After seeing the way Triple H screwed Daniel Bryan and handed Orton the belt literally and figuratively at Summerslam, most thought that we’d see a reincarnation of the Corporation angle or the McMahon-Helmsley saga, but this Orton-Bryan saga has been very distinct. Last night’s finish, although underwhelming, was yet another step in that direction of creating something wholly unique with this feud. Fans may have hated last night’s finish, but upon further review, you can make sense of it.

Bret_HartWith this feud, the WWE has been consistent at giving fans something familiar to draw them in and then suddenly tweaking a finish to keep fans off balance. The feud started with signs of modernizing the McMahon/Helmsley saga or the Corporation angle: the screw finish, the appointed champion, the incredibly over face, the heel intent on grabbing the preeminent title in the company, the power-abusing authority, and the dominant forces that carry out the authority’s will. Hell, we probably expected Triple H to use some of the same verbiage in celebrating Orton as Vince did when he celebrated the Rock as Corporate Champion. (Admittedly, the phrase “Best for Business” calls to mind another famous screwjob that involved Triple H. I give that screwjob a 4/10.) But creative has thrown twists and turns into this narrative. Instead of Orton winning the title and having Bryan start on a slow build to an eventual victory, they allowed Bryan to win the Title back only a month later, and Bryan hasn’t lost to Orton since Summerslam.

New WWE TitleBeyond that, currently there is no WWE Champion and there hasn’t been for 3 weeks. Gone are the plans of having the heel champion screw the challenger, along with the designs of having a slow build to a grand moment for Bryan. What we have in its place is intriguing. Triple H has often discussed how he feels wrestling is supposed to keep fans off-balance, interested, and anxious for the next move or story, (Scroll to his answers about the Reddit guy) so it’s easy to see why the Bryan-Orton angle has become a bit confusing, but has been so different. With the Reddit guy–Dolphins 1925–giving away PPV finishes and the WWE recognizing the influence of the IWC, they are doing all that they can to keep fans off the scent. And it’s useful. Although not well-received initially, last night’s finish puts a lot of things in play: another reason for the next Bryan-Orton match, it keeps people interested in the WWE Title picture, it makes you wonder what’s next for the Big Show, etc.

The WWE is treading on new ground (at least for this generation of fans) with this plan for Orton/Bryan, and it remains to be seen if this will be successful in the long run. Most fans thought we’d be in month 2 of Orton’s extended title reign by now, speculating about how Bryan was going to find his way back to the Title. No one could have dreamed that the WWE Title would be vacant and that Orton would not have beaten Bryan once since Summerslam. Orton’s record against Bryan in WWE Titles matches now stands as 1 W, 1 L , and 1 NC–perfect parity. We all knew Dusty would have an impact on the great tag team match between his sons and the Shield, but no one knew his presence would be so pervasive at Battleground: that’s two straight Dusty finishes to two consecutive WWE Title PPV matches. It’s interesting to note that going into Hell in the Cell, the WWE Title will be vacant longer than any man has held it since Cena dropped it at Summerslam.

Like it or not, the finish to the WWE Title match was made for one reason, to keep fans off balance, and it’s clear that for those purpose’s last night match-ending was effective. That finish was symbolic of what the WWE has been trying to do with the Orton-Bryan feud: create something that seems familiar but is completely distinct.

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