Two years after Randy Orton’s last Hell in a Cell match, he returned in the top match on the show in a cell match against Daniel Bryan. Ever since Summerslam, Daniel Bryan had been in a tussle with Randy Orton over the WWE Championship leading up to this match as the culmination of the feud. To ensure a winner, the Authority enlisted the help of Shawn Michaels to keep things in line as the guest referee. How that premise played out is a different story but the match was intriguing because it could have finally be the time Daniel Bryan got the WWE Championship he rightly earned at Summerslam by defeating John Cena.
Randy Orton vs Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship – WWE Hell in a Cell 2013
Just before the match gets started, Triple H comes down to the ring with the vacant WWE Championship. Triple H shows both competitors the title and offers Daniel Bryan a handshake which Bryan refuses. The cell is then lowered before the match gets officially underway. Bryan and Orton exchange blows but Orton throws Bryan out of the ring. Bryan rushes back into the ring and then baseball slides Orton. Back in the ring, the two exchange blows and Bryan comes off the top rope with the flying dropkick.
Bryan then throws kicks to Orton in the corner and then does the signature corner back-flip. Running at Orton with a clothesline, Orton counters with a drop-kick for a two count. Orton takes in the boos from the crowd and suplexes Bryan on the top rope three times while stomping him on the ground. With Bryan on the apron, Orton runs at Bryan, knocking him into the cage.
Orton then irish whips Bryan into the steel steps. Orton picks up a set of steps and smashes them into Bryan’s shoulder. Orton then smashes Bryan’s face into the cage. Orton attempts another irish whip into the steps but Bryan reverse Orton into them. Bryan then hits Orton’s chest with a series of kicks and then continues nailing Orton into the steps. Back in the ring, Bryan hits Orton with a series of stiff kicks to the back and chest.
Bryan then places Orton in a tree of woe position and kicks him in the chest more and then nails a flying dropkick. With both on their feet now, Bryan bounces Orton off the ropes and then hits a dropkick to knock him off the ring apron. Bryan then hits a series of vicious looking topes to Orton, with the last one being countered by Orton sending Bryan into the cage face first. Orton crotches Bryan on the ring post, and then leads that into an Overdrive on the outside.
Orton rolls Bryan back into the ring for a two count. Orton places Bryan on the top turnbuckle, headbutting and punching him to keep him there. Orton then goes for a superplex that Bryan counters with a sunset flip powerbomb. Bryan and Orton then exchange delayed blows. Bryan then nails a flying clothesline on Orton. Orton gets up in the corner allowing Bryan to hit his flying dropkicks on Orton, followed up with another series of kicks. Bryan then sets Orton on the top rope and then nails a hurricanrana. Bryan then hits a flying headbutt for a two count.
Bryan hits Orton in the chest with another series of kicks for a two count. On the kick-out, Bryan locks Orton in the Yes Lock for just a few seconds as Orton slips out of the hold by going outside the ring. Bryan then throws Orton repeatedly into the cell. A lot more use of the cell, and the best Orton paced cell match since the Undertaker one.
Bryan gets a chair out from under the ring, which Bryan nails Orton right in the gut with it. Bryan then clobbers Orton in the back several times, and then tosses it into the ring. Bryan then grabs several chairs and throws them all in the ring as the crowd chants “Yes” everytime he throws one in. Michaels tries to tell him that’s enough, and Bryan tells him to get out of the way. Bryan nails Orton across the back one more time and pushes him into the ring. Orton then rakes Bryan’s eye to counter another chair shot. Orton hits a series of chair shots of his own on Bryan for another two count. Orton grabs a fresh chair as Michaels tells him to stop. Orton hits Bryan across the back for yet another two count.
Orton stacks all the chairs in the ring on top of one another creating a mountain. Orton places Bryan on the top turnbuckle and sets up for a superplex. Bryan tries to fight out but Orton crotches him and nails the superplex with Bryan landing on the pile of chairs. Michaels looks on in complete disgust at the situation. Orton gets a two count.
Triple H makes his way to the ring to a flurry a boos and an “asshole” chant. Triple H goes to the back of the cell and argues with Michaels, telling him to do his job. Orton throws Bryan with a t-bone suplex but Michaels is not there to count the fall. Orton goes outside and argues with Michaels, telling him to do his job. Back in the ring, Bryan attempts a Yes Lock again but it’s countered into the signature DDT from Orton. Triple H attempts to climb the cage and Orton signals for the RKO. Bryan counters and pushes Orton. Orton knocks into Michaels who goes down hard. Triple H asks if Shawn is okay, and demands the cell be unlocked so the doctor can check on Michaels.
In the meantime, Bryan nails the “Knee that Beat John Cena” on Orton. Bryan goes for pin and it’s not counted. Bryan gets up and checks on Michaels, to which Triple H comes in and throws Bryan off him. Bryan sets up and nails the Flying Knee on Triple H. Michaels sees this happen and hits the Sweet Chin Music on Bryan to which Orton crawls over and pins Bryan for the pinfall win at 22:07. After the match, Michaels is clearly unhappy about the situation, immediately walking away from the cell to the back. Bryan is helped out of the ring by doctors, and Orton helps up Triple H and celebrates with the WWE Championship as the show goes off the air.
Conclusion: While this seemed the end the feud with Bryan and a way to keep Orton strong, the opposite actually happened. Orton went on to feud with Big Show at Survivor Series, and then combined the two world titles in December. What seemed at the time as a way to end Bryan’s main event run (at least temporarily) was actually just another step in Bryan’s ascension all the way to the top at Wrestlemania 30. The cell match itself was up there with the first Undertaker one in terms of excitement, work and pacing but the shenanigans at the end with Michaels and Triple H cast a shadow over what is otherwise a pretty good match.