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CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane – WWE Championship Triple Threat Match

A deranged monster’s dark fury has added even more fuel to one of WWE’s most explosive rivalries.

Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of Raw and SmackDown John Laurinaitis dropped a bombshell on the June 1 episode of SmackDown: WWE Champion CM Punk will defend his title at No Way Out in a Triple Threat Match against both Daniel Bryan and Kane.

The impetus behind this shocking announcement can be traced directly back to the nefarious actions of Bryan, himself. In recent weeks, WWE’s “Yes” man attempted to use Kane as a pawn in his ongoing conflict with the WWE Champion. The Big Red Monster is hardly the type to be exploited, however, and it wasn’t long before his fiery presence would intensify what was already an open – and volatile – hostility between Punk and Bryan.

In a battle between fierce competitors who have known each other for nearly 10 years, Punk barely fended off Bryan at WWE Over the Limit last month – getting the pinfall nanoseconds before tapping out to the excruciating pain of the “Yes!” Lock. Bryan’s near-victory against the long-tenured champion made it all but inevitable that he would get another opportunity at the greatest prize in WWE.

In his struggle to gain even the smallest advantage over The Best in the World, blinded by his desire for championship gold, Bryan sold his soul to the devil – actually, The Devil’s Favorite Demon. Tricking Kane to turn the monster’s fury against Punk, Bryan meddled with a force he couldn’t possibly control. On the May 18 episode of SmackDown, he repeatedly hammered Kane in the back with a steel chair before fleeing and leaving the WWE Champion to take the blame. The ploy worked in the short-term, as Punk sustained a brutal beating at Kane’s hands, but Bryan must now face the music for his machinations.

The Big Red Monster refuses to bend to the will of any Superstar, and his fiery rage may consume both Punk and Bryan. The masked force of nature brings brutality, cold-bloodedness and raw power to a rivalry that, thus far, has been defined primarily by agility, technique and heart.

As if the terrorizing presence of Kane and the innate chaos of a Triple Threat Match weren’t challenging enough, Punk’s No Way Out title defense is exacerbated by a fourth individual, someone who likely won’t even be competing that night. AJ – the not-so-secret admirer of Punk and the unbalanced ex-girlfriend of Bryan – is a wild card in an already unpredictable situation. Will her infatuation with the champion or her abhorrence of the submission specialist come into play at the explosive pay-per-view? Maybe Punk’s greatest threat isn’t a “Yes!” Lock or a chokeslam, but a woman scorned.

As WWE Champion CM Punk’s reign nears 200 days, will it come crashing down in flames, or can The Second City Savior defend his title against two very different – yet equally dangerous – opponents? The only way to find out is to tune in to No Way Out, June 17 at 8 ET/5 PT – only on pay-per-view.

Debbie Wiseman Jun 2, 2012