Shortly after 8am this morning, Eddie Guerrero was found dead in his room in Minneapolis at the Marriott City Center at the age of 38. When Eddie Guerrero didn't answer his wake up call, his nephew and fellow WWE wrestler Chavo Guerrero Jr. called again. When no one answered, security opened the door to find Guerrero dead with his toothbrush in his mouth. The early belief is that Guerrero suffered heart failure. Shortly after Guerrero's body was removed from his hotel room, Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero Jr. were said to have visited his hotel room to say their goodbyes.
Eddie had appeared on television, wrestling Ken Kennedy and looking young and full of life, as recently as two days ago. His sudden death leaves the wrestling world numb, and in a state of shock.
In Tribute To... is a regular feature at The Pro-Wrestling Chronicle to celebrate the life and careers of those alive and deceased who have made a great impact on not just the wrestling business, but the fans that they have touched.
Eddie Guerrero is a wrestler who's work transcended the technicalities of simply putting together and executing a memorable wrestling match. Eddie was a man who fans loved. Not Hispanic fans, all fans. To love Eddie Guerrero was to love wrestling, and to love wrestling was to love Eddie Guerrero. Eddie wasn't a man who fans judged when he made mistakes, he was a man fans rooted for. They stuck by him. Eddie had a hard time being a "bad guy", because even when doing the most heinous of things inside the ring, fans would chant his name in tribute to him as a performer, and as a man.
Eddie has made mistakes, and he hasn't avoided them. He has faced them head on, worked hard to turn his life around, and then spoke honestly and apologetically about them in a way that made you respect him even more for it. He worked hard in the ring, whether he was on the first match or the last, and held himself accountable -perhaps too accountable- when he felt his matches could have been better. He took great pride in his work, great pride in his heritage, and great pride in his family, and Eddie Guerrero will be greatly missed by all of those who his career touched.
In Tribute To... Eddie Guerrero (1967-2005)
Eduardo Gori Guerrero Llanes came into this world on October 9, 1967 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Conceived by his 46 year old father Gory Guerrero, Eduardo was born with wrestling in his blood. Gory Guerrero, a 40 year veteran of the sport and legendary trainer by the time of his son's birth, was an early pioneer of lucha libre and became famous for his technical prowess and unique submission holds, including the Gory special and camel clutch that he invented. Many consider Guerrero to be pound for pound the greatest wrestler in the history of Mexico. Eduardo knew that he was destined to be a wrestler from a very young age.
Like the Hart Family to Canada and the Von Erich family to Texas, the Guerrero family was the most storied family in Mexican wrestling history and perhaps the greatest wrestling family ever. Eduardo, or Eddie as he would come to be known as, was the youngest of four brothers, and would follow the lead of brothers Chavo, Hector and Mando, phenomenal wrestlers who were loved and respected for their technical excellence and exciting styles.
Eddie Guerrero grew up in El Paso, Texas watching his older brothers work their magic in the ring in Mexico, The United States and Japan. As an amateur wrestler, Eddie was impressive enough to earn a scholarship to wrestler for the University of New Mexico. Eddie had his sights set on professional wrestling however. His father began training him in a ring in the backyard of their El Paso home. At the age of 19, Eddie Guerrero made his professional wrestling debut in Mexico for the EMLL promotion on September 18, 1987. In one of Eddie's first high profile matches, he teamed with the son of another legend, El Hijo del Santo, to defeat El Gladiator Jr. and El Dandy. Guerrero would soon capture the World Wrestling Association World Trios in Tijuana with older brothers Chavo and Mando on July 28, 1989. In late 1989, Terry Funk brought Eddie to an NWA taping in hopes of getting Eddie a job with the company, but Guerrero never relieved an offer despite putting on a great match.
In 1992, Eddie Guerrero was working as a singles wrestler, and captured his first title on his own, the WWA welterweight title, which he lost on August 29, 1992 to Piloto Suicida in Los Angeles. At this point, Eddie began wrestling under a mask as Mascara Magic, or Magic Mask, in both EMLL and the AAA promotion.
In 1993, Guerrero again began wrestling under his real name and his career began to take off. Eddie took his increasing star in Mexico to New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he competed in the Top of the Super Junior Heavyweights with wrestlers he would letter spend a lot of time with the United States, including Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and 2 Cold Scorpio. In 1994, Eddie was given the gimmick of Black Tiger, a foreign heel. As Black Tiger, Guerrero competed in the world famous Super J Cup in 1994, defeating TAKA Michinoku in the first round, and losing to Chris Benoit as Wild Pegasus in the second.
It was in AAA in 1994 that Eddie Guerrero really started to reach his potential in North America, and was ranked at 141 on Pro-Wrestling Illustrated's annual PWI 500. Guerrero reformed his tag team with El Hijo del Santo, the son of the legendary Santo, arguably the most popular regional wrestler ever. The duo, The Atomic Pair, reformed the duo that their fathers made into one of the most popular ever 35 years before.
And then one of the most infamous moments in Mexican wrestling history occurred. Eddie Guerrero, along with close friend behind the scenes Art Barr, turned on El Hijo del Santo in a betrayal that shocked and enraged AAA fans. Guerrero and Barr --the Pair of Terror as they were known-- became the most hated tag team in the history of Lucha Libre, as Eddie turned his back on Mexican heritage and began wearing stars and stripes, and waving the American flag. Eddie and Art Barr formed a stable called Los Gringos Locos with Konnan and Louie Spicolli. The faction became the most hated in lucha libre, and terrorized the technicos of AAA while setting business on fire in Mexico. At the first and only AAA pay-per-view, co-promoted by WCW, Guerrero and Barr lost a masks vs. hair match with El Hijo del Santa and Octagon, and both had their heads shaved after arguably one of the best tag team matches ever.
Barr and Eddie Guerrero were so impressive in losing that Paul Heyman of ECW came looking for the duo, and wanted to bring both into his upstart promotion of out Philadelphia to feud with his hot act, Public Enemy. WCW, New Japan and the WWF all expressed strong interest in the team as well. Tragically, Art Barr passed away before that could happen. He was found dead in his room in Oregon at only 28 years of age. Guerrero was crushed, and adopted the frog splash as a tribute to his best friend.
In 1995, Eddie Guerrero began with ECW as AAA could no longer afford to pay his contract. In his very first match with the company, he won the World Television Title from Too Cold Scorpio. Guerrero's most notable work in ECW was a series of matches with Dean Malenko that got both noticed, and signed, by World Championship Wrestling. Eddie made a startling jump to 17 in Pro-Wrestling Illustrated's PWI 500.
In August of 1996, Guerrero won the Super Junior Tournament in Japan, working as Black Tiger, in a field that included Chris Benoit, Jushin Liger, Dean Malenko and Jerry Lynn, and then headed to WCW alongside Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko. Several months after his debut, Guerrero defeated Diamond Dallas Page to win the United States heavyweight title. Eddie Guerrero would go on to win three cruiserweight championships, and participate in enough spectacular matches to earn him consideration as one of the best wrestlers in the world, though he was never treated as a major threat to top titles due to opinions those in management seemed to have in regards to both smaller and Hispanic talent. Tensions heated up behind the scenes as Guerrero had hot coffee tossed on him by Eric Bischoff when requesting a push and a raise. Guerrero asked for his release, both backstage and on camera on a live episode of Nitro. When he wasn't granted his release, he left the company for several months. When he returned, he was put into the Latino World Order, a play off of the popular nWo.
On New Years Eve of 1998, Eddie Guerrero was involved in a serious car accident. The collision was severe enough that Guerrero was expected to die. Guerrero, however, survived and was back in the ring in several months. In early 2000, after years of frustration with his use in WCW, Eddie Guerrero was allowed a release from his contract and left for the World Wrestling Federation with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn.
In his WWF in-ring debut, Eddie Guerrero dislocated his elbow when landing on a frog splash, and missed several weeks of action. His injury caused The Radicalz to lose their series of matches that they were scheduled to win, and derailed the group out of the gate. When he returned, Eddie Guerrero spent most of his first year aligned with Chyna while feuding with several members of the roster. In early 2001, Eddie Guerrero developed an addiction to pain medication that stemmed from his prior car accident, and several months later was taken off of the road and sent to rehab by the World Wrestling Federation. On November 9, 2001, Eddie Guerrero was arrested for drunk driving. On November 13, his contract with the WWF was terminated.
Guerrero tried to get his life back on track, and worked for several independent companies, most notably Ring of Honor and the FWA. In March of 2002, Eddie Guerrero was rehired by World Wrestling Entertainment and almost immediately found himself in programs with both Steve Austin and The Rock. Soon, Guerrero moved to Smackdown, where he formed a tag team called Los Guerreros with his nephew Chavo, where the duo were constantly involved in some of the best matches on television.
On February 15, 2004, Eddie Guerrero defeated the soon departing Brock Lesnar to win his first World Wrestling Entertainment World Title, and would have a huge homecoming celebration when Smackdown was taped in Mexico. Guerrero defeated Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania XX to retain his title, and celebrated as the show went off the air with Chris Benoit, a man who's career mirrored his from Japan to AAA to ECW to WCW and finally to the WWF. Soon after Wrestlemania, the pressure of holding the World Championship and being responsible for drawing fans to and carrying a slumping brand were catching up with Eddie, and the title was passed to JBL. Eddie Guerrero spent the majority of the rest of his WWE career feuding with Rey Mysterio in a storyline that drew company high ratings and was particularly strong in drawing in Hispanic viewers. Most recently, Eddie Guerrero has been involved in a storyline with World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown champion Dave Batista. There was talk that he was possibly scheduled to regain the World Heavyweight Championship at the Smackdown tapings the day that Eddie passed away.
Eddie Guerrero is survived by his wife Vickie, and his daughters Shaul (14), Sherilyn (9) and Kaylie Marie (3).