On the emotional frontlines

As announced on WWE.com last week, SmackDown General Manager Theodore Long has set a match between two former friends at SummerSlam, as Rey Mysterio will go one-on-one with Chavo Guerrero. With everything that Rey Mysterio and the entire Guerrero family have experienced in the past year, this contest is expected to be one of the most emotional confrontations in SummerSlam history.

Chavo has agreed to come out of retirement for the opportunity to face former World Champion Mysterio. In Boston, it will be Chavo's first match in a WWE ring since officially withdrawing from competition back in April.

"Just because I've been retired doesn't mean I'm just sitting on the couch," Chavo said.  "I've been running and training and keeping my regimen up just for me mentally. And since this kind of all started to come down between Rey and I, I've definitely kicked it up," he continued. "If [Rey] thinks it's going to be an easy night -- that I've been off for a while, that I'm going to be sitting there and going to be sluggish -- then he's in for a whole big surprise."

For Rey Mysterio, it has been a tumultuous year topped by a month of both betrayal and defeat. After months of supporting Mysterio, Chavo did the unthinkable and cost Rey the World Championship at The Great American Bash and yet again days later on SmackDown.

On July 23, in the very arena where Eddie Guerrero had his final match last November, the friendship shared by Chavo Guerrero and Rey Mysterio was maliciously ruptured, its pieces strewn about the Conseco Fieldhouse. Then, several weeks ago, Chavo went on the record to discuss his recent actions against Mysterio. Chavo said he believed Rey was trying to bask in his uncle Eddie and the Guerrero family's spotlight.

"My emotions are definitely going to be against Chavo for all he's done," explained Mysterio. "Whatever I felt for Chavo in the past is gone now. There's nothing we need to talk about; we need to settle it like men and that's what's going to happen at SummerSlam."

Without remorse, Chavo cost the biggest underdog champion in WWE history his livelihood and a 16-year dream -- a dream that Rey fulfilled in the name of the late Eddie Guerrero at WrestleMana 22. In a single week in July, Chavo also severed the unique bond shared by Mysterio and the Guerreros.

After Eddie's passing, Chavo proved himself to be a true friend of Rey Mysterio. Even in retirement, Chavo passionately cheered on Rey from his corner, occasionally becoming physically involved in Mysterio's matches to help Rey perpetuate his World Championship reign. Rey and Chavo seemed to grow closer than ever, relying on each other to combat their grief over the loss of their greatest friend.

Outside of the ring, the tie between Rey Mysterio and the Guerrero family lived on and continued to grow. Chavo supported Rey and his World Championship quest from the Royal Rumble, all the way up to WrestleMania 22. Both Chavo and Rey stood together to overcome their grief at Eddie's funeral services. Then, along with Chris Benoit, Chavo and Rey inducted their beloved friend into the WWE Hall of Fame on the eve of WrestleMania 22. Side by side, they spoke of their friend and uncle as a brother whose memory would live in their hearts forever.

The deep-rooted bond between Rey Mysterio and the Guerrero family extends far back and long before their relationship in WWE. There had been battles before in other organizations across the globe, but it was with Eddie, Rey and Chavo's emergence in WWE that their friendship truly flourished.

"This match [at SummerSlam] is a chance for me to stand up for my family's name; that's what it all boils down to," said an intense Chavo. "It's a match that's a long time coming. Rey's been dedicating every single match to the legend of Eddie Guerrero and I'm tired of hearing about it. It's all going to play out in the match by me kicking his ass."

"[Rey's] had a lot of battles with the Guerrrero family before," Chavo explained. "Rey's wrestled pretty much every member of our family, but at SummerSlam, he's in for it. Eddie Guerrero taught Rey a lot of things, but he didn't teach him everything. I grew up with Eddie. I'd known Eddie my entire life," Chavo said. "He taught me everything I know."

Despite their friendship in the past, a purposeful Mysterio said he has full intentions of hitting Chavo with everything's he got on Aug. 20.

"I'm not going to be holding anything back [at SummerSlam]," Mysterio said. "I won't be worrying about the rest of the Guerrero family. The only person that's going to be in the ring is going to be Chavo Guerrero," he added. "Rey Mysterio's going to go in there and give more than 100 percent."

Between Rey and Chavo stands the widow of Eddie Guerrero, Vickie, who has inserted herself into the turbulent equation and put her own physical and emotional health at risk in hopes of keeping her "familia" intact. A few weeks ago on SmackDown, Vickie was knocked to the floor after trying to separate a skirmishing Rey and Chavo. According to Mysterio, there may not be a way for anyone to restore the decimated relationship between him and Chavo at this stage of their war.

"[At SummerSlam], you're going to see a spectacular fight between Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero, without a doubt," Rey said.  "I'm a gladiator. I'm going to fight."

This war between Rey and Chavo has grown more venomous and spun further out of control over the past several weeks. As SummerSlam draws closer, one can only wonder if either man can emerge as the same person they once were.

Will SummerSlam mark the end of this family war? Can either man ever be the same? Will the "biggest party of the summer" turn out to be the most dramatic contest of emotions in SummerSlam history? Can their friendship be renewed? Find out this Sunday at 8/7 CT, live and only on pay-per-view.

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