I want to apologize for not having much new material posted this week. There wasn’t much time to write this week, and when there was, I didn’t feel like it. It was just a very, very sad week for wrestling fans.
I thought about Eddy every morning, all day, and every night when I went to sleep. I watched both Raw and SmackDown tribute shows, and it seems most of you did, too. We cried a lot this week, and re-ran our favorite Guerrero memories through our heads over and over again. It is now Sunday night, hours before the deadline for updating this site, and all I’ve written is these two paragraphs. It’s hard to believe that Eddy Guerrero isn’t here anymore, and it’s taking a lot of time to get over it.
The clock is ticking away on our deadline, so I thought we’d just run through some of our top 10 Eddy career highlights. It’ll be quick and fun, as this is the week we should look back and smile at the man who gave us so much entertainment. Last week was the crying week, so let’s let this week be the pleasant week. Eddy always lightened up the room with his smile, so let’s do the same.
“Lie, Cheat, & Steal” with Chavo Guerrero Jr.
At a time when tag team wrestling was dead, Chavo and Eddy Guerrero lit the wrestling world on fire and became the best tag team in the world. Before SmackDown became the Thunder-like awful show it is today, Eddy & Chavo were a real treat to watch both inside the ring and out.
Their vignettes were hilarious, as E&C (didn’t we used to call Edge & Christian that??) harassed neighbors and golfers as they lied, cheated, and stole their way to becoming the top draws on SmackDown. They also had some stellar matches with the other great tag team at the time, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas (why are all the great tag teams broken up as soon as they become great?). Rey Mysterio Jr and Edge also provided some tag team competition, and the results were some great matches for us wrestling fans.
They will go down as one of the most underrated, unheralded tag teams of this decade. Eddy was awesome as usual, but it was Chavo who stepped up to the plate and proved how good he really is as well. It was during this time that Eddy caught fire as a babyface, and it cannot be overlooked.
The Ladder Match with RVD
I don’t know what week it was, or even what year it was. All I remember is that Eddy had a ****+ ladder match with RVD on Raw. His sunset flip off the ladder was a thing of beauty and one of the most awesomely timed high spots ever. I think this was around 2001, before Eddy was fired, but I could be wrong. If you never saw it, or even if you did, go watch it again. Now.
Eddy was officially “WWF-isized” when he was paired with Chyna in 2000. At the time, Chyna was one of the most over stars in WWE, and she was paired with a guy several inches shorter than she was. WWE was at its peak, both financially and aesthetically. This was probably Eddy’s biggest break ever, and he got a chance to show his personality in addition to his wrestling ability.
As a career highlight, it’s not near the top. It was fun for awhile, but Eddy was too talented for the role. More importantly, his demons were hitting him hard during this time period, and it cost him his job. Nevertheless, most casual fans remember it vividly, so that’s why we ranked it at #8,
After many years of trying, Eddy finally made it to WWE. And he didn’t come alone.
The jump of Eddy, Benoit, Malenko, and Saturn from WCW to WWE was unlike every other jump in history. Why? Because in the middle of a bitter wrestling war, WCW let 4 guys out of their contract and allowed them to jump directly to the competition. And these weren’t 4 normal guys, they were the backbone of the company.
WWE welcomed them with open arms and pushed them to the top of the cards, with the exception of some inexplicable jobs they did in main events in their first weeks. At the time, they did not fit in with the WWE style because they lacked color and personality, not to mention the obvious size they lacked.
The four guys drew a huge quarter hour rating when they debuted out of the audience, and some high ratings thereafter. The impact of the jump killed WCW, and it was the start of Eddy and Benoit as headliners for the first time in this country. Every wrestling fan alive saw the debut and remembers it fondly. Without a doubt, it was a pivotal move in each guy’s career.
Halloween Havoc ’97 Against Rey Mysterio Jr.
Perhaps the best match in post-’89 WCW history was Eddy’s match against Rey Jr. at Havoc in Las Vegas, NV. It was mask vs. title, and it epitomized the hot undercard action in WCW in 1997. The theory that fans care about storylines and not action was shattered, as the crowd was hot for all the action and the match got over huge.
The negative part is that the company didn’t do anything with the momentum of the match. But that is the story of WCW and the reason WCW is no longer here.
If you haven’t seen this match, get a copy of it.
The Rey Mysterio/Dominic Custody Feud
The angle with Eddy and Rey this year, which carried SmackDown for much of the year, was definitely controversial. Some fans loved it, but most hated it. I thought it was somewhere in between. Some of the segments were impossible to take your eyes off of, and much of the audience agreed with me because it drew spectacular ratings. But the storyline was all too real in some ways, and I pity Dominic if he ever gets teased one day (if he already hasn’t).
In the ring, Eddy vs. Rey was surprisingly disappointing. The problem was that Eddy was so entertaining as a heel, and Rey was portrayed as something of a sissy in the storyline. But they had half a dozen major TV matches during the year, and with all those chances, it was disappointing they never churned out that classic they are capable of. Then again, both guys are banged up, and this isn’t 1997 anymore. They did about as good a job as they could have, and both men’s family members were absolutely tremendous in their on-air roles. It was a ratings success, so it served its purpose. And it proved what an effective television draw Eddy was, and that will be a big part of his legacy when people look back years from now.
Eddy Wins the WWE Title from Brock Lesnar
I kick myself for not going to this match, as it was held at the nearby Cow Palace in San Francisco. The fans in attendance were so ready for it, and the pop was legendary. It has to rank as one of the most memorable moments in the very long history of the Cow Palace. The media ignored it, but what else is new. The fans loved it, and we’ll never forget it.
WWE deserves a lot of credit for taking the belt off Guerrero a few months later. Eddy couldn’t handle the pressure, and even if business was good, he would’ve caved in. In many ways, Eddy couldn’t handle success. Had they kept the belt on him and pressured him, it is very possible Eddy would’ve self destructed. Thank goodness that never happened.
This win, though, made for a great highlight reel moment. It was replayed heavily on TV last week, and it was the biggest moment of his career.
The Malenko-Guerrero Classic
Wrestling fans all over the world stood up and took notice of ECW after the reputation Eddy’s matches with Dean Malenko garnered in short order.
In 1995, ECW was on the MSG Network and I happened to be living in New York at the time, going to school. We’d gather ’round the TV and watch this feud, and were blown away. It remains some of the best television in wrestling history.
The matches were so good that Kevin Sullivan saw to it that Eric Bischoff sign these guys to WCW, among others. Eddy’s career can be traced to this match. You could trace it to AAA, but I think Paul Heyman would’ve hired Eddy even if he hadn’t been a hot commodity with AAA. Heyman knew talent, and Eddy was talent with a capital T.
The Eddy Guererro Tribute Shows
The 11/14/05 Raw was among the most emotional TV moments ever, and one I will never forget. I saw it first thing Tuesday morning, and watched it in bed while my wife got ready for work. I cried the whole time. The same thing happened on Friday with SmackDown. I will treasure those shows forever.
Eddy Invades San Jose, CA with AAA
I want to share my favorite Eddie Guerrero memory. I’m one of the very few wrestling fans in the United States who was lucky enough to have had the privilege of seeing Eddy and Art Barr perform together during the height of the AAA promotion during their West Coast swing in 1993. I will cherish that memory for a lifetime, because you simply cannot comprehend how over they were in the building that night in San Jose, CA. This was like the Sheik, Freebirds, and Freddie Blassie in their primes. Just countless cups of beer thrown into the ring, and you could feel the hate in the air all around you. It was surreal driving just a few minutes from my house and entering a totally different world, with 5,000 screaming fans beating down the door to get in.
Keep in mind that during 1993, it was rare for a WWE house show to draw 5,000 people, and it was not even in the realm of possibility for WCW to draw that. The crowd was 99% Hispanic, and to this day it is the best house show I’ve ever attended. Eddie was a huge part of that night (as were a teenage Rey Mysterio and Konnan), and while the local media will undoubtedly ignore his death, nothing can ever take away those memories from the 5,000 lucky people who got to be there that night. We love you, Eddie. Thank you for everything you ever did for us.