A larger-than-life character whose mantra of lying, cheating and stealing had made him an unlikely fan-favorite, Eddie Guerrero started wrestling in front of crowds of only a few people, to wrestling at WrestleMania in front of thousands.
Since his death in November, 2005, Eddie’s legendary status has only grown. You know he’s a legend, but there’s more than meets the eye with this wrestling icon.
Guerrero was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School (La Jeff) in 1985. He attended the University of New Mexico, and then New Mexico Highlands University on an athletic scholarship.
When he was a young boy, he attended the wrestling promotions that his father Gory put on at the El Paso County Coliseum. Guerrero’s father allowed him and his nephew Chavo to wrestle each other during intermissions.
At an age when most kids aren’t allowed to cross the street on their own, Eddie wrestled his first match in front of an audience. When Eddie was only 9, he teamed up with a 6-year-old Chavo, Jr. to take on their dad/uncle, the legendary Gory Guerrero, at an exhibition show as a small, local carnival.
Eddie Guerrero began performing at CMLL, a professional wrestling organization in Mexico City. He and El Santa created a team that was known as the Atomic Pair. He later became a partner of Art Barr, and soon they became a notable duo.
Paul Heyman, then the former owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling, saw Guerrero and Barr and approached them about joining ECW, but Barr passed away in 1994 before they could unite. In honor of his fallen friend, Guerrero did his finishing move, the Frog Splash. In the mean time, Guerrero was working with New Japan Pro Wrestling from 1993 through 1996.
World Championship Wrestling
Eddie started wrestling for the WCW in late 1995 along with Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit, with whom he had worked in NJPW and ECW.
At World War 3 he competed in the 3-ring, 60-man World War 3 battle royal for the vacant WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Guerrero was one of the final 10 men in the battle royal, but was tossed out of the ring by Four Horsemen members.
Despite his success and popularity, he had been one of many wrestlers that were upset at never being given a chance to be main event stars in WCW. Guerrero responded by forming the Latino World Order (or LWO), a take-off on the New World Order.
When Eddie came to the WWE, he was a heel, and immediately gained fame when he was part of the Radicalz, with Perry Saturn, Dean Malenko and long time friend of fifteen years, Chris Benoit. The four were previously part of WCW, but left to pursue a career in WWE.
He didn’t like the Lie, cheat, steal vignettes
When the WWE began to air a series of vignettes in early 2003 that showed Los Guerreros in a more comedic light, Eddie was opposed to them. He felt the new gimmick was stereotypical, and disrespected the Guerrero family name.
That said, the lying, cheating and stealing gimmick also allowed Eddie to show off his personality, and was an elevator perfectly designed to take Eddie to the top.
Eddie once got into a legit wrestling match with Kurt Angle backstage
Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero were friends outside of the ring, but when things didn’t go to plan in the ring one night, things can kick off for real backstage. One very famous incident is when Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero fought backstage after a match in WWE.
In an interview with Lucha Libre Online’s Michael Morales, revealed that Guerrero confronted him after a match as he thought he was too stiff with him in the ring.
“But one night Eddie and I got into a little bit of a fight. It was me, Jindrak and Luther Reigns. We were in the ring and we had to get heat on Eddie at the end of the night and we were feeding them up and after the match was over I waited backstage for Eddie at the gorilla and he came back and he just went crazy and said: ‘What the hell you guys stiffing me for? You hit me for real’. And I said: ‘I didn’t touch you’. And he said. ‘Yes, you did’. I said: ‘no, these guys did’. And Eddie was so mad. He wasn’t listening. He pushed me. I pushed him back. And then he went to double leg me. Yeah, amateur wrestling move; and I sprouted got him in a Front FaceLock and started choking him out and Big Show was there and he broke it up.”
Eddie Guerrero vs. Shawn Michaels Was Supposed To Happen At WrestleMania 22
WWE was planning on having Eddie Guerrero and Shawn Michaels face off for the very first time at WrestleMania 22.
Bruce Prichard discussed the dream match during an episode of Something To Wrestle With, revealing that WWE had plans to make it happen. “It was kicked around as a possibility because they never worked together, and that was, at least in my head, a dream match,” Prichard explained.
Unfortunately, Guerrero suddenly and tragically passed away before the match could take place. It will forever be a dream match that never happened.
A 2nd Chance
Eddie earned the European Championship and the Intercontinental Championship during his first couple of years with the WWE. However, he experienced a setback when he got arrested for a DUI conviction in November 2001. This lead to his release from the WWE. Guerrero got another chance from the company in April 2002.
The creation of Smackdown gave Eddie Guerrero the platform to take off to the next level as he worked his way into the WWE championship picture in 2004. He worked his way into becoming the No.1 contender and upset Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004 to earn the title.
Eddie never main-evented a WrestleMania, but his match with Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XX was a main event for all intents and purposes. Guerrero and Angle both put on a performance that would have been fitting of closing the show at most WrestleManias in WWE history.
Neither man shied away from showcasing their skills on the big stage. Angle was hellbent on becoming WWE Champion when he kicked out of Guerrero’s Frog Splash. However, Eddie became just the fifth man to retain the WWE Title at WrestleMania when he kicked off his boot and rolled up Angle for another memorable victory.
The Last Dance
Eddie Guerrero’s last televised match was November 11, 2005 on SmackDown. He defeated Mr. Kennedy earning a place on the SmackDown team in the 2005 Survivor Series.
Eddie’s last actual match was at a house show on November 12th, 2005 in Albuquerque, New Mexico against Dave Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. Eddie Guerrero was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.