The beginning of a new ECW dawn

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June 19, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As the cloud of mystery over Mr. McMahon's tragic presumed demise continued to hang over all of WWE and ECW, the winds of change blew in the Land of the Extreme Tuesday night. The first steps to crowning a new ECW World Champion were taken, as Chris Benoit and CM Punk won the opportunity to face each other for the vacant ECW World Title at Vengeance: Night of Champions.

Ironically, Benoit and Punk would not have gotten this title match without Mr. McMahon. In his last official act, the Chairman stripped Bobby Lashley of the ECW World Title after the proud former Army sergeant was drafted to Raw. Benoit and Punk did not get their title opportunity easily. New Breed leader Elijah Burke and his enforcer, Marcus Cor Von would have loved to have brought the ECW World Title to the New Breed. But Burke fell short to the Rabid Wolverine, and the Straightedge Superstar somehow eked out a victory over The Alpha Male. Read the full story ...

The Rabid Wolverine is a former World Champion and perhaps a future WWE Hall of Famer. CM Punk is an up-and-coming ECW Superstar and perhaps a future World Champion. They represent the past, the present and future of ECW and all of sports-entertainment -- and in many ways are mirror images of each other.

When Benoit and Punk battle for the ECW World Title this Sunday at Vengeance: Night of Champions, it will be a clash of both the past and future of ECW. Their battle will be a war between titans who share both the same passion for combat inside the squared circle and a mutual code of honor. Read a preview of their Vengeance match …

Benoit and Punk were not the only Superstars to give our fans a glimpse of the new landscape of ECW. Former Intercontinental and WWE Tag Team Champion Johnny Nitro, who was drafted to ECW this past Sunday during the WWE Supplemental Draft, made his debut in the Land of the Extreme against tough ECW Original Nunzio. The Full-Blooded Italian showed the A-lister what extreme means in ECW. But in the end, Nitro showed our fans -- and the rest of ECW -- that he is an A-lister who can kick some a**.

Meanwhile, recent draftee Boogeyman continued to send nightmares throughout the ECW locker room by quickly decimating and worming another hapless foe. Our fans cringed in horror as the worms wiggled in Boogeyman's mouth and he celebrated another victory. It looks like he is looking to bring more victims down to The Bottomless Pit in the weeks ahead.

Boogeyman's entrance in ECW has caused sleepless nights, but it appears new draftee The Miz's debut is highly anticipated, especially among the ladies of Extreme Exposé. The trio was seen talking about the former reality TV star, and Brooke even seems to have a crush on The Miz. But it also appears that Kelly Kelly may have already spent some time with Miz -- and Layla knows about it. Stay tuned to ECW on Sci Fi in the coming weeks and see if this potential saga develops.

Kevin Thorn is not new to ECW, but he is one of its most promising young stars. He has been on a brutal winning streak since leaving the New Breed and focusing on leaving his own carnage in ECW. Tommy Dreamer, the heart and soul of ECW, tested the fanged freak, but Thorn pounded him into defeat.

Benoit, Punk, Burke, Cor Von, Nitro, Boogeyman and Thorn all gave our fans a glimpse of ECW's future, and by all indications, it is bright. One thing is for sure: Vengeance: Night of Champions will be the beginning of a new era in the Land of Extreme. Don't miss history in the making at Vengeance this Sunday at 8/7 CT, only on pay-per-view.

Can't get enough of ECW? Relive each match in its entirety on Hardcore Hangover at ECW.com.

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