Badseed's Bottomline #344
Remembering Eddie Guerrero
Forget football this Thanksgiving Week. Let wrestling be the sport you enjoy. Badseed's Bottomline explodes with three installments and in keeping with the books bonanza on the rest of www.g-pop.net, there is even a section allowing fans who want to get between the ropes, to do it all by putting their nose between a book. After reading this story remembering Eddie Guerrero, click on the links (more will be added as I put them up) for your enjoyment. Until next time, keep it in the ring.
It’s a sad day in wrestling when you watch someone whose career you followed extensively pass away much too soon before his time.
In the past, I have written columns stating that I only felt bad for Owen Hart, since his death was no fault of his own. So many wrestlers were dying or becoming ill while taking steroids or doing drugs. I just couldn’t feel bad for them. They knew what they were going wrong. They had the same education as me about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Wrestling may be a tough business, but many of these stars were dying and had been making so much more than I make in terms of money, and it bothered me to see these guys pass away because they came upon hard times, when I always manage to get through with the small amount I get each week. Drugs and alcohol are not an option for me and therefore I cannot see why they would be for anyone else.
So, I became so upset with so many people crying when they discovered so-and-so dead of a drug overdose. I know so many people who died of drug overdoes. To me, they quit on life and I show them no remorse. Before you put me in the same category as the fool on ESPN Radio, allow me to finish. I add some wrestlers to the list after Owen: Hawk, Chris Candido and Eddie Guerrero (Click Here for Another Great Story About Eddie Guerrero from the Past That is New to the G-Pop Network).
To me, these wrestlers are not the same as the ones I just discussed. Hawk found religion and seemed to have gotten his life back in order when he passed away. It was just a little too late, but it is never too late to try and change and be forgiven for your past mistakes. Chris Candido really seemed to have kicked the habit and was well on his way to getting things back in order when a freak accident led to his death. Candido’s death saddened me, because it seemed even more unfair than anyone else’s. Having announced some of his matches for USA Pro Wrestling, I actually met the guy and he seemed like a good person. And then there is Eddie Guerrero.
You have to be an ass for chastising drug abusers and not applaud those who turn their lives around. Eddie Guerrero was four years clean and sober. He was not quitting on life. He was living it. He turned to religion, as I have done myself, and dedicated himself to entertaining the fans and being there for his wife and kids. He deserved the second chance he fought so hard to obtain and Eddie was taking full advantage of it. He hit rock bottom, he admitted his mistakes and he worked harder than most wrestlers until he was a world champion and one of the most popular wrestlers alive today. Forget Cinderella Man; The Life and Times of Eddie Guerrero should be one of the most inspirational movies ever.
I have followed the Guerrero family for some time. I knew of Chavo Sr., but I remember seeing Hector Guerrero wrestle in the old NWA, which I watched as a young kid on U68 every Monday and Friday nights at 7 p.m. I think I even remember seeing Eddie Guerrero wrestle on an episode of NWA/WCW World Wide Wrestling before his first big tour with the company. Eddie Guerrero brought a style of wrestling with him that many were not accustomed to. His frog splash amazed me, but when I first saw him wrestle in WCW (I had yet to see his famous matches from ECW), I just didn’t know what to make of him. He was a hell of a wrestler, but there was no charisma; nothing to get me to cheer him on and then they turned him heel and the rest was history.
Guerrero helped make the WCW cruiserweight division. His work with Rey Mysterio, Ultimo Dragon and Dean Malenko was a reason to watch WCW; not Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash or Scott Hall. Fans must remember that many turned in because of people like Eddie Guerrero, who was forgotten about when too much emphasis was put on the New World Order. Eddie remained in the spotlight with the Latino World Order, but a horrible car accident almost claimed his life. He really did cheat death not too long ago and fought his way back into a WCW ring. However, he came back too soon and his addictions to drugs and alcohol became worse. No one saw anything. No one seemed to know. I could not tell from watching his matches. Guerrero was just a great in-ring performer.
Guerrero was also a loyal friend who jumped ship with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn to form the Radicals in the WWE. It was one of the biggest wrestling stories ever and it helped put the nail into the coffin of WCW. And on his second night with the WWE, he promptly injured himself in a freakish accident involving the frog splash he had done so many times before. Guerrero actually did the impossible and became more over than any of his Radicals counterparts while injured. His Latino Heat gimmick started to take off. His on-air relationship with Chyna was entertaining. The way he won the IC title from Chyna fit his later persona of lying, cheating and stealing. His facial expressions were gold. Eddie Guerrero understood this business and WWE gave him the stage to make himself a star, but strangely, it was his drug and alcohol addiction that helped get him there.
Guerrero would leave the WWE. He was let go and his story became public knowledge. Guerrero’s life was falling apart, but with help, he slowly got back on the road to recovery. I remember traveling to the Elks Lodge to see his debut match for USA Pro Wrestling against Devon Storm (it could have been Julio Dinero – not sure) and it was crowded. He walked through the crowd of fans waiting to get inside and he bumped me and several other people and he was so apologetic and cool a person; you couldn’t help but like the guy. I never thought his matches on the independent circuit would catapult him to the WWE again. How many times does that really happen? Usually when you are dropped from a promotion and go on the indy scene, you do not come back, but then Eddie debuted on Raw, attacking RVD and setting up an exciting series of matches over the IC title, making the belt something worth fighting for.
Guerrero fought the demons and was back in the WWE and he was slowly getting bigger and better. His matches were always talked about as being among the best. As a heel, battling Edge, he was cheered for his courage and fighting spirit. His tag-team wars with Edge and Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit were legendary. The WWE couldn’t help but turn him face. It was what the fans wanted and no matter how hard they tried to make him a heel again, it didn’t work. The fans always rallied behind Eddie Guerrero and the WWE took notice. They gave him the U.S. title and then gave him the biggest shot in his life when they put him up against Brock Lesnar for the World title. I wasn’t sure if he would win the belt and when he did, I popped like a girl. He did it. He fought so hard for that moment in real life that the drama in the ring became real, too. The moment at Wrestlemania where he and Chris Benoit were together in the ring; each holding their world titles in the air; it was a moment that will never be forgotten. Eddie Guerrero climbed the mountain after falling to the bottom and he did it with pride. This was an inspirational star that no fan would ever forget.
Guerrero lost the belt and that totally sucked, but the fans still loved him and the WWE decided to test that by making him heel once more. It worked, but only because Eddie Guerrero knew how to pull it off. He did what seemed impossible. This was more important than a world title. Eddie Guerrero proved that he could do anything in a WWE ring. The fans hated him during the whole feud with Rey Mysterio. And then, they loved him once again when he pretended to be a friend to Batista. Where was that angle supposed to go? Was he truly a friend? Did the WWE just give up and allow him to be a face once more? Who knows? We will never know? Eddie Guerrero’s life ended way too soon and his last WWE moment will be backstage with Batista discussing the chair shot he received from Mr. Kennedy. However, that will not be all we remember of Eddie Guerrero. There are too many memories to sort through; too many accomplishments; too many great moments. Eddie Guerrero was a true inspiration to all of us. Life will bring you down. Get back on your feet and live for the moment once more. Eddie Guerrero had so much more to give, but his life had so much meaning. We will miss you Eddie. Wrestling will never be the same.
For more of Badseed's Bottomline check out our Archive!