New Year's atonement

New Year's atonement

RICHMOND, Va. — Weeks after Chavo Guerrero unexpectedly assaulted the ECW Champion, a retribution-minded CM Punk scored a count-out victory over his newfound rival on ECW on Sci Fi. Seeking to straighten things out with Guerrero on the first day of the New Year, the Straightedge Superstar doused Chavo's chance at a future ECW Title Match.

Under the mandate of ECW General Manager Armando Estrada, the pugnacious Mexican Superstar would receive an ECW Title Match if he could defeat Punk on Tuesday night. But before their encounter, Chavo commenced the first edition of ECW in 2008 by addressing his reprehensible actions that ended Punk's 2007 on a sour note. Before the bellicose Superstar could even finish, a fiery CM Punk interrupted and marched to the squared circle for a face-to-face confrontation.

With the man he assailed two weeks earlier now standing before him, Chavo revealed his essentially envy-based motivations. Citing how the world has been singing the praises of the Straightedge Champion as a rising star, Chavo argued that he is already a top caliber competitor, former champion and -- as part of Guerrero's New Year's Resolution -- soon to be a champion in 2008.

"You're nothing but a stepping stone for me," Guerrero proclaimed, speaking directly to CM Punk. "In 2008, I'm going to be a champion again."

The actions of ECW's tattooed titleholder, however, would speak much louder than Chavo's brazen boasts later in the night. Having competed across the globe and touting the namesake of one of wrestling's most revered families, Guerrero experienced exactly why Punk is considered to be the future of sports-entertainment.

The athletic, aggressive contest seesawed at each moment until both Superstars spilled to the outside. This blow-for-blow brawl at ringside quickly became a race to re-enter the ring before the referee's count reached 10. With just a split second separating him from his foe, Punk evaded Chavo, slid back inside the ring and landed one more kick to defeat his veteran opponent by count-out.

The Straightedge Superstar initiated 2008 with some much needed retribution against Chavo and continued the success he saw for most of 2007. Still, though Guerrero is now devoid of an ECW Title Match in the immediate future, has the Chavo-focused fire been fully extinguished from the eyes of the ECW Champion?

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