WWE SmackDown Classic Match of the Week: John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero

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WWE SmackDown Classic Match of the Week: John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero
(Photo: WWE)

A decade ago, John Cena and Eddie Guerrero collided in a wild, strange brawl on WWE SmackDown.

Cena and Guerrero's feud hit its apex on Sept. 11, 2003 in a fight in a dimly lit parking lot. Fast forward 10 years and Sheamus and Damien Sandow will clash in a Dublin Street Fight on the June 28, 2013 edition of WWE SmackDown.

Who knows how highly that fight will be regarded in a decade, but it won't be preceded by either man making anti-gay jokes against the other the way that Cena implied that Guerrero was a sexual deviant and a homosexual.

Some things about the WWE have changed for the better.

The Latino Heat Parking Lot Brawl remains vivid in many fan's memories—not just because of how beloved the late Guerrero is but because of the unsettling nature of the classic match.

John Cena throws Eddie Guerrero onto a car. (Photo from WWE.com)
Cena prowled around the circle of parked cars, asking a referee about his limitations in the match. Pointing to a car hood, Cena asked, "If I smash his head on this, it's OK?"

The referee assured him that nothing was off-limits, and the two rivals took full advantage.

Cena had beaten Guerrero mercilessly in El Paso and later stole his low-rider. Guerrero, not surprisingly, was after revenge. Cena, then a much grittier character, was out to prove his toughness.

The theft that led to the Parking Lot Brawl.
Guerrero rode the momentum from his victory among parked cars to the WWE Championship, which he won from Brock Lesnar just five months after this battle. Cena's star would continue to ascend past this point.

The appeal of the Parking Lot Brawl was how it teased violence beyond what fans typically saw in a ring. Cena went at Guerrero with a lawnmower, swung a shovel at his head and tried to smash his face with a car door.

Guerrero evaded each time.

The action teetered near an uncomfortable level of violence but never quite reached the extreme. It was an intense brawl, but there was more excitement in the near-misses than in the blows that landed.

Cena charged at his foe like an animal.

With a scowl on his face and a Brian Urlacher jersey hanging off him, he threw Guerrero onto the hoods of the cars around them. He was strong, menacing, merciless and the aggressor for much of the night.

Eddie Guerrero vs. John Cena full match
Guerrero's wiliness saved him throughout the match. He slipped out of harm's way and used the environment to his advantage. He choked Cena with a seat belt and jabbed him with a hot cigarette lighter.

Both men smashed each other's head through windshields. While they delivered few wrestling moves, every move had a much more violent impact given the hazardous nature of their makeshift ring. Even a simple backdrop earned a big response from the crowd.

The fierce fight ended when Chavo Guerrero conked Cena in the head, allowing Guerrero to hit a Frog Splash from one car to another.

This not a great match in any traditional sense, but one that was compelling from beginning to end. Even now, it begs to be watched again. Hate, combined with unusual weapons and the novelty of an atypical setting, created an unexpected classic.

Sandow and Sheamus will offer a different kind of brawl this time around.

Those two men must operate in a toned-down WWE and without the benefit of the heated rivalry that Cena and Guerrero had. If they manage to stir our guts half as much as Cena and Guerrero did in 2003, the match will be a success.

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