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This Week in Wrestling: The death of Eddie Guerrero

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On November 9th, 2005, the wrestling world as a whole stood in silence as news broke on the death of Eddie Guerrero.

Known to fans affectionately as “Latino Heat,” Guerrero was beloved by fans for his natural charisma and entertaining in-ring antics. Known for his motto of “Lie, Cheat, and Steal,” Guerrero would often resort to underhanded tactics to prevail in contests. These acts were mostly approved of by fans as they were generally applied against heel wrestlers.

From the moment he burst onto the scene in CMLL in the late 1980’s, it was obviously that the youngest of the Guererro men was destined for greatness. Guerrero’s big break came when he was recruited by Paul Heyman to join Extreme Championship Wrestling. After a brief stint in ECW, Guererro signed with WCW where he would become a featured player in the cruiserweight division, going on to have what was arguably his greatest match ever against Rey Mysterio Jr at Halloween Havoc of 1995.

Despite picking up a number of championship reigns, it was clear to see that long-term success in WCW was not in Guerrero’s future as there seemed to be a glass ceiling placed on cruiserweights. A lot of the blame for this stigma lied at the main event with Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan viewing cruiserweights as “vanilla midgets”. Due to this, in January of 2000 a group of underappreciated and undervalued cruiserweights migrated to the WWF. Guerrero along with Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn (collectively known as The Radicalz), they sparked a piece of the shift in the war leading to WWF gaining momentum over WCW.

From the moment of his debut onward Guererro was a mainstay within the company, managing to pick up every championship within the company. The success was not without its obstacles as he was released in 2001 in relation to his ongoing drug addiction. After a stint in rehab, Guerrero returned to WWF in April of 2002, just months before the brand extension. Eddie would become a key player in the mid-card for years to come before his push to the main event took off when he defeated Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004. He would hold the title until the summer of that year before dropping it to John Bradshaw Layfield amidst alleged low house show draws and Guerrero’s own fear of relapsing under the stress of being on top of the wrestling world. After that, Guerrero dropped back down to the mid card where he would hold the Smackdown! Tag Team championships with Rey Mysterio before turning heel on Rey, leading to a puzzling (to say the very least) ladder match with adoption papers for Mysterio’s son Dominick held high above the ring, which Guerrero promptly lost. Guerrero would remain as a heel until his death in November. At the time of his passing, Guerrero was embroiled in a main event feud with World Heavyweight Champion Batista, which “according to the rumors” would have led to Guerrero picking up the World Championship.

Sadly, this was not to be as Guerrero was soon found dead in his hotel by his nephew Chavo Guerrero Jr. The official cause of death was attributed to heart failure brought on by his years of drug abuse. 12 years after his passing and the imprint that Guerrero left on Professional Wrestling is still being felt to this day, as he has been cited as a huge inspiration to many of the stars that grace our TV every week, most notably Sasha Banks. Though time continues to pass, Guerrero’s name stays alive and well through tributes and his litany of acclaimed matches on the WWE network. It seems that everyone has their favorite memories of Eddie Guerrero. A fact that is none too surprising as their was such a varied list of entertaining matches, skits, segments, and promos that will allow the love for the now departed superstar to live forever.

Christian is an avid wrestling fan who began watching in the summer of 2001. His passion for the business starts and ends with the history of the sport. He loves holding discussions with fellow fans about their opinions on events in wresting history spanning all promotions and time periods. He currently has plans to co-host a podcast with fellow FightBoothPW contributor Brandon Miller (@brandonpsmc). If anyone would like to reach Christian, they can email him at cwaughh16@gmail.com or his Twitter account @cdubb106

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