Daniel Bryan v The Miz (Night of Champions, 9/19/10)
This was total underdog babyface Bryan, and man did he rule. It's kind of strange seeing Bryan fighting from below against Miz, even in 2010, even before he blew up and became this goat-faced beard machine that got insanely over, even before he won the World Title in the main event of a fucking Wrestlemania. Like, I don't think Miz is terrible or anything (although I don't like him much, either), but Daniel Bryan/Brian Danielson as underdog against Mike Mizanin is hard to buy if you're a geek like me that's been watching Danielson stretch indy scrubs for 10+ years. It's almost unfathomable that Miz was ever a bigger deal than Bryan. Fuck, Bryan even has the hotter wife now (I'm a brunette guy). But, you know, that's not really how pro-wrestling works. Everything needs context, and within the context of 2010 WWE, Daniel Bryan working underdog against The Miz makes sense. And even if you still had a hard time buying it, Bryan sold the arm so well that it really felt like an uphill struggle for him (loved how he'd hang his arm limply by side during a strike exchange). A lot of that was down to Miz as well, though. He makes a few goofy intense facial expressions (I literally cannot buy him even having distaste for something, never mind hate), but all of his arm work looked painful and varied, and I thought he controlled the match in a believable way. There was one super nasty spot where he leans back and just rips Bryan's shoulder over the bottom rope. Thought the finishing run was great, especially Bryan recreating the crazy clothesline on the ropes bump from the McGuinness matches (side question: has Bryan ever used Cattle Mutilation in WWE?). Loved Cole's reaction to the finish as well. He was such an obnoxious douchebag at points during this, and the absolute last thing he wanted to do was give Bryan any credit for winning. Great match.