and methodical repertoire. Orton's cruelty and compulsion to defeat his opponent were taken too far, this night.

It is most memorable, of course, for Bryan's ill-fated suicide dive. As a maneuver, it would have thrilled the audience while simultaneously incapacitating Orton, so it made all the sense in the world to attempt. What no one could expect is that Orton would have the wherewithal, dexterity, and ruthlessness to avoid and counter the move by tossing Bryan. You can see Bryan's head get awkwardly pinched in the corner where barricade meets floor. It was a dangerous situation.

It is a testament to the toughness of the diminutive Daniel Bryan that he was able to persevere and go on to defeat John Cena at Summerslam, winning his first (extremely short-lived) WWE Championship and setting up his eventual triumph over The Authority in his historic Wrestlemania XXX performance.

Through sheer force of will, he made the WWE Universe forget about this debilitating incident and enjoy his run to the top of the mountain. But shortly after Wrestlemania, Bryan had to suspend his career and search for medical answers to The Viper's malevolent actions.

Of additional note is that Daniel Bryan fell just a single Wrankings points short of eventual season champion, Randy Orton, in the 2013-14 Wrestler Wrankings FINAL STANDINGS. That means a different result in this match would have swung the entire season in Bryan's direction. He would have simultaniously owned the Wrankings crown, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, as well as a healthy neck. It's very possible that nothing could have stopped Bryan from dominating the WWE for years to come.

Daniel Bryan is finally back, which is wonderful, but he'll never quite be the same. Is Bryan wrestling "on borrowed time?" Edge's stack of dimes says so! Will Bryan dare to exact his revenge against the man who jeopardized his livelihood? Jacques Rougeau says so! Can Bryan adjust his style to prolong his inevitable retirement and enjoy a sustained run at the top? Stone Cold says so!

We will find out the answers to those questions in the coming years. Yet there is one question that will never be answered: What might have been?









The WWE season begins on the day after WrestleMania 30 and culminates with WrestleMania 31. The wrestler who accumulates the most points over the course of the season, wins the coveted Wrankings Championship!


Monday Night Raw -- 1/12/15

  • Rusev - 2 points (win)
  • Seth Rollins - 2 points (win)
  • Roman Reigns - 2 points (win)
  • Miz - 2 points (win)
  • Main Event-- 1/13/15

  • Rusev - 2 points (win)
  • Smackdown -- 1/15/15

  • Bad News Barrett - 3 points (IC title bout, win)
  • Sin Cara - 1 point (IC title bout, no win)
  • Daniel Bryan - 2 point (win)
  • -----------------------------------


    1. RUSEV -- 105 points

    2. Dolph Ziggler -- 81

    3. Seth Rollins -- 74

    4. Sheamus -- 65

    5. John Cena -- 59.5

    6. Cesaro -- 58

    7. Roman Reigns -- 51

    8. Bo Dallas -- 50.5

    T9. Bad News Barrett -- 45

    T9. Dean Ambrose -- 45


    34. Daniel Bryan -- 11.5

    Thanks for reading, Cagesiders. We'll see you back here next week!

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