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CLEVELAND -- In his quest to reclaim the gold that was essentially stolen from him by Chavo Guerrero -- and the "Guerrero family" -- the Straightedge Superstar has dunked the ECW Champion in the Gulf of Mexico, turned Chavo's celebration fiesta into a siesta and even pinned his rival on several occasions. (WATCH)
Still, despite being outclassed and outwrestled for weeks, the self-proclaimed "Mexican Warrior" had CM Punk's number in Cleveland, as Chavo managed to secure a critical victory in his war with his tattooed challenger on ECW.
In an exclusive WWE.com video last week, Chavo continued to argue that CM Punk is merely a "stepping stone" for Guerrero's supremacy. On Tuesday night, however, the Straightedge Superstar proved that he is much, much more than that -- unless stones are suddenly able to come within inches of becoming ECW Champion.
In fact, just one week after trumping both Shelton Benjamin and Elijah Burke in a Triple Threat Match for No. 1 contendership to the ECW Title, Punk posed a serious threat to Chavo's reign.
"I am a champion. I was a champion before, and tonight, I'm going to earn it for the second time," Punk told Lena Yada earlier, just moments before his match.
Executing move after move, the challenger exhibited his heart and skill -- that of a champion -- and nearly beat the Mexican Warrior on several occasions.
After nearly winning with a small package out of Chavo's Three Amigos suplex trio, Punk managed to fight back from a tornado DDT and a series of other moves. Ultimately, the crafty ECW Champion and his opponent found themselves on the top rope, battling for position. Punk's plummet left him dangerously vulnerable as the resourceful champion then landed his signature Frog Splash for the pin.
Throughout all of 2008, the Straightedge Superstar and his enemy have focused their energies on ECW's richest prize -- and ridding one another from the Land of the Extreme permanently. Chavo and Punk are more than familiar with one another's in-ring abilities, techniques and, perhaps most importantly, their flaws. And, despite the defeat Punk experienced on ECW, one can expect that the determined Superstar who craves competition will be looking for an opportunity to illuminate those flaws of Chavo's in future confrontations.
While only time will tell if the world has witnessed the culmination of Punk and Guerrero's war, it is assuredly not the end of the Straightedge Superstar's quest for gold.
What is the next step for CM Punk and ECW Champion Chavo Guerrero? And how will their respective roads ahead weave toward WrestleMania XXIV? Stay tuned to ECW on Sci Fi and catch the special three-hour edition of Raw - WrestleMania Rewind night - this Monday to find out.