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Disclaimer: Let me start by saying that doing a article on Eddie Guerrero’s career was something that I planned to do eventually but in light of the completely false comments this week by someone who claimed he was only a B+ player and was only considered great because of his death, I felt that I needed to defend Eddie’s honor and decided to move up this article. Now I will not name or list the person’s name that made the negative comments because I refuse to give this person publicity. I will say the comments were either made by a troll trying to piss off the IWC and Eddie’s peers or just someone that is ignorant that doesn’t know what they are talking about. Saying someone is great is subjective in most cases but no intelligent fan could legitimately deny how great Eddie Guerrero was in that ring.
Now there have been many great performers over the years in the wrestling business but very few can truly be considered one of the greatest of all time and a once in a generation performer and Eddie Guerrero was certainly one of them. Professional wrestling was in Eddie’s blood, as the youngest of the legendary Gory Guerrero, he witnessed his father and his older brothers perform and there was no question that Eddie wanted to wrestle too. He was just a kid but him and his nephew Chavo, who was only three years younger than Eddie, were allowed to wrestle each other during intermission at Gory Guerrero’s shows.
Eddie would wrestle in Mexico for CMLL and AAA under a mask as Mascara Magica. In AAA, however, Eddie would remove his mask on purpose on TV, which was kind of unheard of because typically a luchador would only unmask if they lost a match with that being the stipulation. Eddie would team with Art Barr to form a tag team called La Pareja del Terror or translated, The Pair of Terror. Together the duo became one of the most hated tag teams in lucha libre history. Along with Barr, Konnan, Chicano Power, and Madonna’s Boyfriend, Guerrero formed Los Gringos Locos (The Crazy Americans), a villainous stable. It was during this time in Mexico that Eddie caught the eye of NJPW and Paul Heyman, who wanted Eddie to come to ECW.
Eddie would go on to perform for both promotions in the mid-90s. In Japan, however, he would wrestle under a mask, going by the name Black Tiger II. In 1996, he would win the best of the super juniors tournament. It was in Japan, where he would meet the man that would become one of his best friends in the business, Chris Benoit. Their careers would be tied together for years to come, In ECW, Eddie is best known for his series of matches with Dean Malenko. Another man that Eddie would become best friends with and whose careers would stay tied together. Their series of matches especially their final 2 out of 3 falls match, is not only one of the greatest matches in ECW’s history but one of the greatest matches in wrestling history. This match proved that ECW was more than just hardcore matches that required weapons because this match required none of those things. The hardcore South Philadelphia crowd in the ECW Arena, was fully into the match and hated to see both men leave ECW to go to the very much hated WCW. Keep in mind, at that time, the fans especially of ECW, was very much a us vs them mentality and hated WWF and even more so WCW for stealing their talents as they saw it.
WCW President, Eric Bischoff, wanted both men along with many other future ECW luchadores for WCW’s cruiserweight division. Eddie would have feuds with Ric Flair, DDP, Konnan, and Dean Malenko over the U.S. Championship.
However, the match that Eddie is probably best remembered for in WCW, is his now iconic Halloween Havoc 1997 match with Rey Mysterio Jr., in a title vs mask match. Originally, the plan was for Eddie to win and retain the championship and for Rey to lose his mask. Rey didn’t want to lose his mask and Bischoff refused to change his mind despite Rey’s pleas. Eddie however, understood the importance of the lucha mask and the fact that Rey was also a second generation lucha performer like himself, went to bat for Rey and was able to convince Bischoff to change his mind and Rey would go over. The match itself is arguably the greatest match in WCW’s history for that time period of the company and one of the greatest matches of all time. It is a match that even if you are not a wrestling fan you’d watch it because you could not believe what these men were pulling off in this match. Mysterio has gone on record and saying Eddie is the only person I could of had a match like that with and no one could match Eddie.
Despite all his success and poularity, WCW management never truly saw the talent that they had with Eddie. Eddie like many wrestlers in WCW were frustrated at never being given a chance to be main event stars in WCW. These frustrations came to a head when Eddie confronted Bischoff requesting that either push me or give me more money. Bischoff responded by allegedly throwing coffee at Guerrero (however, in his autobiography, Guerrero states that Bischoff accidentally knocked his coffee off the table and that it was a complete accident that he was hit).
Using this incident, Eddie cut on of his most iconic promos, demanding Bischoff release him from his contract on a live episode of Nitro, which can be seen here. Guerrero then left the company for months, angry at Bischoff for what he had done. Guerrero later returned to WCW, leading to the belief that maybe Guerrero’s angry speeches against Bischoff were a work (Guerrero later confirmed it to be a worked shoot). Eddie would lead a latino version of the nWo, in the LWO. The purpose of the stable was that WCW refused to push latino stars and that there was a glass ceiling placed on all of them. Despite likely being booked as a joke, Eddie got the stable over and is still fondly remembered to this day. To the point that there has been recent talk of possibly forming a version of it in WWE today. Eddie was also a part of a stable with Konnan and Rey Mysterio, the Filthy Animals. Eddie was incredibly unhappy in WCW and so were some of his other friends. So they secretly made an agreement that if they left for the WWF that they would do it together and that they would make it clear to the WWF that it was a package deal and that they had to take all of them. WWF agreed to these terms and the four of them: Eddie, Benoit, Malenko and Perry Saturn all quit WCW together and were soon shocking the world as they appeared ringside on Raw. The most shocking part was WCW let them go without no compete clauses and Benoit was the WCW World Champion. They would be called the Radicalz on WWF TV.
Bruce Pritchard has said on his podcast, that the one talent of the group that McMahon saw the most potential in and the one he truly wanted of the group was Eddie. Sadly, Eddie would get injured during his very first match with the company. Eddie stated that he was specifically told don’t worry about your spot it will be here when you get back and it was. Eddie would soon return to be at the side of his partners in the Radicalz.
Eddie would soon be paired with Chyna and the two of them created some of the most entertaining segments in WWF history. As Eddie would flirt with Chyna and she wanted nothing to do with him. He of course eventually won her over and the character of Latino Heat was born. The audience loved Eddie and he would go on to with the European and IC Championships during this run. Eddie would have feuds and memorable matches with Chyna, Jericho, Benoit, X-Pac and the Hardy Boyz just to name a few but soon Eddie’s personal demons would derail his career. The drug use became such a problem that the WWF did not want the liability and fired Eddie. At the same time, Eddie’s wife Vickie wanted Eddie out of the house. She loved Eddie but she could not see him kill himself. Like the WWF letting Eddie go and Vickie kicking Eddie out of the house, this eventually became a wakeup call for Eddie.
Eddie would get himself clean of drugs and would eventually win Vickie back and be given another chance by the WWE, after proving himself again on the independent scene. Eddie would make a shocking return and immediately begin a memorable feud with RVD over the IC Championship.
Eddie would eventually form a tag team with his nephew, Chavo, as Los Guerreros. The team would film iconic vignettes that got over the gimmick of they lie, they cheat and they steal. The team was beloved by the crowd despite their cheating ways. Eddie said if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying. They would go on to feud with everyone in the division and made SD’s tag division the best tag team division in the company. One of the most iconic spots that Eddie would do is this chair spot, where he would make the ref believe that his opponent hit him with the chair:
After proving himself to WWE Management, the decision was made to make Eddie the WWE Champion. However, to become the WWE Champion that would mean Eddie would have to defeat the monster Brock Lesnar. What would take place at No Way Out 2004, would be Eddie and Brock having one of the greatest matches of not only both men’s careers but one of the greatest matches of all time. The match is flawless and Eddie played the underdog perfectly and the crowd became completely unglued when Eddie beat Brock.
Vickie Guerrero has said multiple times that Brock loved Eddie and every time she sees him he tells her how much he misses him. Eddie would go on to defend the WWE Championship successfully in MSG at WrestleMania XX against Kurt Angle in another all time classic, with a very memorable finish. As Eddie tricked Angle by slipping out of his boot during Angle’s anklelock submission:
Eddie would go on to feud with the legendary Undertaker, Booker T., a rookie John Cena and JBL. Having memorable matches and feuds with all of them. They all have gone on record repeatedly saying how much they loved working with him. Eddie helped get John Cena and JBL over and both men have stated that they owe Eddie for their careers. Eddie would put JBL over and JBL would begin one of the longest WWE title reigns in the modern era.
Eddie would soon tag with Rey Mysterio and win tag team gold before Eddie turned on Rey and reigniting their feud. Eddie took the feud to a place no one expected it to go by going full soap opera claiming to be the real father to Rey’s son Dominik. Eddie would film a series of vignettes with Dominik showing how conveying and manipulative he was. This feud would lead to this classic match up at Summerslam 2005.
After this feud Eddie began feuding with Batista over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, however, tragically Eddie passed away suddenly in a hotel room due to a massive heart attack on November 13, 2005. The entire wrestling world was in shock and grieved the loss of one of the greatest of all time. At that time, the only other tragic death that rocked the wrestling world in that way was Owen Hart and recently the sudden passing of Brodie Lee. It has been rumored that Eddie was supposed to beat Batista for the title and that year’s Wrestlemania was supposed to feature Eddie vs HBK for the first time ever. A match with Eddie and HBK, in my opinion could have been the greatest WM match of all time.
There is no doubt that Eddie brought out the best in every one of his opponents and there is no coincidence that Eddie was the difference maker because for many of the performers their matches with Eddie were some of if not the best matches some of these men would ever have with anyone. Like HBK, Eddie could make a bad match passable, a good match great and a great match legendary.
See the term greatest of all time is often thrown around a lot in wrestling and many people misuse it, thinking it only applies to the what the performer achieved by championships they won but it goes way deeper than that. See to truly be considered either the greatest or one of the greatest you need to have done all of the these things:
1) Be able to have a great match with absolute anyone by bringing the best out of your opponent
2) Be able regardless of winning or losing to make yourself and opponent more over than they were before the match
3) Connect with the audience that no matter whether you are a face or a heel that they care about the story you’re telling
4) Be able to get over as a face and a heel
5) Have iconic and classic matches that will stand the test of time
6) Be beloved and respected by your peers and the fans
7) Elevate the championships that you held
8) Draw money
9) Influence others
10) Leave a lasting impact on the industry
Eddie did all of these things and is one of the most beloved performers of all time by his peers and the fans. Anyone that had the honor and privilege to see Eddie Guerrero perform knows that they were truly witnessing a once in a generation performer. There will never be another performer like Eddie and to say anything less than Eddie was one of the GOATs is just plain wrong and ignorant and shows you really have no idea what you are talking about and you’re embarrassing yourself if you call Eddie anything less than a GOAT.
Lastly, Eddie’s influence can be felt from everyone from Andrade, Angel Garza, Humberto, Lucha Brothers and Santos Escobar just to name a few Latino performers today but Sasha Banks has stated repeatedly that Eddie was her inspiration to be in the business and has worn gear in tribute to Eddie. Bruce Pritchard said on his podcast that this match with Eddie and Brock, even got Vince emotional. Vince loved Eddie as a performer and a person, as Eddie’s wife Vickie, has said that Eddie and Vince had a father son relationship. Very few performers has Vince truly gotten close with over the years and Eddie was one of them. One of the most iconic pictures is Eddie holding the WWE Championship being greeted by Vince after his match with Brock:
Eddie’s sudden death led to WWE seriously taking steps in routine drug tests and checking heart health. Vickie said Vince bought the rights to Eddie’s name and likeness from her and to this day WWE continues to promote the legacy of Eddie with new action figures and video game appearances. After the controversy caused by the stupid comment this weekend, I saw this post and I could not agree more a life story movie on Eddie would be absolutely amazing and he would be a great choice to portray Eddie:
Thank you Eddie for hours of entertainment that you provided me as a fan and on behave of true fans everywhere you are a GOAT and you will never be forgotten.
- Asistencia Asesoría y Administración
- Cauliflower Alley Club
- Men’s Wrestling Award (2008) as part of The Wrestling Guerreros
- Extreme Championship Wrestling
- Hardcore Hall of Fame
- Class of 2015
- Independent Wrestling Association Mid-South
- Latin American Wrestling Association
- LAWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- New Japan Pro-Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Federation
- PWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Héctor Guerrero
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Comeback of the Year (1999)
- Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (2002, 2004)
- Stanley Weston Award (2005)
- Ranked No. 2 of the top 500 wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2004
- Ranked No. 81 of the top 500 wrestlers of the “PWI Years” in 2003
- Ranked No. 18 of the top 100 tag teams of the “PWI Years” with Art Barr in 2003
- World Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling All-Stars
- World Wrestling Association
- World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment
- WWE Championship (1 time)
- WWF European Championship (2 times)
- WWE United States Championship (1 time)
- WWF/WWE Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- WWE Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Chavo Guerrero (2), Tajiri (1) and Rey Mysterio (1)
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)
- WWE United States Championship Tournament (2003)
- 15-man SmackDown! Royal Rumble (2004)
- Eleventh Triple Crown Champion
- Sixth Grand Slam Champion
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Best on Interviews (2005)
- Feud of the Year (1994) Los Gringos Locos vs. AAA
- Feud of the Year (1995) vs. Dean Malenko
- Most Charismatic (2004, 2005)
- Tag Team of the Year (1994) with Art Barr as La Pareja del Terror
- Tag Team of the Year (2002) with Chavo Guerrero as Los Guerreros
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2006)