Editorial Columns

Viva La Raza: The Life and Times of Eddie Guerrero

Being that this month marks the ten year anniversary of Eddie winning what many people consider the biggest prize in all of wrestling, the WWE Championship, it seemed only right that we made him the Superstar of the Month.

It’s February, it’s time for WWE’s Elimination Chamber pay-per-view which means here at The Wrestling Mania it’s time for our Superstar of the Month. Last month I took a look at the career of the great Mae Young after she sadly passed away in January with a special career retrospective. This month it’s the turn of the late, great Eddie Guerrero.

The Guerrero name is synonymous with professional wrestling. Whether it was Gori, Mando, Chavo, Hector or, of course, Latino Heat himself, Eddie Guerrero. Being that this month marks the ten year anniversary of Eddie winning what many people consider the biggest prize in all of wrestling, the WWE Championship, it seemed only right that we made him the Superstar of the Month.

Anyone who ever saw Eddie in the ring walked away saying, “That man was made to do this,” and it’s no surprise growing up in a family where wrestling was what brought in the money. In a family that had one of the most recognizable names in Mexican wrestling and southern states of America. Hell, as a youngster he even got to step in the ring and entertain fans during the intermission of his father’s shows.

Eddie would wrestle in school growing up and go on to a collegiate level at New Mexico Highlands University. As soon as he had finished it would be back to his father’s promotion to begin his career which officially started in 1987. For much of his early years he’d team with his brothers Chavo and Mando. Although initially he actually teamed with El Matematico.

In May of 1989, he made his American television debut and wrestled a glorified squash match against Terry Funk:

By the end of the year, the date is not clear, with his aforementioned brothers he won his first gold when they picked up the WWA World Trio’s Championship. They lost it on July 28 of the same year. The brothers continued to team together after the loss though.

Eddy and his brothers in action in 1989:

He would continue wrestling with his brothers in fact until 1991. It was at the beginning of 1992 he started to don a mask and used the name Máscara Mágica. Under this guise Eddie won his first singles title, the WWA World Welterweight Championship. For the most part of these early years he’d been a member of the CMLL roster, the biggest company in Mexico at the time.

That was all going to change though in 1993, when Eddie jumped from CMLL to AAA and unmasked to reveal his true identity:

Together with El Hijo del Santo he formed the new version of La Pareja Atómica (The Atomic Pair), a team previously made up of their fathers. They stayed together for much of the year, but never really went anywhere and arguably the most important angle of Eddie’s young career would start by the end of the year.

La Pareja Atómica in Action:

In the winter months of 1993 Eddie Guerrero turned heel on El Hijo del Santo and formed a new alliance with Art Barr, known as La Pareja del Terror (The Pair of Terror). The new duo was an instant hit. The Mexican fans hated the team who hated Mexico and proclaimed their allegiance to the United States of America. Some people still state they were raised the ire of the Mexico population more than any other team in history.

Eventually they’d join forces with other Mexican stars such as Konnan and Chicano Power. Together the group would be known as Los Gringos Locos (The Crazy Americans). By July of 1994, Eddie and Art had picked up the AAA (IWC) World Tag-Team Championship when they defeated El Hijo del Santo & Octagon. The feud between Eddie, Art, Santo and Octagon came to a climax in November of 1994.

La Pareja del Terror Vs. El Hijo del Santo & Octagon – Hair Vs. Hair:

Shortly after the above match Art Barr passed away. The plan had been for Eddie and Art both go to ECW, unfortunately Eddie had to go on his own. It was at this time he added the Frog Splash to his repertoire in honor of Art. The fans of the extreme promotion loved Eddie’s styles and ate up everything he did in the ring. In 1995, Eddie would have two reigns with their television championship. His stay was only short though and by the end of August he had left for WCW.

Vs. Dean Malenko:

This whole time Eddie had also been making trips over to Japan. The first one in 1992. He received a lot of success in the land of the rising Sun. The majority of it coming from 1994 onward when he was given the character of Black Tiger II, evil version of Tiger Mask. He reached the climax of his achievements in Japan when he won the Best of the Super Junior’s Tournament in 1996. He defeated Jushin Thunder Liger in the finals.

Vs. Wild Pegasus:

Even though he debuted in WCW in 1995 and had a brief feud with Ric Flair in early 1996, it was not until the end of 1996 that he really started to do something in the companies story-lines, other than just entertaining the fans in fairly random matches. On December 29 he defeated Diamond Dallas Page in the finals of a tournament to crown the new United States Heavyweight Champion. He kept the title until March when he lost it to Dean Malenko.

His next title victory would not be until Fall Brawl when he defeated Chris Jericho for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. A title he would only hold until October of 1997 when he lost to Rey Mysterio Jr.. He would regain it around a month later though and hold unto it until the end of the year when he lost to Ultimo Dragon on the December 29 edition of Monday Night Nitro.

Vs. Chris Jericho:

Vs. Ultimo Dragon:

From there Eddie just toiled in the mid-card of WCW, drifting from feud to feud, including with Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Ultimo Dragon. Then he had a Brian Pillman like moment and aired his grievances with the way he was being booked on air and then disappeared from the company for a short period of time. All this ultimately led to Eddie forming the Latino World Order, the Mexican answer to the New World Order which had totally engulfed WCW by this point.

Eddie Guerrero’s Promo on Eric Bischoff:

The LWO is Formed:

The majority of the LWO’s time was spent trying to recruit Rey Mysterio Jr., just about the only Mexican star not in the group, into the fold. The angle would be cut short when Guerrero was in a car accident though. When he returned in 1999 he spent his time with the Filthy Animals group, which he founded with Rey Mysterio Jr. and Konnan. They had various feuds with other groups and were well liked by the fans, but again, they were just not going anywhere.

In January of 2000, Eddie finally got his release from WCW, something he had wanted for two years. By the end of the month Eddie would make his debut in the WWF as part of a group of men known as the Radicalz. The other three members would be very well known to Eddie, as he had worked in the same promotion as them on numerous occasions and had many classic matches with two of them. That group was known as the Radicalz, and the other three members were Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko.

Radicalz Debut:

He managed to severely injure his arm in his first match there though, forcing him
to appear purely in a ‘managerial’ type role to the other Radicalz until he healed up. Once he was ready to come back though, there was no seemingly no stopping Eddie on his rise to stardom. While feuding with Chris Jericho over the European Championship he’d end up involved with Chyna and the Latino Heat character would be born and he left the Radicalz.

Radicalz Vs. Rock & Mick Foley:

& Chyna Vs. Right to Censor:

His partnership/relationship with Chyna would carry him through 2000 and when he finally split from Chyna, turning heel, it would carry on into the early part of 2001 as he feuded with her. Also with their break it narrated a natural reformation of the Radicalz. Around this time, Eddie’s addiction to pain killers became noticeable and then later in the year he’d be arrested for drink driving and fired from the WWF.

Guerrero would get clean and start wrestling on the independent circuit, you have to assume he knew he was just buying time and getting into shape for an eventual return to the WWF. He wrestled for promotions such as ROH and IWA Mid-South.

Vs. Rey Mysterio Vs. CM Punk – Highlights:

Vs. Super Crazy:

In April 2002 Eddie did return to what was about to be called the WWE and he set to work on putting on the most entertaining matches possible every night. He showed off in great outings with Chris Benoit and Rob Van Dam. Until eventually forming the beloved tag-team of Los Guerreros with Chavo Jr.

Backstage Segment:

Vs. World’s Greatest Tag Team:

Eventually he’d move back to single’s competition and be back in the championship hunt as he feuded over the United States Championship. During this time he took the Lie, Cheat, and Steal mantra that he first started to quote with Chavo Jr. to new heights and continued to be entertaining in everything he did. The year of 2003 would see Eddie have a multitude of feuds including picking back up with Chavo Jr., which had started way back out in WCW and continued on and off in the WWE following the split of Los Guerreros.

Big Show Toilet Segment:

Vs. The Big Show:

In a move that a lot of people wanted, but I don’t know if many seen coming, after the closure of the feud with Chavo at the 2004 Royal Rumble, Eddie won a number one contenders battle royal for the WWE Championship. His opportunity was cashed in at No Way Out. Even more surprising than winning the battle royal, Eddie won the WWE Championship in what many felt was a deserved victory.

Vs. Brock Lesnar:

Immediately after No Way Out, Eddie entered into a feud with Kurt Angle, picking back up from Los Guerreos days going against Angle’s proteges. The two met at Wrestlemania XX where Eddie retained the title and then came out later in the night to have a special in ring celebration with Chris Benoit after he won the World Heavyweight Championship.

Vs. Kurt Angle:

Celebration with Chris Benoit:

For much of his reign Guerrero battled JBL in some of the most memorable matches of his career. The two put on intense, brutal and deeply personal contests as JBL campaigned against the Mexican born champion and “other border hopping immigrants.” It would be JBL who took the title from Guerrero after a 133 day reign.

Vs. JBL:

Kurt Angle had actually cost Eddie Guerrero and the two naturally continued their feud from there. Once that story was through, Eddie floated around in good guy limbo for a while before finally turning heel and managing to make an angle even more personal than the JBL one had been. It all started with Eddie and Rey teaming together, before Eddie turned on Rey and said he had a secret about his former friend.

Eddie claimed that he was Rey’s son’s real father and would go into the summer of 2005. It all culminated when Eddie lost a ladder match to Rey Mysterio at Summerslam and in the process failed to gain custody of Rey’s son. They would meet one more time though in a cage match and on that occasion it would be Eddie who picked up the victory.

The next major story would be with Batista in which Eddie tried to gain repentance for his actions against Rey Mysterio earlier in the year. Batista had just embraced Eddie and accepted him as a friend when on November 13, 2005 Eddie Guerrero was found dead. The whole wrestling community mourned his loss and many superstars poured out their feelings about the beloved superstar.

Often a wrestler or a celebrity for that matter dies young and they are hoisted to levels of popularity that they would likely never have reached any other way, in the case of Eddie Guerrero, that’s not the case. He truly was one of the greatest performers of his time and earned every accolade ever placed next to his name. His legacy has lived on since the day he passed and it will continue to do so.

Full Eddie Guerrero RAW Tribute Show:

– By Jimmy Wheeler

What are some of your favourite Eddie Guerrero matches and moments? Share them in the comments section below.

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  1. Pingback: Shawn Michaels - Mr WrestleMania: Superstar of the Month | TheWrestlingMania.com

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