Vintage Vault “Pre-Viewing of Punk”: No Way Out 2008

Chavo Guerrero vs. CM Punk for the ECW Championship

We are now knee deep into the Road to Wrestlemania and as we inch closer and closer to the big night in Orlando, a lot of questions were surrounding several guys and their role at that show with Punk definitely being one of them. After shockingly losing the ECW Title to of all people Guerrero right before the Rumble, you figured that he was going to get a rematch for the title and with it being here, this was going to dictate what his role at WM would be. The question of would he go into that show as champion once again or if he was possibly not much longer for ECW and if he has outgrown the brand to the point that he might be a player in the Money in the Bank ladder match. On the surface, Guerrero seems like a weak guy to have ended Punk’s reign, but Punk’s reign was on fumes by that point and given Guerrero being involved in a big stable on Smackdown with Edge and Vickie Guerrero, him being the top dog on ECW made sense even if it is at the expense of Punk though you figured that they could still put on a solid match.

On the 1/29 ECW, Guerrero held a special celebration for becoming champion the previous week complete with a mariachi band, but during the celebrating the head of the band broke his guitar over Guerrero’s head and revealed himself to be Punk. On the 2/1 Smackdown, Punk teamed with Rey Mysterio to defeat Guerrero and Edge in a tag match, and on the 2/5 ECW Punk demanded his rematch and Guerrero agreed though said the rematch would be at No Way Out. Later that night, the two men fought in a Gulf of Mexico Extreme Rules match which Punk won after sending Guerrero into the Gulf, and on the 2/12 ECW Punk defeated Mark Henry by DQ and fended off an attack by Guerrero before giving him the Go To Sleep. Given how dominant Punk has looked during these last few weeks, it seemed like a good sign that Guerrero was probably going to retain though there was always the thought that Punk would get the title back.

Punk gets a good pop from the crowd while Guerrero had tepid heat as a heel, and this was a good choice to have open the show. The two men have a staredown to start the match with Guerrero slapping Punk in the face and Punk hits a high kick, and he hits a back elbow on Guerrero who gets a shot in only for Punk to catch him in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a one count. He whips Guerrero into the corner and Guerrero backdrops Punk over the top with Punk landing on the apron, and Guerrero kicks him to the floor and pulls him back into the ring as he pounds on him and knocks him down for a one count. He stomps on Punk and kicks at him twice as Punk battles back and hits a pair of kicks only for Guerrero to hit a drop toehold, and he hits a somersault senton onto Punk’s back for a one count and then he hits a back suplex before hooking a submission on. Punk fights to his feet and slingshots Guerrero into the corner as he gets a kick in and hits a running kneelift, and he hits a backdrop on Guerrero only for Guerrero to catch him with a boot to the face though Punk catches him in a powerslam for a two count. He hoists Guerrero onto his shoulders only for Guerrero to escape with a hurricanrana and he gets a kick in, and he hits the tornado DDT on Punk for a two count only for Punk to block a kick attempt and he hits a running enzurgiri on Guerrero for a two count. Punk pays tribute to Eddie Guerrero and gets a kick in as he hits a pair of suplexes on Guerrero, but Guerrero blocks the third one and goes behind Punk who turns it around and he sends Guerrero into the corner. He hits the running knee and running bulldog on Guerrero for a pair of two counts before hoisting him onto his shoulders, but Guerrero grabs the rope and Punk sends him over the top with Guerrero landing on the apron and Punk kicks him to the floor. Punk goes outside and throws Guerrero back into the ring for a two count as he puts him on the top rope and goes up himself, but Guerrero blocks a superplex and pounds on Punk as he shoves him to the mat only for Punk to crotch him on the top rope. He goes up top again only for Guerrero to block a hurricanrana as Punk crashes to the mat hard, and Guerrero sets himself on the top rope and hits the Frog Splash which gets the three and he retains the title.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a solid title match which was also a solid opener for the show. Punk was really coming into his own by this point and was continuing to grow, and as stale and boring as he was by this point Guerrero could still go in the ring and they had good chemistry and put on a solid outing. Again, Guerrero winning the title seemed to come out of nowhere though it made sense with the storyline he had going on with Edge at the time, and if anything it says something about the ECW roster that a Smackdown wrestler won the title. After Punk had dominated the last few weeks, it seemed fairly obvious he would lose here though I’m shocked he lost clean, and now it seems clear that he may not be in ECW much longer especially after WM. The crowd was into the match and Punk, but honestly Guerrero did get a decent pop when he won which shocked me. Guerrero retains the title over a game Punk and both men move on.

Final Grade: **3/4