Chavo (un)masks his contempt

Chavo (un)masks his contempt

It is said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Apparently, someone forgot to inform Chavo Guerrero.

It began two weeks ago on SmackDown, in front of a capacity crowd in Youngstown, Ohio's Chevrolet Centre, where the pugnacious Guerrero had the audacity to disguise himself as Rey Mysterio, complete with trademark mask, and proceeded to mock his former longtime amigo.

"I looked deep down in my soul, and I don't know if I'm able to face Chavo Guerrero," a masked Chavo whined to the crowd, in a voice that was supposed to -- but came nowhere close to -- mimic Rey's. "I beg you, Chavo, please don't make me say ‘I quit' again."

This past Friday on SmackDown, Chavo was at it again. Under the bright lights of the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., he channeled his anger for Rey at opponent Shannon Moore. After defeating Moore with a brainbuster, the former Cruiserweight Champion slapped a replica Mysterio mask onto Moore's head and screamed that he hoped Rey was watching before he went on to punish Moore's knee with a devastating Frog Splash.

These antics have done more than stoke the rivalry between the two bitter enemies as their SummerSlam confrontation approaches this Sunday. It also reminded our fans of how Chavo devastated the former World Champion's left leg with a chair during their "I Quit" Match on SmackDown last October, causing a ruptured ACL and torn patella tendon which laid up Mysterio for nine months of exhaustive rehabilitative therapy. Guerrero knows that he's squaring off against a refocused Rey come August 26, yet he has continued his relentless (and tasteless) character assault, calling into question his foe's motivations and in-ring abilities. Could it be that he's simply an opportunist taking advantage of Rey's absence, or is his contempt for the man that genuine?

"It's total disrespect," Chavo clarified for "I'm going to show Rey what he's in for if he wants to get back in the ring with me. I'll give him a taste of what he's coming back to; These past few weeks were just a little taste."

If Chavo's "Mysterio mockery" is a shot across the bow to the Master of the 619, Chavo might need more ammo. During his match against Eugene two Fridays ago, Guerrero attempted Rey's signature move, only to flail sideways through the ring ropes and crash to the floor. Irate and off his game, the newly proven "Disaster of the 619" tore off his mask and yelled at our fans, then climbed back into the ring and finished off SmackDown's savant with a Frog Splash.

For now at least, Chavo appears unconcerned that his taunts may help to fuel Mysterio's fire. "I beat him when he was 100 percent," he told with a knowing grin. "We know the same people, we run in the same group. I know he's not 100 percent, so what makes you think I'm afraid of him now?"

Perhaps it's that same self-assurance which helped cause bad blood between the two high-flying warriors in the first place. According to Guerrero, he felt his sense of familial pride and deep need to protect his family's name from exploitation had been violated. "Rey's been living off the blood of the Guerreros for I don't know how long," he explained. "He wants to be a Guerrero. That's what this whole thing is all about."

Chavo will get an opportunity to put "this whole thing" to rest when he and Mysterio clash in New Jersey this Sunday. Without question, the ramifications of their SummerSlam contest will touch not only the members of the Guerrero family -- including Vickie Guerrero, the SmackDown Assistant GM who several weeks ago named her nephew as Mysterio's SummerSlam opponent -- but also those who have passed on. Specifically, Chavo's late uncle, WWE Hall of Famer Eddie Guerrero, who considered Rey not only a best friend, but also a brother.

How Rey's surgically repaired knee will hold up in the ring remains unclear, though one thing is certain: The long-anticipated battle between these Mexican Superstars won't soon quench the animosity Chavo Guerrero feels toward his former friend. "If Rey Mysterio wants to come back and be Rey Mysterio, that's fine," he fumed. "Just stay out of my business."

Check out Rey's new shirt...

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