WWE Legacies of Stardom: A Fan's Tribute to 'Latino Heat' Eddie Guerrero
"Wrestling? What is wrestling?"
Before I had found the passion of professional wrestling, I was clueless as to what I was watching on my television.
Was I watching those types of stunt shows?
Clearly, to me, it seemed like I was because I had happened to land on a show called Thursday Night Smackdown while channel surfing.
I had no idea why, but I decided to keep watching the show.
Was it the screaming of the people who reacted to an entering Superstar?
Was it the grandeur feel of the show with all of the well-made promos, entrances, and fireworks?
Or was it the presence of greater things to come?
Whatever it was, I was surely captivated.
I was instantly glued to my television, anticipating the next event and the next entering superstars before they actually entered the arena.
Then, the music struck.
Two wrestlers came out, one was Chavo and the other was Eddie. They were introduced as Los Guerreros.
They had the gimmick of two Mexicans from the ghetto who lied, cheated, and stole.
They were full of Mexican pride and I, for some reason, was intrigued.
I can't explain it but I felt like there was potential in them, especially in the one they called Eddie.
So I decided to see what they were made of.
I tuned in weekly to Thursday Night Smackdown, just to see Los Guerreros along with a select few as well.
Something about the show of Thursday Night Smackdown and the wrestlers involved in it made me a complete fan of professional wrestling and helped ignite my passion for this business.
I favored the faces and despised the heels, just like any child viewer would.
Yet for some odd reason, I loved it when the faces in Eddie and Chavo, especially Eddie, cheated and lied to win but when the heels did it, I became utterly angry.
I didn't know it at the time, but looking back into the past I have realized, the reason I loved it when Eddie cheated was because Eddie had that once in a lifetime appeal and charisma.
He was able to connect with the fans and had that power to draw people of all kinds which was yet to be completely unleashed.
The "Latino Heat" had yet to be ignited to its full blaze.
I enjoyed watching Los Guerreros face off against teams such as The World's Greatest Tag Team(Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) and the Basham Brothers, yet it all came to an end once I saw Eddie partake in singles matches more than tag team bouts.
After Chavo and Eddie went their separate ways, I had still noticed the same potential in Eddie. But why?
I couldn't quite figure it out.
That is, until I saw Eddie come out in his lowrider for the first time.
The lowrider made him stand-out and added unique depth to his already developed character.
Something about the lowrider and how Eddie entered into the ring just screamed at me, "This guy has more than potential, he has it.".
The way he entered the arena and did all of those taunts, it just made me anticipate what he was about to do next.
That's when I started witnessing his now comedic antics along with the crowd.
He started creating those magical moments which I have come to now know as my childhood memories.
He did all of this while he was in the midcard.
And to me, it was good enough at the time because he had enough air time to satisfy my passion and to entertain the people.
But eventually, he was making the crowd love him so much that they wanted to see more from him. They wanted to see him succeed.
The only problem?
Eddie apparently didn't fit Vince McMahon's mold of "superstar".
Whatever he did, no matter how hard he tried, no matter how much he worked, no matter how strong his passion for the business was, Eddie just wasn't going to be given that opportunity.
No matter what.
Nothing Eddie did was going to change Mr. McMahon's mind, no matter what the circumstances were.
He was destined to be that fan-favorite underdog who wasn't destined for greatness.
That is, until he defied the odds.
In a battle royal to determine the number one contender, once it was all said and done, Eddie Guerrero was the last remaining participant in the ring.
He had become the new number one contender and was quickly on his way to the top after what seemed like a lifetime in the midcard.
The only obstacle in his way though, was a dominant monster known as "The Next Big Thing" Brock Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar was once upon a time deemed as "The Next Big Thing". He was pushed as a dominant monster who easily dismantled the likes of the Rock , the Big Show, and the Undertaker all within his short tenure with the company.
Eddie was the underdog and the odds didn't favor him at all.
I was initially in the state of mind that the veteran in Eddie would not win the WWE championship at all.
But call it faith or luck, Lesnar was apparently on his way out of the company which made the WWE do what they wouldn't have done otherwise, give the WWE championship to Eddie Guerrero.
I had no clue about this since I had no Internet at the time, and as a child, the wrestling product was still real to me.
You can probably guess what my reaction was when Eddie finally became WWE champion by toppling the titan in Brock Lesnar.
"Eddie wins! Eddie wins!"
"here is your winner......and the NEW WWE Champion...............EDDIE GUERRERO!!!"
The man who's career I had followed from my "Day One", the man who helped make me a fan of professional wrestling, the man who I admired, had finally won the WWE championship.
He had finally made it!
The man who had made a career of fighting to get that chance at getting to the top had finally gotten there.
Eddie Guerrero was finally in the main event as the WWE champion.
And it couldn't have come at a better time than on the Road to Wrestlemania XX.
Through challenger and contender alike, Eddie Guerrero defended his WWE championship with pride, glory, and passion.
He performed at his best every single time, no matter who was across from him in the ring.
He put the company first and handed off the torch to his friend, JBL.
He made memories and made the fans care as much as he did about his passion for wrestling.
He defied the general description of main event superstar and did everything on his own terms.
He, although cliche by now, literally lied, cheated, and stole our hearts.
He was truly the definition of champion for me. A champion, who had heart, guts, and passion for the business.
Someone who lived for wrestling. Someone who bled professional wrestling. Someone who not only did this for the fun of it, but someone who lived for it.
Eddie had mastered the art of professional wrestling entertainment.
He truly deserved to hold the championship for a long time to come.
But that wishful thinking was soon to be ruined because Eddie Guerrero was screwed of the WWE championship.
As an unknowing fan, I was sad to see his championship reign be over, especially with the way he lost it. I had no idea of his generosity so I appreciate him for that now, but at the time, I had found myself emotionally invested in the feud that was boiling between Eddie, JBL, and Kurt Angle.
It is this aspect that kept me watching and I can now thank Eddie for it. He kept my passion for wrestling burning every single week by keeping me entertained.
When he finally got his rematch inside the steel cage, and was battling JBL on the top of the cage, I was one of those chanting for Eddie to win but he got screwed again.
Ever since then, he had little to no opportunities to regain the WWE championship, yet was still in the main event where he deserved to be.
He was still over with the fans and was one of the most beloved faces currently competing in either Raw or Smackdown.
But then he was slowly being put in the midcard once again, proving the theory of underdog who didn't fit the Vince's mold of "superstar" right.
He quickly allied himself with Rey Mysterio and they became Tag Team champions.
He was still involved with Kurt Angle for awhile but once it was over, he showed his friendship with Rey Mysterio by staying his partner and defending their Tag Team championships successfully.
Everything was going right for them and I was enjoying every single moment of their team as a young child spectator.
I cheered for the team of faces and booed their opponents for that night.
I cheered when they won and booed when they lost.
Why? Well, because I enjoyed seeing them as a team, especially Eddie Guerrero as a champion.
Yet there always comes the time where the team breaks up and the star goes on to greater things, but as a child I didn't know that this was the formula always used to break up tag teams.
I didn't know, because I still didn't have my "wrestling smarts" at the time.
So when Eddie turned on Rey, I was shocked.
Eddie Guerrero had become heel.
His days as a face were gone and Eddie had decided to amp up the aggression.
He had finally decided to literally do what his motto had said.
He had turned his back on the fans and was "the bad guy".
But for some reason, I still supported him.
His aura and charisma still attracted me and I had hope that Eddie wasn't going to stay this way forever.
I was somewhat correct in my assumption, because he soon "became friends" with Batista.
He was trying to make the most of his opportunity to get the World Heavyweight championship by lying, cheating, and stealing but Batista knew better.
When they faced off at No Mercy 2005, Batista defeated Eddie Guerrero to retain the World Heavyweight championship.
I was disappointed at the result because I had wanted Eddie to win. He was the better entertainer to me and this was his chance to retain the belt that he never truly lost in a fair match.
He could've become champion.
As a heel or face, it didn't matter to me as long as he had reclaimed what he never rightfully lost.
Much to my delight, Eddie started seeing the "wrong" of his ways soon after losing and started a face turn.
He brought back the lowrider and lied as well as cheated to win his matches.
This was especially showcased in his match against Mr. Kennedy, where Eddie cheated and lied to win so he could head on to Survivor Series as the captain of the Smackdown team.
As a child, I was expecting Team Smackdown to win because I favored the blue brand as it was the first brand I saw.
Smackdown made me a wrestling fan so I cheered for it to win, and my expectations seemed destined to come true with Eddie leading the team.
I couldn't order the PPV so I anticipated the results the next night on Monday Night Raw.
Little did I know, I was in for a true surprise.
The stars from both brands were standing on the ramp to start Raw and Vince McMahon led the 10 Bell Salute.
He said that the 10 Bell Salute was for the late, great Eddie Guerrero.
Once I heard the name "Eddie Guerrero", I couldn't believe if I was hearing the truth.
I was in denial as I shed many, many tears and cried my eyes out.
I just couldn't believe that my idol was gone, just like that.
But the show must go on.
The Raw and Smackdown of the week were deemed as the Eddie Guerrero Memorial Show.
They were focused on putting aside the differences between wrestlers and remembering one of the greatest to ever step foot in that ring.
Every wrestler was shown in a segment remembering the man known as Eddie Guerrero.
They all remembered the memories they had with their fallen friend.
As a young fan who was still shocked by the news, the stories from the stars and their emotions just got to me and made me cry more than I had before.
I just couldn't believe it.
But "time heals all wounds", and it was no different here.
With each passing day, I realized that I could do nothing to bring back Eddie, I just had to accept that he was gone.
As days passed, as I grew older, as I grew wiser, I finally realized it.
There was nothing to do but move on.
So I did, and I'm glad I did.
I realized that mourning can only do so much, it can't bring anyone back to life.
So instead of mourning, I was thankful.
Thankful for all of the memories that Eddie Guerrero gave me.
Thankful to Eddie for making me a fan, for giving me the passion of pro wrestling.
Thankful to Eddie for giving it all in the ring and for the fans.
Now, as I look back, I can only be provided with a glimpse of joy whenever Eddie's name is mentioned.
Whenever I hear "Eddie" spoken in a pro wrestling arena, I can't help but smile.
The only time I get sad at all now, is when I hear the mention that he was supposed to become champion on the next episode of Smackdown.
He would've finally regained what was rightfully his.
But aside from that, his name brings me back childhood memories.
His name gives me slight joy because even if he's gone, he's not forgotten.
His name reminds me that I once saw one of the greatest to ever step foot in the wrestling ring in almost every part of the world.
It reminds me that I once saw a true superstar, one who knew how to wrestle, talk on the mic, get the crowd engaged, and ooze charisma that made every single thing he did entertaining.
But not only did he have all of the makings of a superstar, he also had the heart of a star. He had the passion of a star as well.
He fought even while he was weary. He fought on when he was losing tons of blood. He jumped from unheard heights to give us a moment that we would never forget.
He took the business personally, because it was his life. He bleeded professional wrestling and entertainment.
He did all of this just to have his moment, just to make a legacy.
And his legacy is not to be forgotten.
He is an icon who brought in the masses of the Hispanic audience to the WWE.
He made many people into fans of wrestling and I was one of them.
I am thankful to him for making me a fan of professional wrestling because without him, I would've missed many moments that I know as memories.
His passion for pro wrestling rubbed off onto me as I am writing this article about professional wrestling for the readers to read.
I have no way to truly thank him for what effect he had on my life, but I have tried.
This is my 50th article on Bleacher Report and I have dedicated it to Eddie Guerrero.
This is my tribute for the late, great Eddie Guerrero.
We miss you Eddie and may you rest in peace.
We can never see you lie, cheat, and steal anymore but we can still remember the impact that you had on not only the business but the fans, especially this one.
The memories you made are not forgotten by the fans and the Latino Heat still burns inside each and everyone of us.
You may be gone, but your legacy still lives on.
Viva la Raza, Eddie Guerrero.
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