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[2014-04-06-WWE-Wrestlemania XXX] HHH vs Daniel Bryan

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Watching this again, this really was a sterling performance from Triple H. I can't say I've watched a hell of a lot of Triple H matches since I stopped watching the product religiously in 2001, but the attention to detail here lived up to the nickname of the "Cerebral Assassin" and I can only imagine that if he'd worked more like this through his career that he'd have a better rep as a worker. One thing that I've noticed about modern WWE is that attention to detail. Sometimes it comes across as forced, but for the most part there's a lot of thought put into match layout and logical and interesting spots. Another thing I liked about this was that it was put over as a hugely important match without being a show stealing main event. The scale of the match was perfect.

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Yeah, I said right after it happened that this was Triple H's match. There's such a huge backing of Bryan that a lot of those fans dismiss right away what the "other guy" does in his matches, but Trips was incredible in this match. Obviously, the holy shit spot is the Tiger Suplex (which Bryan takes right on the shoulder because why the hell not?) but there are some awesome cutoff spots and for a 25 minute match, this sure as hell didn't feel like it was that long. I had watched the Bret/Owen match as part of the WrestleMania Rewind series they have on the Network, and while I Iiked the match, I don't think it's better than this. It's definitely a career match for Triple H, as I'm hard pressed to find a straight, non-gimmick match of his better than this off the top of my head. Bryan was fantastic as he normally is, but it's weird to think that in 2014, with Bryan being on the run he's been on, that he's the second best guy in a match with Triple H.

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And to echo the Triple H sentiment, this is a guy who hadn't wrestled since last May.

 

I think it's important that the work within is highlighted here (as others have already done above me) because it is so easy to just gloss over the body of the match because the end result was what everyone wanted but feared wouldn't happen : "Triple H did the right thing". He was pinned clean as a sheet. He didn't kick out of a finisher first or anything like that either - which helped the main event when Orton did kick out (techincally of Batista's covering after Bryan's finisher).

 

Should these two wrestle again, I'm hard-pressed to see how they could top this.

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Good point. They went really conservative with finisher-killing all night, Brock/Taker aside. It was like they saw how overboard Rock/Cena II went and resigned it in this year.

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Haven't re-watched it yet. First time around was after a lot of drinks and 3.30am or whatever in the morning cheering on Bryan - an immensely enjoyable time. What struck me this week is that Meltzer had it at ****1/2 and Wade Keller a star less at ***1/2.

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Watching this again, this really was a sterling performance from Triple H. I can't say I've watched a hell of a lot of Triple H matches since I stopped watching the product religiously in 2001, but the attention to detail here lived up to the nickname of the "Cerebral Assassin" and I can only imagine that if he'd worked more like this through his career that he'd have a better rep as a worker. One thing that I've noticed about modern WWE is that attention to detail. Sometimes it comes across as forced, but for the most part there's a lot of thought put into match layout and logical and interesting spots. Another thing I liked about this was that it was put over as a hugely important match without being a show stealing main event. The scale of the match was perfect.

 

Agree completely. Based on his gimmick It felt like this was the way he was supposed to be wrestling for the last 15 years.

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Watching this for the 3rd time. I didn't realize Hunter hurt his leg so early in the match. I knew he had suffer some kind of injury when he had that huge tape over his left thigh the next night but had no clue it happened 5 minutes into the match.

 

When Bryan does the crazy dive from the top rope you can see HHH's thigh having a huge bruise and getting purple.

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I was really impressed with the match layout and execution here. Bryan avoiding the majority of Triple H's attempts at arm work early until HHH had gone to the leg and tried an early pedigree to take his mind off it was great. The one finisher kickout was so well-placed and did so much for the match that they didn't need more. That's something that I think the WWE main event style needs to have more of is smart usage of finisher kickouts. I do wish the announcers had highlighted the fact that HHH was using the YES LOCK on DANIEL BRYAN rather than say things like, "He's using a crossface!" or "Imagine if Triple H could ake the submission specialist tap out at WrestleMania." Both of these are perfectly acceptable reactions to a submission that might end the match. But this was the submission Bryan had been beating people with for the last few years. Didn't detract from the match too much, so it's not a big deal. I would agree this is a standout Triple H performance. The sore loser reaction fit well with the way he had portrayed corporate HHH for months as well.

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Daniel Bryan vs Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon - Wrestlemania XXX



In light of recent events, this match should only be more cherished as the night everything was right with the world of pro wrestling. The most emotionally impactful of the match of the year contenders of 2014. The Shield versus Wyatts made the best use of past history, AJ Styles vs Minoru Suzuki told the most interesting intra-match story and Tanahashi/Nakamura rocked the limb psychology like no one else this year. Wrestling should not hit in you the head, it should hit you in the gut. When I watch this match, I was moved moreso now than probably when it happened. Daniel Bryan represents so much more to me than just a great wrestler. He proves if you love it, want it and work hard enough for it that anything is possibly. We all know the obstacles in front of him and he just kept his head down plowed through them and became the World Champion on the Grandest Stage of Them All. Before the fairy tale ending, Bryan had to face the man who was the exact antithesis of Bryan. He was not the populist choice. He was a member of the Kliq, given a forced push to the top, and married the boss' daughter. Triple H is a lightning rod of controversy. Some contend he is a great ring general and master of ring psychology while loathing his backstage politics and knack for burying opponents. Others call his entire reputation a sham manufactured by the WWE to work the fans into believing he was one of the greatest of all-time when he was just a mediocre wrestler that happened to be connected to the correct people. This made him the absolute perfect opponent for Daniel Bryan because no matter your feelings on Triple H, he represented everything corporate and artificial about pro wrestling while Daniel Bryan embodied the passion and humanity of pro wrestling.



Triple H offers his hand to begin the match and Bryan kicks it away only to roll him up quickly. Bryan came to play, brutha. Bryan is on him with kicks and HHH bails. Stephanie, who is a total smokeshow tonight with those short shorts, gives The Game exhorts while Bryan now offers his hand. What I love about the early part of the match is that even though Bryan shoulder is taped and HHH targets it, it is not as soon as HHH attacks it that Bryan just writhes in pain. There are levels of pain. Bryan is able to fight through the first couple attacks because of his determination and he can't afford it to be worked on. Yes, it causes a wince, but it is a just brief inconvenience. It is a babyface shine that is truly earned that culminates with Bryan hitting a tornado DDT from the apron and the somersault off the top rope onto The Game. Triple H seems shaken from this onslaught and has underestimated Daniel Bryan. He is able to cause Bryan to lose his balance on the top rope. HHH is not going to fuck around and looks to end this early with a Pedigree on the announce table, but the feisty Bryan fights out so Triple H quickly switches gears and wrenches the bad shoulder right into the edge of the announce table. OUCH!



Only now does the heat on Bryan begin with Triple H destroying Bryan's arm and delivering the best limb work of his career. Stephanie laying the badmouth on Bryan, "Mess with the bull, you are going to get the horns" among others was just awesome. She would be such an excellent manager if she ever committed to it full time. Bryan's first hope spot is his signature suicide dive, but Triple H blasts him with a right hand. HHH hits a nasty back suplex with the arm behind the back on the apron. Triple H busting out the Crossface Chickenwing into the Crippler Crossface was wicked cool. Daniel Bryan will not be denied. He makes it to the ropes and begins his signature high-octane comeback. Triple H looks to cut him off with a suplex, but Bryan gets two Germans of his own. Triple H looks to stop the bleeding with a Chickenwing Crossface, but has to settle for the Tiger Suplex. Sick! Triple H showing he is not always a Cerebral Assassin mounts D-Bry on the top rope, which gives him the high ground and the chance to hit a sunset flip powerbomb. Daniel Bryan with a repeated running dropkicks, but on the third Triple H bursts out of the corner with a wicked lariat. I love the struggle of this match. You really feel like two men are fighting strongly for their respective ideologies and pride. Neither one wants to give an inch to the other. Triple H is getting anxious and abandons the arm work for the one surefire way to end this: The Pedigree. Bryan counters into a pinning attempt. Bryan's diving headbutt eats a boot and HHH right back on the arm with a Crippler Crossface, but Bryan reverses into the YESLock. Triple H after all the smack he talks feels desperate to end this. Bryan is a fucking maniac and hits not one full speed suicide dive, but two full-speed suicide dives! Bryan is feeling it, kip up, YES CHANTS! He is looking for that Knee that took down Cena. SPINEBUSTER~! PEDIGREE~! IT IS OVER 1-2-NO! NO! NO! YES! YES! YES! Honest to God, had totally forgotten Triple H hit the Pedigree in this match and Bryan kicked out. I actually saw him hit the Pedigree, my stomach dropped, then I remembered Bryan won and was ecstatic he kicked out. Now if that is not the hallmark of a great fucking match, I don't know what is! Triple H is flabberghasted and tries to beat the shit out of him while Stephanie screams in the background. This is Daniel Bryan's night and Triple H is coming to the realization he cannot overcome the power of Daniel Bryan and the People! Triple H desperately tries to pull the trigger on a second Pedigree, but Bryan wriggles out until finally EXPLODING KNEE~! 1-2-3! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES!



Awesome match that feels like a real war and really mirrors Bryan's rise to the top. Bryan had to earn every single move in this match. His babyface shine was earned working through Triple H's early arm work. Then he fought tooth and nail not submit to HHH's killer arm work. From there, just when you think Bryan has the match won, it turns on a dime and Triple H hits his knockout shot and Bryan kicks out. They don't waste time with 8 million false finishes. Triple H gets his and keeps going for another Pedigree and then Exploding Knee knocks him out. Stephanie has to carry her husband out while they watch Daniel Bryan go to the main event of Wrestlemania. It is such a feel-good story combined with amazing fundamentals. I don't see a flaw. *****


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The PPV matches kick off with the primary match of the evening, obviously to make sure the winner would have time to rest for his earned spot in the main event. Stephanie McMahon introduces her husband, who has an awesomely OTT entrance, sitting on a throne and dressing like Shao Khan, just completely saying through this sequence that he thumbed his nose at his scheduled opponent for the evening. In contrast, D-Bry came out with the long hippy hair, bushy beard, and just regular gear, truly setting the story for anyone not familiar with the events that led to this dream match.

D-Bry's left shoulder is heavily taped due to the damage inflicted upon it the past couple months. Before the opening bell, the Authority have an intimate kiss, completely rubbing it in that they're happy and successful, then HHH looks at the former WWE Champion ever so smugly. The Game offers a handshake, which D-Bry obviously rejects by kicking the hand and trying to get this matchup over early with a schoolboy pin. D-Bry goes on a fury, but HHH takes a quick powder to ensure no momentum is built.

HHH looks to cut off D-Bry's superior technical wrestling and striking, but D-Bry cuts him off to regain momentum, making HHH's cut off merely a hope spot and then gets a headlock takedown. He easily gets out of HHH's head-scissors as fans of the indy scene during the 2000s had the pleasure of seeing him do on a nightly basis. HHH during a headlock gets D-Bry in a corner and goes after the left arm, but D-Bry doesn't allow that to go on long at all, unleashing more furious kicks to the crowd's delight. But HHH catches the left leg and drops it STO style, showing off why he has such a cerebral reputation.

However, even that doesn't really go anywhere for the time being, as D-Bry prevents HHH from dragging him into a corner for more limb work. He charges at the first-ballot HOFer multiple times, including doing a front flip off the top rope which looked to be a bad landing for someone with a well-documented injury history. As D-Bry continues owning HHH, Steph attempts to verbally troll him, knowing damn well her husband is getting his ass kicked so far.

HHH crotches D-Bry as he goes for another top-rope move, finally gaining some significant heat over the former multi-promotional champion. He follows that up with a charge to knock D-Bry down to the floor in front of the commentary tables. He attempts a Pedigree on one of those tables, but D-Bry blocks it and fights back, only for HHH to grab the severely pained left arm and slam it onto the table!

At this point the commentary team, which has often been justifiably criticized, did a phenomenal job in selling HHH's craftiness. JBL in particular really put over the brilliant bluffing HHH pulled on D-Bry, going after the left leg early to make it seem like he wouldn't target the left arm. This was critical in showing that while the stakes were incredibly high and the emotions going into this even higher, this was also a matchup of two of the most gifted in-ring psychologists in the history of the business.

HHH of course became merciless on D-Bry's left arm, slamming it down with various moves and locking submissions aplenty, including a modified London Dungeon. But even THAT is short, as it looks like D-Bry is about to regain momentum when he throws off HHH to the outside and goes for a tope suicida, only to get cut off by the Game before flying through the ropes. HHH gives him a Hammerlock Backdrop Suplex on the apron, and D-Bry's audible screams of pain are sensational just like his classic against Randy Orton in Dallas a few months earlier. Stephanie chimes in with "you mess with the bull, you get the horns," then kisses her gloating husband. Awesome.

D-Bry of course follows up his sensational screams of pain with sensational selling outside the ring, struggling to get up and break the ten count. In yet another highlight of the match, one that shows what an excellent student of the game HHH is, D-Bry finds himself in one of his own established finishers, that being the Crossface Chickenwing. Fantastic poetry while also causing further pain to the damaged left arm and shoulder.

As D-Bry is losing consciousness, the crowd rallies behind him, hoping to not see him pass out. HHH then further shows off his experience and studying habits, locking on the Crippler Crossface, reminding all technical wrestling fans of an even sexier dream match we sadly never got to witness. D-Bry reaches the ropes, only for seconds later to get that left arm slammed down with an arm twist on the mat. The Game goes to work with punches in the corner, and D-Bry attempts to fight back to no avail as the audience is trying to give him adrenaline. They exchange more punches, with a crowd reaction reminding me of Rock vs. Hogan and Austin Aries vs. CM Punk, and this time D-Bry is able to regain the heat with a running forearm straight to the face.

That though is also short-lived, with us bearing witness to yet another display of brilliance from HHH. When D-Bry goes for his turnbuckle backflip spot, HHH stays in the center of the ring, not allowing D-Bry to get behind him. I can't recall any of D-Bry's most reputable opponents on the indies ever scouting this out, nor any of his prior opponents in WWE either. That moment of brilliance doesn't get much though, as D-Bry blocks a German Suplex and unleashes a couple of his own. HHH blocks a third and goes for the Crossface Chickenwing, but D-Bry intelligently sees it coming this time and blocks it, only to get dumped on his head and shoulders via a release Butterfly Suplex. Hey, if you're gonna do head drops and other risky shit, THIS is the show to do it on.

D-Bry blocks a Superplex attempt to the crowd's delight, landing a Sunset Flip Powerbomb for a great crowd pop and slowing down the Game's momentum. HHH goes to recover in a corner, so D-Bry goes for this routine three running heel kicks, but the third, much like Cena, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, and Nigel McGuinness had done in the past, countered that with a beautiful lariat. When they both get up, HHH goes for another Pedigree, but D-Bry blocks that and goes for a jackknife pin for two, then follows that up with a kick to the head.

At this point the crowd is starting to get incredibly excited, sensing that their chosen face of the company was gonna finally humble the Authority. But a diving headbutt is blocked with a knee to the face, and HHH then locks on the Crippler Crossface again. It should be obvious at this point that this match was a partial tribute to a man that had a significant impact on both men's careers, one by working with him, the other being inspired and heavily influenced by him.

This second Crippler Crossface was a sight to behold, as HHH made sure to block D-Bry's eyesight during a portion of the submission. D-Bry rolls back but HHH keeps it locked on, remembering the same thing had happened to him a decade earlier and learning from it should he ever be in the opposite position. D-Bry rolls back again though and goes for a pin attempt false finish, then gets the Lebell Lock on, a moment we had been waiting to see for many, many months! As a receipt, D-Bry makes sure to block HHH's vision, and Stephanie has to audibly coach HHH to make him aware of how close he is to the ropes.

With HHH on the outside getting nursed by Steph, D-Bry hits two tope suicidas, then follows that up with a missile shotgun dropkick in the ring. He kips up to another great crowd pop, and then sucks up whatever pain he's feeling to land furious kicks to the chest and a final kick to the head as the crowd pops yet again. More than 20 minutes into this classic, both men are exhausted and the crowd expresses their happiness watching this unfold.

D-Bry goes for the Busaiku knee, but this is the Cerebral Assassin he's facing. In a match in which HHH likely brought forth the most brilliant game plan of his career, there was no greater display of his scouting techniques than taking D-Bry's momentum and turning it into a spinebuster that certainly had Arn Anderson popping backstage. HHH goes for the Pedigree and the thrid attempt's the charm, but that's nothing more than a phenomenal false finish as the crowd is going apeshit. D-Bry pulls out the small package, but that's another false finish unlike his ROH days.

HHH shows his frustration, almost getting DQ'ed for not breaking his punches in the corner. He then goes for another Pedigree, but D-Bry flips him overhead and keeps the butterfly position for another great false finish pin. HHH rolls D-Bry over with the arms still butterflied, but D-Bry dead-weights him, so HHH knees D-Bry in the face a few times for good measure and to display his frustration. Another Pedigree attempt though is countered as D-Bry gets out of it and lands a roundhouse kick, but a second roundhouse kick is ducked. HHH looks to go for an Atomic Drop or backdrop suplex, but D-Bry flips back to land on his feet, then finishes off the Game finally with a Busaiku knee!!!

Steph's facial expression is priceless, the facade she and her husband running for months becoming exposed on the grandest stage. The crowd is of course ecstatic and D-Bry is exhausted as he celebrates. Steph walks over to slap him, leaving him to be attacked from behind by HHH. The Game slams the damaged left shoulder on the ring post, then smacks it with a steel chair, completely embarrassed as the Authority try to mask it with smugness and their underhanded corruption. D-Bry goes into the main event with the odds only stacked against him even more.

For many years, the thought of Triple H vs. Bryan Danielson had always intrigued me, dating back to the latter's days on the indy scene as he showed why he was clearly the best in-ring wrestler this side of the Pacific. I had always imagined they would have at least very good chemistry, as both are master storytellers and HHH has proven to be more than capable of working a great technical wrestling match when the time calls for it. And when the fantastic SummerSlam 2013 ended, I was excited to know this match would be taking place on this night.

That this match almost didn't happen despite the lack of an emotionally satisfying conclusion as 2013 ended, only for a series of game-changing events to take place in order for it to do so, makes me feel like it was truly fate that this dream match was destined to take place at such an important landmark event.

But did this match live up to the expectations I had? To be brutally honest - it shattered them. Due to the storyline, I went into the Superdome expecting this to be more of a sports-entertainment style that favored HHH's routine. That element was obviously utilized to its fullest potential, but these men also managed to add in the sizzling technical wrestling that I always saw them pulling off together should they ever face off. In addition, the commentary for this match deserves an ovation of its own, as JBL, Michael Cole, & Jerry Lawler did a great job in putting over the emotions, work, and story being told in the ring. Stephanie was a delightful wrinkle as well, adding further heat with her presence, trolling, and mannerisms as she rooted for the love of her life.

This was a jaw-dropping roller-coaster that more than lived up to its storyline as well as its position as the most pushed match going into this show. This was a back-and-forth nailbiter with amazing counters, outstanding submission wrestling, and incredible storytelling. I also loved this significantly more than The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber 2014. The only nitpick complaint that keeps this from being a flawless masterpiece is that they had to hold back just a teeny bit for obvious reasons.

But make no mistake: I look forward to the eventual rematch at some point, as I know they have a perfect match in them; and this is a work of art, easily in the top three matches I've ever seen live, right behind the pieces of perfection pitting D-Bry against Roderick Strong at Vendetta and HHH against Undertaker inside the Cell at Sunlife Stadium. ****3/4

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Was rewatching this recently and didn't enjoy it as much as my initial in-the-moment viewing. I might need to go back to it again given all the love it's been shown here although I do find that my initial sentiments matched most of what is here. Another viewing might clear some things up for me.

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This might have been the greatest match of Triple H's career. And it's a shame that he's never worked this way before because I feel like this match is proof that he had the potential to be a consistently great wrestler. I mean he for sure had the benefit of working with Bryan here, but by letting his opponent shine with large amounts of offense and only gaining an advantage by focusing on the injured arm, it shows that Trips had the tools to be a much better wrestler than his ego allowed him. Great story of the underdog Bryan proving that he's actually not much of an underdog and his much larger, stronger opponent needing to focus on an injured limb to assert his dominance. Classic heel and babyface work that surprise surprise, translated into a really great match.

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Easy contender for second best opener in WrestleMania history. Tons of story behind this, some say going all the way back to WrestleMania 28, all leading up to this moments. Tons of emotion and uncertainty going into this match mixed with the fans being disgruntled at the time. It all mixed together and created an intense atmosphere for this match. Loved the start with HHH offering a handshake to Bryan, only for Bryan to kick it away and one up him, sending him to the outside and then offering a hand shake back. Set the tone for the rest of this match. Some good back and forth before HHH spammed Bryan's already injured arm onto the announcers table. Triple H’s attack on the arm of Bryan was nasty and vicious. He adopted all his offence into working on the arm. Locking on the crossface and even hitting the tiger driver of all things. Appreciated that. Bryan sold it all excellently too imo - no noticeable no sells from him at all. His comebacks were awesome too. Very subdued as far as playing to the crowd. It was all focused and direct. Two great performances to kick off WM 30. ****1/2

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Always been one of my favorite matches, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Everything from the legendary pre-match Monster video, to the entrances that show the differences in the two characters perfectly, to the actual match. The atmosphere is magical with the crowd reacting huge to everything Bryan did, thus making all of his comebacks even more amazing than they already are. Bryan's babyface performance is incredible - he took some absolutely BRUTAL bumps, and I loved him busting out some of his old ROH stuff, like that big dive he did to Triple H outside the ring. Might just be the best performance of HHH's career too - his armwork was focused & vicious as hell; the announce table spot was brutal, and the crossfaces + that Tiger Suplex were so awesome. Not only that, but his character work throughout was great too w/ his facial expressions. Gotta mention Steph as well - she was really great talking shit to Bryan the whole way through. Added quite a bit to the bout. It's all about as compelling as wrestling gets for me. Simply put, when I think about my favorite WWE matches of all-time, nothing comes to my mind faster than Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H, WrestleMania 30. *****

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On the surface, this match looks like a truly great Triple H performance that benefits from having the greatest of all time as a dance partner. His offense is more focused and crisp than its been in years. He attacks Bryan’s arm with the vicious calculation that you want of a bully that names himself “The Cerebral Assassin.” He switches up his arsenal of moves to really take it to our intrepid hero, adding such nice touches as a hammerlock slam on the apron and even a Tiger Suplex. If you’re not paying attention, this feels like a final hurrah from an Attitude Era legend before slinking away into the WWE corporate office.

Don’t let Triple H’s antics fool you.

Daniel Bryan’s fingerprints all over this match. It is nearly impossible for me to believe that Triple H could have wrestled this match with anyone else. Apron bumps and Tiger Suplexes are the kind of Japanese influenced moments that tie much closer to someone like Bryan than they do Triple H. Don’t know if it’s just me but I can’t really picture bulky Triple H ordering All Japan tapes or even knowing how what a Misawa is.

There’s other things in there too. Triple H slaps on a Chickenwing Crossface in here which does feel somewhat on brand with the 80s obsession that Triple H has but am I not supposed to think of the fact that Bryan used that move to win the ROH World Championship? At one point, Bryan leaps off the top rope for his diving headbutt only for Triple H to get a knee up. This spot is definitively a Bryan spot–he’s been incorporating it into matches since the 2000s.

There’s the fact that it ends after Bryan hits his highly protected Running Knee–many of Bryan’s big WWE matches protect the finish of the winner with the loser falling as soon as its hit. The format and the offense all scream Daniel Bryan. We’ll never truly know who thought of what but this reeks of yet another Daniel Bryan miracle work carryjob. I can’t prove it but I think it makes sense especially when you look at what other Triple H epics look like down the line.

All in all, this match does a lot to exemplify all of Triple H’s strengths as a pro wrestler–placing himself in the right place at the right time. He is a worker in the same way that Chris Jericho is: far more focused on fabricating an image of himself than to actually contributing to anything in the ring. Limited as he personally is, he’s always had a good eye for recognizing talent. It’s that ability to spot talent that’s helped him siphon the independent scene over the last few year. It’s that ability that’s allowed him to hitch himself to the hottest acts in the promotion in an attempt to leech off their heat to fuel himself. Triple H is a succubus of talent–feeding upon it to keep up the illusion of his own worth.

****1/2

FULL REVIEW: https://josephmontecillo.wordpress.com/2020/04/25/daniel-bryan-vs-triple-h-wwe-wrestlemania-xxx-4-6-2014/

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I've seen this described elsewhere as a 90's AJPW heavyweight taking on a NOAH junior and I think that is a great analogy. This is Triple H's best performance. His 1970's NWA Champion cosplay wrestling style worked wonders for this match, keeping the popular Bryan down with crossfaces and chickenwings, all while working on Bryan's injured shoulder too as an added bonus. Bryan bumps like a madman here, that Tiger Suplex spot had me wincing. Bryan kicking out of the Pedigree felt like a huge deal. We are used to seeing the big stars like Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and John Cena kick out of that move, but seeing a guy like Bryan getting a second wind felt shocking. I love, love the finish. Bryan using the momentum from countering H's backdrop to perfectly set himself up to nail his big knee to get the win. 

★★★★½

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