Roman Reigns & Daniel Bryan def. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper (Tornado Tag Team Match)

SACRAMENTO — Going into WWE Hell in a Cell, the question was whether Roman Reign & Daniel Bryan could put aside their differences to defeat Erick Rowan & Luke Harper. The answer, surprisingly, is yes.

Though Reigns & Bryan have more experience as rivals than teammates, the two former WWE Champions worked surprisingly well in a match that saw them at a tremendous disadvantage in terms of chemistry and savagery. Rowan & Harper have been teammates more or less since they debuted in 2013, and they’ve made it abundantly clear that there aren’t many places they’re unwilling to go to force respect out of their opponents — to say nothing of the WWE Universe.

For a while, it looked as though they would get what they want. Under Tornado Tag rules that allowed all four men to stay in the ring at the same time, Rowan & Harper committed to a divide-and-conquer strategy where they’d take out one opponent, then subject whomever was left to the most hellacious maneuvers they could muster.

Reigns & Bryan, who were learning teamwork in real time, had to make due with getting their licks in where they could. Reigns downed Rowan with a monstrous Spear through a table, and Bryan locked his former friend and partner in a LeBell Lock, but neither maneuver was enough to secure the win. However, The Big Dog and The Beard fought through tremendous punishment to team up for a thrilling last-second sequence after they finally got Harper to themselves. Reigns blasted the former Intercontinental Champion with a Superman Punch, Bryan followed with a Running Knee, and The Big Dog sealed the win with a Spear.

“They made a pretty good team!” Michael Cole exclaimed, rightfully surprised. And Bryan, at least, seemed to agree. After seemingly rescinding his offer of a post-match handshake, he gave The Big Dog one better with a hug — something Bryan only reserves for his best friends. Respect at last.