This Friday, November 13 will mark the 10th anniversary of Eddie Guerrero’s death. I remember finding out when I was tuning into watch TNA’s Genesis Pay Per View that evening and the beginning of the show started with a black screen that read, “Tonight’s show is dedicated to the memory of Eddie Guerrero.” I was stunned, I couldn’t believe it. I had just seen him on TV a couple of nights prior. It was another case of a great talent in the wrestling world leaving us far too early. But as the past 10 years have flown by, Eddie’s presence is still very much alive amongst the WWE and most importantly Eddie’s fans.
I know this may sound a tad insensitive, but I’ve caught myself saying on a number of occasions, I think I miss Eddie most of all. Not that I don’t miss the other wrestlers who have passed away prematurely, not at all. I think of them all from time to time. But with Eddie it was personality, along with his in ring work and the fact he was still at the top of his game that for him to be taken away so suddenly, it just seemed to hurt that much more.
You can’t argue the fact that Eddie left such an indelible impression on the wrestling world as so many fans see how he greatly influenced many of the established and new stars in the business today. Every time I see a frog splash, I think of Eddie. Ironically he put that move into his repertories after the sudden passing of his close friend and former tag team partner Art Barr who used the frog splash as his finisher. When we see wrestlers today going for multiple suplexes, I immediately think of Eddie’s three amigos. We even recently saw at the Hell in a Cell pay per view where Kofi Kingston used Eddie’s old “fake getting hit with a chair” skit, only this time using New Day’s trombone, to try and get the referee to disqualify Bubba Ray Dudley.
Eddie was the youngest son of the legendary Gory Guerrero, who was the promoter of the El Paso NWA territory after a successful career as one of the top Lucha Libre stars in North America. Eddie’s older brothers, Chavo, Mando and Hector, all had very successful careers both in singles and tag team competition. But, times were beginning to change in the wrestling world as the decade of the 90’s kicked off, and the Guerrero name started to fade into the background. However, as we embarked on a new generation of wrestler, the Guerrero legacy was entrenched even more in the annals of wrestling history, as Eddie Guerrero unleashed to the world true Latino Heat!
Since there was a 13 year age difference between Eddie and the next youngest of his brothers Hector, Eddie was able to watch his father and brothers wrestle night in and night out giving him an advantage seen by not many of his peers. While it’s true that the Hart’s, Von Erich’s, Funk’s, Windham’s and other wrestling families all had that same advantage, but it was the rare combination of Lucha Libre technique combined with the other styles that Eddie was able to watch and learn from at such a tender age, that gave him a wrestling education unlike any other.
Eddie’s first big wrestling run came in the legendary AAA promotion in Mexico in 1994. It was here that Eddie paired with and later feuded with El Hijo del Santo. It was in AAA that Eddie also paired with Art Barr forming the team of La Pareja del Terror (The Pair of Terror) who are still to this day considered one of the most hated tag teams in Mexican wrestling history. During his time in AAA, Eddie also wrestled successfully in New Japan as the second incarnation of Black Tiger.
In 1995 as Paul Heyman was quickly trying to acquire talent for ECW, Eddie was signed for the fledgling promotion alongside his good friend Dean Malenko where the two had a series of epic matches, which showed that ECW was more than just chair shots to the head. During Eddie’s brief stint with the company, he also had another memorable feud with 2 Cold Scorpio for the ECW Television Championship. Eddie’s great matches in ECW caught the attention and pocketbook of Eric Bischoff in WCW, leading him to sign with the company and giving him his first chance at major stardom.
While Eddie’s WCW run was frustrating for him at times, as it was for many of his friends including Dean Malenko, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, it allowed him to showcase his talents against some of the top wrestlers in the world on a major platform. Eddie would go on to win both the prestigious WCW United States Championship and the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Along the way he was putting on great matches against Jericho and Malenko as well as Ultimo Dragon, Konnan and Rey Mysterio Jr. Eddie also had a rather humorous feud with his nephew Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Despite his popularity and success, Eddie had a tumultuous relationship with WCW president Eric Bischoff over being underutilized. As time dragged on for Guerrero in WCW with a number of bad story lines, he decided to leave WCW and sign with the WWF in 2000.
Eddie, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko showed up on WWF TV in the clique named the Radicalz. Soon afterwards, Eddie would branch off on his own and became smitten with WWF Women’s Champion contender Chyna, who he referred to as his Mamacita. Thus, Latino Heat was born! This combination allowed us to see the funny side of Eddie as he gave hysterical promos over his love of Chyna.
As the years went by in WWF, Eddie continued to reach new pinnacles of success and popularity working both as a heel and babyface. Eddie would go on to win the Intercontinental Title twice before aligning himself with Chavo Jr. and forming the team of Los Guererros. Again it was an opportunity to see Eddie’s humorous personality. There were a series of vignettes shown with Eddie and Chavo proudly proclaiming their mantra of “We lie, we cheat, and we steal, but at least we’re honest about it.” The duo and the promos were an instant hit with the fan base and Los Guerreros would soon capture the WWE Tag Team Championship at Survivor Series in 2002.
After Los Geurreros temporarily dissolved, Eddie went on to have memorable matches involving the US Championship with the likes of Chris Benoit and John Cena. Shortly thereafter, Eddie became a double champion as Los Guerreros reunited and reclaimed the WWE Tag Team Championship by defeating The World’s Greatest Tag Team.
It was this string of success, combined with his popularity with the fans that Eddie was vaulted to the number one contender’s spot for Brock Lesnar’s coveted WWE Heavyweight Championship. This feud culminated in an amazing match at 2004’s No Way Out pay per view, with Eddie defeating Brock and becoming the WWE Heavyweight Champion. Not to be outdone by his battles with Lesnar, next on Guerrero’s plate was another spectacular feud with Kurt Angle which resulted in Eddie defeating Angle and retaining his title in one of my favorite WrestleMania matches ever. During Guerrero’s rise to the top as well as his run as champion, Smackdown’s popularity rivaled that of RAW, which we all know is a rarity.
Eddie would ultimately lose his title in controversial fashion to JBL after a lengthy feud. Even though he had dropped the title, Guerrero was still heavily involved as a main event wrestler. He tangled the with likes of Kurt Angle again, had a long family matter based storyline with Rey Mysterio surrounding Rey’s son Dominick and his final main feud against Batistia.
Soon thereafter the wrestling world lost Eddie Guerrero, just as both his personal and professional life were at their peak. The tribute that was held on the Monday Night RAW following Eddie’s death was one of the most emotional nights of wrestling in history. Eddie’s presence was still felt strongly by WWE fans as his widow Vickie would become a regular on the WWE roster. With every “EXCUSE ME” that Vickie would screech you couldn’t help but think of Eddie.
When we reflect on the career of Eddie Guerrero, it was one that was filled with peaks and valleys yet in the end left a mark on the wrestling world that will be remembered forever. His amazing in ring skils, his legendary matches and his signature lines of “Mamacita”, “I Lie, I Cheat, I Steal” and “Latino Heat” will always remain in our hearts. Thanks so much for the memories Eddie, we miss you very, very much!
What was your favorite Eddie Guerrero match? Mine was the hair vs. hair tag team match he and Art Barr had against El Hijo del Santo and Octagon at the When Worlds Collide PPV. What promos of Eddie’s did you find funniest? Without a doubt for me it was the Los Guerreros vignettes. Who would you have liked to seen Eddie wrestle but didn’t? I would have loved to have seen him in a feud with Shawn Michaels, but for some reason it never happened. Could you imagine the promo battles between those two? Finally, what was your favorite Eddie moment? For me, it was his defeat of Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania XX.