Once again, CM Punk learned that Randy Orton’s patented RKO is perhaps one of the most unpredictable and devastating maneuvers in WWE history. The WWE Universe watched in awe — and thousands of flash bulbs attempted to capture the astounding moment when The Viper took down CM Punk to pick up another victory over the leader of The New Nexus. This instance was different than the one inside the Georgia Dome at WrestleMania and on Raw the following night, because after this unbelievable RKO, Orton truly was the last man standing at Extreme Rules.
In a Last Man Standing Match, anything goes, there are no count outs and whichever Superstar does not answer the official’s 10-count loses the match. After many close calls and brutal action in and outside of the ring, CM Punk was unable to get back to his feet before the count of 10.
Before their confrontation on The Grandest Stage of Them All, Orton single-handedly and methodically took The New Nexus out of action one at a time in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania. This would ultimately even the playing field by preventing them from coming to CM Punk’s aid inside the Georgia Dome. One month later, as CM Punk’s music played inside Tampa’s St. Pete Times Forum, The New Nexus followed, ready to seek their own revenge on The Viper and ensure Punk’s victory. Facing insurmountable odds, Orton’s salvation came in the form of flickering lights and a familiar chime. Josh Mathews then delivered bad news for The Straight Edge Superstar — Raw’s Anonymous General Manager wanted to ensure there would only be one last man standing and banned Punk’s horde from ringside mere moments before the opening bell.
CM Punk’s furious reaction to this shocking announcement spoke volumes as he no doubt counted on a healthy and present New Nexus to ensure victory this time. With little time for The Second City Saint to improvise and develop a new strategy, the official called for the bell and it was almost as though it triggered venom to course through Orton’s body, ready to strike at his adversary.
Randy Orton def. CM PunkWhile the battle in Tampa was certainly tremendous and ruthless, the hatred between the two competitors was enough motivation to keep them at each other’s throats in the opening bout of Extreme Rules. The arch-rivals gave each other everything they had both in and out of the ring. Both competitors unleashed a flurry of punishment on each other using kendo sticks, chairs, exposed turnbuckles and the steel steps at ringside to try and attain victory. The Viper showed his resiliency throughout the entire contest and finally, after unleashing a series of strikes with a kendo stick, Orton climbed the top turnbuckle and nailed CM Punk with a huge RKO. Unable to answer the official’s 10-count, CM Punk would fall in defeat once more to one of SmackDown’s newest additions.
In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, as Orton dismantled The New Nexus, CM Punk began to wage a much more psychological battle with WWE’s Apex Predator. A defining moment of Punk’s reprehensible tactics came when he taunted his opponent from Orton’s tour bus, while his wife was inside. Punk used the opportunity to attack Orton’s knee, trying to gain an advantage at The Show of Shows. However, Orton’s resiliency, determination and unpredictability was heavily underestimated by The Straight Edge Superstar, both at WrestleMania and then again on Raw just 24 hours later.
The black-and-yellow adorned army even cost Orton an opportunity to challenge for the WWE Title and while it seemed that The New Nexus and their leader finally had the upper hand, The Viper once again defeated CM Punk a week later. Finally, the Second City Saint had enough and wanted to meet Orton in a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules.
In what could be one of the most defining moments of his career, Orton’s jaw-dropping RKO would be enough to finally silence and keep CM Punk down for good in their most vicious encounter ever.