New bred and fine
Elijah Burke hears the whispers. And ECW's self-proclaimed "Paragon of Virtue" is haunted by two images -- his lying face-down after CM Punk, a man he had personally recruited for the New Breed, knocked him out and cost him and his group a pivotal match against the ECW Originals last month and his looking up at the lights at the end of their one-on-one war at Judgment Day.
The arrogant leader of the New Breed is never at a loss for words. And he always has a ready smile, even if it is delusional. But Burke does fall silent momentarily and his pearly whites disappear when someone suggests that Punk has the edge in their rivalry, and that he may be losing the confidence of his New Breed. After all, one original member of the New Breed, Kevin Thorn, quit after Burke berated him for not defeating the Straightedge Superstar. Another, Matt Striker, hasn't been in Burke's favor because of a recent losing streak (which he snapped last week on ECW on Sci Fi). And Burke has failed to, as he puts it, "lead by example" because he has not been able to defeat CM Punk in one-on-one competition.
Nonsense, says Burke. All is well with the New Breed, and he will prove this to the world when he leads his team to victory over Punk and ECW Originals Tommy Dreamer and Sandman in a Six-Man Tag Team Tables Match this Sunday at One Night Stand.
"Me, losing control? I am the Paragon of Virtue. I am the Guiding Light not only to my contingent, but to the millions of people who follow me on a weekly basis," Burke told WWE.com. "There's no way I'm losing control of my New Breed. And at One Night Stand, for those who are in doubt, we will prove without a shadow of a doubt that the New Breed is the most dominant force in ECW and that we are as solid and unified as ever."
For weeks, Burke tried to convince Punk to join the New Breed. He told the Straightedge Superstar that he was a perfect fit for the New Breed because he was unique and like the other members of the group, represented the present and future of ECW. The New Breed, Burke told Punk, could help him realize all his dreams and more.
At first, Punk insisted he didn't need the New Breed's help. But eventually, he joined, shocking our fans and sending shockwaves throughout the Land of the Extreme. However, the Punk-New Breed union didn't last long -- it disintegrated after only two weeks. Punk butted heads with Burke almost immediately, unnerving the paranoid leader of the New Breed by refusing to "fall in line" and assuming a leadership role in the group. Punk's intentions became clear after he purposely cost Burke and his team a match against the ECW Originals. Punk later revealed that he purposely infiltrated the New Breed to tear it apart.
"Whether I win or lose, I will do it on my own," Punk said. "I temporarily joined the New Breed to teach Elijah Burke a lesson -- that I'm my own man. I taught him that lesson at Judgment Day and will continue to teach him that lesson, with the help of the ECW Originals, at One Night Stand."
Sources in the ECW locker room say the New Breed lost confidence in Burke because they wondered how he could be duped by Punk. One of Burke's doubters was Kevin Thorn, but the New Breed leader dismisses the ECW vampire's defection.
"He was on his way out anyway," Burke said. "It's like one of those situations where you're getting ready to be fired, and you know you're going to be fired and to save face, you say you quit. … He didn't fit in; he didn't belong."
Burke has vowed revenge since being embarrassed by Punk. He has succeeded, with the help of New Breed enforcer Marcus Cor Von, in leaving the popular Punk with a few scars and some sore ribs. But Burke has failed to leave Punk beaten by his own hands. Sources close to Burke say the only way he can regain the full respect of his New Breed is by putting the Straightedge Superstar through a table and beating him on a stage as big as One Night Stand.
"I will prove at One Night Stand that the New Breed is indeed what we say we are -- the New Breed of sports-entertainment," Burke insisted. "We will take ECW to heights unknown, and it will be headed by yours truly."
If not, One Night Stand could be Elijah Burke's last stand.