Three men entered, three men collided and three men fought. When the dust was settled and all was said and done, CM Punk — on the 274th day of his reign — was still standing tall as the WWE Champion, defeating John Cena and Big Show in a Triple Threat Match at The 25th Anniversary of SummerSlam.
For weeks, the embattled champion had been insisting that WWE had not been affording him due respect as its standard-bearer. He made a particular point of telling Raw General Manager AJ Lee that a Triple Threat Title Match — a contest where Punk would not even have to be pinned to lose his championship — was an extension of that mindset. And when Cena refused to shake Punk’s hand earlier in the week on Raw, The Second City Saint seemed to be in a particularly foul mood heading into WWE’s summer classic.
He was also in a particularly confident one, insisting that he would retain no matter who was in the ring with him. The Voice of the Voiceless proved to be a man of his word, although he had to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat to accomplish the task.
Punk began the match appropriately, storming into the City of Angels like a jilted, tattooed typhoon and opening the match with a bold strike against Big Show that, unfortunately, didn’t pay dividends. The World’s Largest Athlete had an early hand in the contest, manhandling Cena and Punk with minimal difficulty, backing up his own prediction that he, not Cena, would be the biggest threat to Punk’s title. Show made a methodical spectacle of his opponents, delivering thunderous, open-handed slaps — with his hubcap-sized hands — to the bare chests of both Punk and Cena that left the two men reeling and breathless on the apron.
When Brock Lesnar warned Shawn Michaels that he’d see him before SummerSlam, no one ever imagined the kind of punishment Brock had in store for The Showstopper. What did Lesnar do to the WWE Hall of Famer to leave Triple H utterly enraged? Also, why did WWE Champion CM Punk feel he was disrespected again — this time by John Cena — days before they clash in a Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam? (WATCH RAW HIGHLIGHTS)
Big Show def. WWE Champion CM Punk via Disqualification in a Non-Title Match
Big Show manhandled the WWE Champion in the early going as CM Punk tried to stop the onslaught with sharp kicks to the midsection. The World’s Largest Athlete took advantage of his massive strength and repeatedly planted Punk back down to the canvas. Almost toying with The Straight Edge Superstar, Big Show used his full weight to step on top of Punk while he lied face down on the canvas.(PHOTOS | VIDEO)
Punk seemed to weaken The World’s Largest Athlete when he drilled him with a running knee in the corner, but Big Show responded with a crushing spear out of nowhere. Just then, Daniel Bryan came out to express his anger over not being in the Triple Threat Match to Jerry “The King” Lawler and Michael Cole at the announce booth. As the action continued, Bryan entered the ring and wrapped the painful “No!” Lock on The Second City Savior. More chaos ensued as John Cena rushed out and cleared the ring of both Big Show and Bryan.
AJ Lee allowed the WWE Universe to pick WWE Champion CM Punk’s opponent for Raw
Raw General Manager AJ Lee kicked off the night by announcing two big matches for Raw: Randy Orton vs. Big Show and John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan. As she was about to announce another match, WWE Champion CM Punk’s music blared and The Straight Edge Superstar came out to the ring to apologize for letting the emotions get the better of him when he angrily confronted AJ last week on Raw. After the Raw GM accepted his apology, Punk told AJ she made a mistake by putting him a Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam and urged her to cancel the bout against Cena and Big Show, but the Raw GM refused to comply. The WWE Champion accused AJ of just trying to get back at him for when he rejected her marriage proposal in front of the whole WWE Universe. (PHOTOS)
Even a fire at U.S. Bank Arena couldn’t stop Raw from marching on to episode 1,001.Following a minor pyrotechnic incident involving the Raw set, the show took to the air at its normally scheduled time, and what a night it turned out to be for Raw General Manager AJ Lee’s first night on the job. Find out what WWE Champion CM Punk had to say about his shocking attack on The Rock last week, how AJ spoiled The Straight Edge Superstar’s plans after the main event, and much more in WWE.com’s complete results of the action-packed three-hour Raw. (WATCH HIGHLIGHTS)
WWE Champion CM Punk showed no remorse for his GTS on The Rock
WWE Champion CM Punk opened Raw by addressing the WWE Universe. The Straight Edge Superstar proclaimed that the end to Raw’s 1,000th episode left a bad taste in his mouth, and then confronted commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler face to face from atop the announce table. Telling Lawler that he was wrong to say Punk turned his back on the WWE Universe, The Straight Edge Superstar boasted that The Rock showed an incredible lack of respect to him last week, so he dropped him with the Go To Sleep to show him exactly what he has to look forward to when they square off at the 2013 Royal Rumble. (PHOTOS | VIDEO)
DIGITAL PICTURES — SCREEN CAPTURES
The Rock proclaimed he will fight for the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble
WWE Champion CM Punk jumped on the opportunity to pour salt on Bryan’s wounds as the stranded groom continued to throw a tantrum in the ring. Bryan shouted at Punk that he’s the greatest of all time, but The Great One quickly deflated Bryan’s boasting. The Rock came out to the ring and told Bryan that he doesn’t get to say who the greatest of all time – only the WWE Universe gets to say that. In turn, the St. Louis crowd chanted, “Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!” (VIDEO | PHOTOS)
Likening Bryan to Frodo Baggins from “Lord of the Rings,” The Brahma Bull said he wasn’t there to trash the disgruntled Superstar, but rather wanted to talk about the WWE Championship. The Rock boldly proclaimed to The Straight Edge Superstar that he will fight for – and win – the WWE Championship at Royal Rumble, regardless of who holds the title at that time. Bryan angrily interrupted The Rock and claimed that it would be he who becomes WWE Champion and the new face of WWE. The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment mocked that notion, telling Bryan he looks more like the offspring of a homeless lumberjack and an Oompa-Loompa, and then flattened him with a ring-shaking Rock Bottom.