On This Day in Pro Wrestling

On This Day: Eddie Guerrero Passes Away

Anyone who knows me knows my love for Eddie Guerrero. I know that in the wrestling world it is very difficult to look at a performer and say, “This person is the greatest to ever do it”, but to me, Eddie Guerrero encompasses everything you look for in a professional wrestler.

Wrestling was in Eddie’s blood. In wrestling, you hear about the Hart’s, the Von Erich’s, the Anoa’i Family but when it comes to Lucha Libre, the Guerrero name is what you hear first. Gory Guerrero, the patriarch of the Guerrero Family, is known as the early pioneers of Lucha Libre wrestling. Gory married Herlinda Llanes and together they would have four boys and two girls, all of the boys would go on to be professional wrestlers. Eddie would be the youngest child but definitely the most well known.

Eddie began his career in 1987 for CMLL as Mascara Magica until his departure in 1992. Eddie would go on to AAA, mostly known for his Tag Team work with El Hijo Del Santo as the team Pareja Automatica. Guerrero would later turn on Hijo and align himself with Art Barr to form La Pareja del Terror, one of the most hated teams during that time along with their stable Los Gringos Locos.

In 1993, Eddie would win the ’96 Best of Super Juniors Tournament under the Black Tiger II gimmick.

In 1995, ECW Owner Paul Heyman took notice to Guerrero’s talents and brought him into the company. He would go on to have a competitive feud with Dean Malenko. The feud was so good that when Eddie and Dean would both leave together for WCW, their final encounter in ECW would end with the crowd chanting, “Please don’t go!”

In 1995 Guerrero would help put the Cruiserweight Division on the map for WCW making it one of the more exciting segments for WCW programming. Guerrero would go on to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship two times and the United States Championship one time.

In 2000 Eddie would leave WCW alongside Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko. The group would be known as The Radicalz, the group of men from that “other company” who were in the crowd as ticket-paying customers coerced into attacking WWE talent after a scuffle in the crowd. Unfortunately, this run with WWE would not be long-lived as he would be released by the company in 2001 after a run-in with the law and issues with pain medication.

Here’s Eddie wrestling on Ring of Honor on their very first event:

Guerrero returned to WWE in 2002 and was immediately thrust into an Intercontinental Championship feud with Rob Van Dam. Over the years we would see Guerrero develop into one of the best in wrestling. Eddie’s wrestling skill was never known to be anything less than stellar but during this time he would develop his “Lie, Cheat, and Steal” gimmick. Eddie would cheat on his matches when the referee wasn’t looking and make it seem like his opponent was the one doing the cheating. It was wrong, but Eddie made it so damn funny.

In 2004 Guerrero would win a fifteen man over the top rope Battle Royale on an episode of SmackDown to be declared the #1 Contender for Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship. The match would happen at No Way Out in California in front of Eddie’s family.

After feuds with Kurt Angle and JBL over the title heading into 2005.

Guerrero had a short stint as a heel but it was made famous by the “I am your Papi” storyline. Guerrero would slowly transition into a heel leaving his friend and Tag partner Rey Mysterio high and dry. Eddie would go on to proclaim that he is the biological father of Rey Mysterio’s son Dominic.

The stint as a villain on WWE programming would be short-lived as Guerrero would revive his friendship with Batista. Guerrero realized how far he had fallen since losing the WWE Championship and decided that he didn’t need to ostracize his friends because of this.

On November 11, 2005, Guerrero would have his final match for WWE in a winning effort against Mr. Kennedy on an episode of SmackDown. Sadly two days later he was discovered in his hotel room unresponsive. It was determined that Guerrero passed because of heart failure due to an unknown underlying issue with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. He was 38 years old.

When I think of Eddie Guerrero I think of all the times he would lie, cheat, and steal. It was wrong and dastardly but Eddie’s reaction when he knew he got over using his tricks made it so you couldn’t hate the guy. He lived to entertain. He lived to make people smile. He succeeded in doing so all the while dazzling the WWE Universe with expert, technical wrestling technique. Eddie Guerrero was the total package when it came to being a pro wrestler. There would never be another like him and his legacy will live on forever. Viva La Raza.


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