Punk began his title defense by darting in retreat. Ryback and John Cena took turns beating on him until they were forced to face each other.
There was a big-fight feel with those two powerhouses in the ring alone.
Ryback fended off Cena's attacks, looking indestructible at times. Much of the rest of the bout involved one of the three stars preventing someone from getting a pin or submission.
The match's pace stayed frantic.
Cena became the scavenger, trying to pick up wins off other guys' moves. Ryback tore through his opposition except when he was outnumbered. Punk looked maniacal and exceedingly arrogant.
The wrestlers used the steel steps and the announce table to up the violence.
Cena kicked out of the GTS. Punk kicked out of the Attitude Adjustment.
There were several moments where it looked certain Punk would lose his title, but none more than when Ryback hit him Shell Shock.
That's when the NXT invasion began.
Wrestling super-fans everywhere must have rejoiced as Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins stormed the ring and laid a beating on Big Hungry.
There was no indication as to why they attacked Ryback, but it allowed Punk to win and retain his WWE title. It's going to be an interesting Raw and beyond thanks to those guys.
Best Moment: The NXT guys storm onto the WWE scene by throwing Ryback through a table.
Real Winner: CM Punk
His reign will now surpass a full year. He survived seemingly impossible odds. The Rock awaits.
Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars