Kofi Kingston defeated Randy Orton at Clash of Champions on Sunday night to retain the WWE Championship.
Orton hit the RKO on Kingston, but Kingston had the presence of mind to get his foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin.
Rather than attempt a second RKO to finish the job, Orton opted to line up for his running punt kick. That allowed Kingston enough time to regain his senses. He ducked out of the way and returned to his feet to connect with Trouble in Paradise.
Sunday's bout was a rematch from SummerSlam, which saw the two men fight to a draw. Since there was no decisive winner in Toronto, it set the stage for another meeting at Clash of Champions, but things were far more personal this time around.
There were already longstanding issues between Kingston and Orton entering SummerSlam since it has long been speculated that The Viper played a political role in his rival's push getting halted in 2009.
Orton took it to another level at SummerSlam when he taunted Kingston's wife and children, which set off a brawl and prompted the New Day member to punish The Viper with several kendo-stick shots.
With the bad blood between Kingston and Orton boiling over, they continued to make life miserable for each other leading up to Clash of Champions. The Viper was especially sinister, as he enlisted the help of The Revival to take out both Big E and Xavier Woods.
Orton even stooped so low as to read a fake letter from Kingston's son, which allowed The Viper to lure the New Day man into a trap and lay him out with an elevated DDT onto the cement floor.
While Kingston was often outmanned and outgunned prior to Clash of Champions, he did manage to get his licks in as well by fending off Orton and The Revival with a steel chair.
The WWE champion has long been known as a happy-go-lucky Superstar who preaches the power of positivity, but the feud with Orton has allowed him to be a bit edgier, and it has added a much-needed dimension to his character.
Orton is one of the best heels in the business, and that brought the best out of Kingston during the build toward Clash of Champions while also making for an emotionally charged and physical title match.
With SmackDown Live set to debut on Fox on October 4, there was some thought that the result of Sunday's match would go a long way toward showing whether WWE officials view Kingston as someone capable of being the face of the brand.
After retaining once again over Orton, it appears as though the answer is a resounding "yes."
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