A new "Challenge" ahead for Elijah

A new "Challenge" ahead for Elijah

ORLANDO, Fla.  -- Just hours before the sixth annual THQ Superstar Challenge takes place live from Disney's House of Blues in Orlando, Fla., returning champion Elijah Burke is a huge target.

Not too far from the site of WrestleMania XXIV, "the Experience" is still cool as ever, but fairly confident in his skillful, strategic button-tapping. In between practice rounds of SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 in the backstage area, Burke put down the X-box 360 controller long enough to offer WWE.com some exclusive pre-Challenge comments.

"I think we've got a lot of people here and, apparently, there's a big bull's-eye right on my chest," he explained, before letting out a hearty chuckle. "Right now, it's all butterflies, just like any time you're getting ready to go into action."

After his victory in last year's video game competition, also hosted by THQ, Burke was surprisingly humble -- at least, that's what he wanted everyone to think.

"There are a lot of interesting additions to this event, like Kofi Kingston and Cody Rhodes," Burke noted, "and of course, veterans to keep your eye on, like Tommy Dreamer."

Before the Experience can even think about the others contenders, however, he will meet a most familiar rival in the opening round of the tri-branded tournament.

"I have to start off with a former ECW Champion and diverse competitor when it comes to video games -- CM Punk," he said. "Once I get past him, I'll be ready to take the cake."

The brief interview came to a close as Burke was solicited by ECW Diva Layla for tricks and tips on the hard-hitting video game blockbuster. But before he signaled "Game Over" with WWE.com, the master of the Elijah Express ... well, expressed his concern with perhaps his biggest challenge tonight.

"The underdog here that no one is worried about, but should be, is Rey Mysterio," admitted the ordinarily cocky ECW Superstar. "Think about it; he's been out of action, he's been home with his son, Dominic. I think he'll be the surprise contender in this competition."

Can Burke become a two-time THQ Superstar Challenge Champion? Or will WWE's littlest big man -- the Master of the 619 -- swing his way to the top of the simulated ring? Stay tuned to WWE.com for updates from the House of Blues in the Sunshine State.

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