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[2014-01-26-WWE-Royal Rumble] Daniel Bryan vs Bray Wyatt

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Incredible performance by Wyatt here, who actually outshines Bryan in my opinion. Bryan did a great job working from below early, but the genius stuff came when Wyatt went to work and Bryan made every single one of his moves mean something. Awesome ending, one of the more unique finishes you'll ever see, and although people bitched about the fact that Wyatt went over, the way in which he went over made up for it, because they both came out better because of it. I'm not sure if Wyatt can have that type of match with anyone else on the roster right now, but give him some time to work off what he did here and I can't wait to see what he'll do with someone like Rollins or Zayn or Neville down the road.

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One of the more violent matches I can remember in the WWE, especially for a match without any weapon shots. Really a coming out for Wyatt who is a fun character, but hasn't had an in ring performance like this. Loved the stiffness in this match, the curb stomp by Bryan, the crazy DDT, the big kicks, he felt like he was trying to kill Wyatt even more the he did during the cage match. Meanwhile Wyatt was a brutal force, lots of credit to Bryan who was bumping huge on the clotheslines and elbows, but also Wyatt's ringpost smashes and headbuts felt like the kind of thing that would cause concussions. Plus that ending was truly nuts, felt like the right escalation of a move for this kind of match (alot of time the WWE super move thing comes off forced), and the smoothness of the catch into the barricade Sister Abgail was great, it looked like an organic counter a crazy man would come up with.

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Definitely a candidate for best non-MITB opener in PPV history. D-Bry started the match dominating with his aggression and superior technical wrestling, including working on the left knee of Wyatt. After several minutes, Wyatt gained the advantage when he twisted D-Bry's left arm and slammed it on the apron. Wyatt then showed his aggressive side that we had only seen bits and pieces of, physically decimating D-Bry. However, because this is a match that features a total pro like Bryan Danielson, D-Bry would make sure to keep the crowd engaged and give them hope with his occasional strikes.

Wyatt was quite unorthodox, but D-Bry was so pissed off on this night that he would regain the advantage. My favorite spot of the night is when he dropped Wyatt with a curb stomp to epitomize how livid he was after being harassed for three months by the Wyatt Family, and showing that he had not forgotten his roots on the independent scene. But with the plans for both characters going forward, Wyatt had to go over here. He didn't sell the leg down the stretch as much as I hoped, but it can be argued that enough time had gone by in this instant classic for him to heal during the match. Or maybe, just maybe, these two held back a little bit for a much bigger rematch down the line for the company's top prize should they both go on to achieve their goals at WrestleMania XXX. ****

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The match started off hot and heavy w/ the crowd all for Bryan and all against Wyatt. Getting rid of the Wyatt Family almost immediately was a good direction to go. Wyatt saying that he wants to do it alone was something different to his game. Wyatt took a nasty Foley bump into the stairs (leg/knee first) which was a good transition to Bryan going all in on the leg. Bryan tying up Bryan in an inverted surfboard into a curbstomp was a great nod to his days a vicious bully who would tie you up in knots - added a nice feeling of intensity and hatred. Wyatt’s beat down of Bryan was well done. It wasn’t mind-blowing but it served its purpose of getting heat on himself and building to the Bryan comeback. Although I would argue that they took a bit too long to get to the comeback and the match felt a little stagnant as a result. In fact, Wyatt’s best offence came in the form of the cut offs to Bryan’s hope spots, like Wyatt nailing a Sister Abigail after blocking a Bryan tope in a spot that went much smoother than it should’ve. The finish soon after felt a little flat though and the air got sucked out of the arena which was a bad note on what was a very  good match. I do wish that the leg work earlier on was followed up on but I can buy that Wyatt’s beatdown was big enough to send that plan waywards. ***3/4

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