The Guerrero name is synonymous with professional wrestling. Whether it was Gori, Mando, Chavo, Hector or, of course, Latino Heat himself, Eddie Guerrero. 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.
Life after WCW & Rehab
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.
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.
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. The highlight of which is himself, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk in a Triple Threat Match for IWA-MS. All 3 weren’t signed for the WWF/E at the time and is considered a dream match.
Triumph & Tragedy in the WWE
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.
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.
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.
Champion of the World
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.
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.
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.
– By Jimmy Wheeler