WWE Champion CM Punk def. Kane and Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat Match
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Before WWE Champion CM Punk took to the ring to face Kane and Daniel Bryan, he received a little good-luck kiss on the cheek from AJ, to which The Straight Edge Superstar replied: “Luck is for losers.”
Punk didn’t need any “luck” to become the longest-reigning WWE Champion in six years, but some mind games and a timely distraction from the ever-unpredictable Diva certainly helped his cause.(PHOTOS)
AJ’s presence was felt before the battle even took place when she planted a kiss on her ex-boyfriend’s cheek and admitted she still wasn’t over him, and later shared a long, passionate kiss with The Big Red Monster – their second stunning kiss in a matter of days. But as the Triple Threat Match got underway, AJ was curiously nowhere to be found, only an electric crowd anticipating what turned out to be a tremendous back-and-forth clash.
The majority of the crowd at the IZOD Center backed the WWE Champion, though it was clear from the get-go that there was plenty of love for Bryan as well, as a swarm of “Yes!” signs greeted the submission specialist as he made his emphatic entrance. It didn’t take long for Kane to silence the passionate fans, punishing both Punk and Bryan before attempting a double chokeslam. Both competitors opted to team up to escape punishment and took The Big Red Monster’s legs out from under him.
Risk-taking quickly became a trend in the early going, with Bryan hitting a dive through the ropes on Kane, and Punk following with a high-flying crossbody onto both Superstars on the outside. Bryan’s attempt to go high risk again was thwarted when Kane caught him with a strike to the throat, taking Bryan out of the match for a stretch while The Devil’s Favorite Demon went to work on Punk’s injured ribs. Using the steel ring post and a constrictive leg scissors, Kane wore down the WWE Champion and seemed to take the edge in the matchup.
Right when Punk found an opening to rally back, Bryan came out of nowhere and nailed The Second City Savior with a dropkick at the turnbuckle, quickly followed by more vicious kicks on Kane. With The Big Red Monster subdued temporarily, Punk looked to gain the advantage with a superplex on Bryan, but Kane interfered and pulled him off the top turnbuckle. The WWE Champion tenaciously kept fighting back against The Big Red Monster, leaving Bryan, still sitting atop the turnbuckle, time to recover and capitalize with an impressive split-legged dropkick that sent his two foes tumbling.
After more intense seesaw action, Punk appeared to be on the way to victory when he executed an amazing clothesline off the top rope as Bryan sat atop Kane’s shoulders. The Straight Edge Superstar soon followed with his savage flying elbow drop, but it wasn’t enough to keep Bryan down for the count. The former World Heavyweight Champion responded with a high-risk maneuver of his own, drilling Punk with a diving headbutt off the top rope, and trapped him in the excruciating “Yes!” Lock. The WWE Champion remarkably reversed the submission into a near-pinfall, in a repeat of the controversial finish between the two rivals at WWE Over the Limit.
Kane made his biggest impact of the battle when he prevented Punk from sealing a victory with a Go to Sleep on Bryan, dragging the “Yes!” man out of the ring to the arena floor. The Devil’s Favorite Demon then hit a ferocious flying clothesline off the top rope and Punk countered with a flying elbow drop, but neither competitor was able to land the decisive blow. Following a brutal chokeslam that nearly took the last bit of energy out of The Straight Edge Superstar, Kane tried to finish off Punk with a Tombstone piledriver, which prompted AJ to come rushing down to the ring.
The Diva’s interference couldn’t have been timelier as Punk somehow escaped out of Kane’s clutches and shoved Kane into the ropes just as AJ was waiting on the apron. The collision sent AJ flying to the arena floor and left Kane clearly shaken over what he had just done. From there, it was time for The Big Red Monster to Go to Sleep.
Immediately after the bout, Kane rushed to AJ’s aid and lifted the seemingly injured Diva into his arms, gripping her tightly as he walked up the entranceway. When The Devil’s Favorite Demon got to the top of the stage, however, AJ opened her eyes and let out a sly smile as she flashed a glance back at Punk, who was celebrating his huge win in the ring.
The priceless look on AJ’s face said it all. It was billed as a Triple Threat Match, but there was a volatile fourth threat that ultimately tilted the odds in the WWE Champion’s favor.