UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk may have debunked fluke-claiming critics by enduring in a highly competitive confrontation with Batista at The Great American Bash. But though the Straightedge Champion retained the gold, he was left with a bittersweet (and somewhat charred) taste in his mouth as Kane's hell-wreaking intervention caused a double-disqualification. (Watch Punk's exclusive post-match interview)

Less than one month ago, CM Punk made a stand-out transition from ECW to Raw Superstardom by cashing in his Money in the Bank championship opportunity against an Animal-assailed Edge. Ironically, it would be Batista himself who would win No. 1 contendership and seek to curtail the tattooed champion's greatest of personal ambitions fulfilled.

Three-time former World Heavyweight Champion Batista appeared to be the heavy favorite in a contest pitting power, size and experience against skill, resourcefulness and tenacity. But in his very first pay-per-view defense, Punk refused to be etched into history books as a mere "transitional champion" and for the entire bout, he took every ounce of fight to his sizeable challenger.

Suddenly, CM Punk and Batista's battle for supremacy was overshadowed by a burlap sack bearing monster in the Nassau Coliseum. Deliberate and devastating, the seven-foot menace known as Kane brought an unruly ending to a hotly contested bout between two recent Raw draftees, laying both men out.

For weeks, Raw's tormented monster has stalked the Monday night brand in search of answers to mysterious, twisted questions that none seem able to answer. Spouting his incoherent and puzzling mutterings -- "Is he dead or is he alive?" -- WWE's own towering inferno continued his rancorous assault on a defenseless production crew member.

On the final Raw heading into The Bash, it was The Animal's spear that left Kane unable to decimate Punk as planned. This may have been what drove the Big Red Monster to finish what he started with his former ally at a most inopportune moment, live on pay-per-view.

Is Kane yet satisfied with the damage caused to the World Heavyweight Champion and The Animal? Is any one safe, given the Big Red Machine's recent unpredictability and bizarre actions?

Also, where does this leave Batista, who came within inches of clinching the gold before Kane's unleashed wrath? The challenger was clearly unhappy as he Batista Bombed the battle-worn champion moments after the decision was rendered by the officials. Will the Straightedge Champion be able to keep the title with so many large threats?

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk may have debunked fluke-claiming critics by enduring in a highly competitive confrontation with Batista at The Great American Bash. But though the Straightedge Champion retained the gold, he was left with a bittersweet (and somewhat charred) taste in his mouth as Kane's hell-wreaking intervention caused a double-disqualification. (Watch Punk's exclusive post-match interview)

Less than one month ago, CM Punk made a stand-out transition from ECW to Raw Superstardom by cashing in his Money in the Bank championship opportunity against an Animal-assailed Edge. Ironically, it would be Batista himself who would win No. 1 contendership and seek to curtail the tattooed champion's greatest of personal ambitions fulfilled.

Three-time former World Heavyweight Champion Batista appeared to be the heavy favorite in a contest pitting power, size and experience against skill, resourcefulness and tenacity. But in his very first pay-per-view defense, Punk refused to be etched into history books as a mere "transitional champion" and for the entire bout, he took every ounce of fight to his sizeable challenger.

Suddenly, CM Punk and Batista's battle for supremacy was overshadowed by a burlap sack bearing monster in the Nassau Coliseum. Deliberate and devastating, the seven-foot menace known as Kane brought an unruly ending to a hotly contested bout between two recent Raw draftees, laying both men out.

For weeks, Raw's tormented monster has stalked the Monday night brand in search of answers to mysterious, twisted questions that none seem able to answer. Spouting his incoherent and puzzling mutterings -- "Is he dead or is he alive?" -- WWE's own towering inferno continued his rancorous assault on a defenseless production crew member.

On the final Raw heading into The Bash, it was The Animal's spear that left Kane unable to decimate Punk as planned. This may have been what drove the Big Red Monster to finish what he started with his former ally at a most inopportune moment, live on pay-per-view.

Is Kane yet satisfied with the damage caused to the World Heavyweight Champion and The Animal? Is any one safe, given the Big Red Machine's recent unpredictability and bizarre actions?

Also, where does this leave Batista, who came within inches of clinching the gold before Kane's unleashed wrath? The challenger was clearly unhappy as he Batista Bombed the battle-worn champion moments after the decision was rendered by the officials. Will the Straightedge Champion be able to keep the title with so many large threats?