Easily one of the most beloved superstars of all time, Eddie Guerrero was the definition of a “people's champ.” After bouncing around the midcard for the entirety of his career in WCW, including US title reigns and leading the LWO, Eddie faced a huge challenge in his life after being involved in a car accident.
What many fans don't know about WCW though was a clause that was in nearly every wrestler's contract that if a wrestler was out injured for a certain period of time, their pay was cut in half, if they were out longer, they could be fired.
This happened a couple notable times with Bret Hart and the British Bulldog, both whom were kept on the roster after WCW received flak for this kind of management.
The problem here is wrestlers will rush back to active duty when they may have only been 50% healed or worse, this would then lead to painkiller addiction as a way to cope with nagging injuries. This became Eddie's vice along with alcohol abuse.
Eddie would eventually join the WWE as part of the Radicalz along with Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, and Chris Benoit. The group would make a huge impact and show WCW brass that they were more than “vanilla midgets”. Eddie would then begin a gimmick as Latino Heat, begin a relationship with Chyna, and eventually become Intercontinental champion.
Unfortunately, Eddie's personal demons would get the best of him as he would get arrested for drunk driving and get released by the WWE days later. After getting clean, Eddie returned to the WWE, becoming IC champ again, US champ, tag champ, and eventually WWE champion.
Eddie would eventually be found unconscious by his nephew Chavo and was pronounced dead by paramedics who arrived on the scene. The cause of death was cited as heart failure due to cardiovascular disease. Eddie would be inducted into the Hall of Fame the following year and his close friend Rey Mysterio would win the world title in honor of Eddie.
But what if Eddie was still alive? He was scheduled to win the World Heavyweight title from Batista around the time of his death. But what about Rey? Without Eddie's death, Rey Mysterio would not have been given the World title at Wrestlemania, nor would their be his feud with Chavo.
Chavo and Vickie would not have been involved with the La Familia stable which would push Edge to super heel status. If Eddie were still alive, Vickie would not have gotten involved with Edge, thus lowering the number of times the “Ultimate Opportunist” became a world champion.
Also, Eddie's death was one of the impetuses for the Wellness Program which affected the careers of many superstars including Jeff Hardy, Umaga, and Jimmy Yang among others. If Eddie hadn't died, the problem with substance abuse could still be out of control in the WWE.