Hello once again, Bleachers!
Today marks the five-year anniversary of the passing of Eddy Guerrero, one of the true greats in not only the WWE, but in all of wrestling, ever. I thought it would be appropriate to pay tribute to this amazing soul today.
I'll never forget that horrible, tragic day on Nov. 13, 2005. I had just gotten up in the morning and got on the Internet, making my way to the forum for my Edge and Lita fansites, and I read the headline a member had made for a new thread for that day. It was simply entitled, "Tragic."
I frowned at that, and dread filled me even before I clicked to open and read the post. One of the last people I expected the news to be about was Eddy Guerrero, but the second I saw his name, I burst into tears.
I couldn't believe it. Not Latino Heat! Not only was the news so incredibly shocking, it also struck me as a near impossibility. How could a man who had kicked his drug habit and been clean for four years, and who was still so young, so filled with life the last time I'd seen him on SmackDown a couple of days prior, be dead? It just didn't seem fair. It wasn't fair.
Sadly, though, Guerrero's previous years battling drugs had caught up with him, his death no doubt inevitable in spite of the clean lifestyle he'd enjoyed for four years. My heart went out to his wife, Vickie, his daughters, and all of his friends in the business. His fans, myself included, were devastated.
I can honestly say that, although I'd never met Eddy, it felt as though I had lost a dear friend. I am one of those longtime fans who definitely feels something for the wrestlers I idolize.
Eddy Guerrero had been a favorite of mine since his WCW days, and this was perhaps the hardest blow to me of all the wrestlers who have passed on over the years.
The man was a living legend. He was in my personal top four best technical wrestlers list, joined by the late Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle and Shelton Benjamin.
He was an absolute joy to watch in the squared circle, and always put a smile on my face when he would grab a microphone to cut a promo. Simply put, he was one of the greatest.
I reflect on all the angles I was lucky enough to witness him in, during his time in WCW as well as the WWE (I never had the privilege of seeing him in ECW).
The storyline in which he assembled the lWo (Latino World Order) as a sort of spoof of the nWo was absolutely brilliant and hilarious, and I loved his feud with Billy Kidman in 1998. Eddy definitely had a knack for acting, and when he would blow up in character, it was truly hilarious to watch.
Just watch the match between Kidman and Juventud Guerrera at Starrcade '98 for the Cruiserweight title and check out Guerrero's reaction to Kidman winning for proof of that!
I marked out like crazy upon seeing him debut with Benoit, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko as the Radicalz in WWE in early 2000. I was especially thrilled at seeing them there, because it was just prior to that time that I had basically given up on WCW (thank you, Vince Russo...).
It sucked that he became injured very shortly after that, but it was great to still get to see him at ringside for his fellow Radical buddies, causing a headache for their opponents.
Let's not forget when he hooked up onscreen with his Mamacita! I absolutely loved it when Chyna turned on Chris Jericho to get herself some Latino Heat, and their pairing was one of my favorites between a diva and superstar. They had some great chemistry and plenty of memorable and very cute moments in the six months they appeared together.
Then, of course, it was truly amazing to witness Eddy successfully defending his WWE Championship at WrestleMania 20. One of the greatest moments ever was seeing him and real-life best friend Chris Benoit hugging and then standing side-by-side with their respective titles. It brought a small tear to my eye.
Eddy also brought comedy to the ring, as I briefly mentioned a few paragraphs up. One of my favorite in-ring tactics of his was when he started bringing in a chair when the referee was either out cold or distracted, tossing it to his opponent and then laying down, playing unconscious. That was classic!
It was an honor to have had the opportunity to have watched Guerrero over the years, and to see how he developed from a terrific midcard performer into one of the greatest main event superstars in history. He lied, he cheated, he stole the fans' hearts...Viva la raza, Eddy!