Lying, Cheating, Stealing: A Tribute to the Late, Great Eddie Guerrero

Hayley-L GrahamSenior Analyst IJuly 10, 2009

NEW YORK - MARCH 11:  Wrestler Eddie Guerrero attends a press conference to promote Wrestlemania XX at Planet Hollywood March 11, 2004 in New York City.  (Photo by Peter Kramer/Getty Images)

When you think of the blueprint of the perfect wrestler, what would you class as essential qualities?

Charisma? Great skills both in the ring and on the microphone? An uncanny ability to draw the crowd to you like bees to honey?

Would you even say that it is the way that they live their lives in front of the cameras and the fans that watch wrestling every week of every year?

There may have been many great wrestlers that have served their time in WWE or TNA. Some of them might still be entertaining the masses.

Unfortunately, some of them had their lives cut short, doomed to become an evergrowing statistic of superstars who have died young.

We know the names of these people. Owen Hart. Chris Benoit. Test.

These are men who spent a great portion of their lives being broadcast around the world for the viewing of millions who tuned in to watch them.

For me however, there is one great that I still truly miss today. A man who I grew up idolising and admiring since I first watched WWE.

That man is Eddie Guerrero.

Eddie Guerrero was the perfect example of inspiration and heartbreak for many fans around the world.

Affectionally known as 'Latino Heat', he spent many years of his life not only wrestling in front of the cameras, but behind them as well, combating his demons in an attempt to save himself from a life of drugs.

Eddie's wrestling career first began in Mexico and Japan as a member of the legendary Guerrero family.

It was in these first few years that he was able to start showing the world that he had the potential to become a great athlete and performer, wowing audiences all around the globe with his highflying ability and unbeatable mic skills.

Guerrero's first major break came in the original incarnation of ECW, where he was able to win the Television championship twice before being picked up by WCW.

In WCW, Guerrero would automatically become known as the leader of the LWO (Latino World Order). This would become his first taste of success within a United States wrestling promotion.

Eddie would stay with WCW for many years, feuding with the likes of Rey Mysterio and Dean Malenko, who would become his partner in WWF.

After a few months of the Monday Night Wars, Eddie jumped ship with fellow WCW alumni Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn to WWF, forming the stable known as 'The Radicalz'.

Originally seen as invaders, the men would soon become integral parts of the WWF during the invasion and subsequent years after.

This was the start of Eddie Guerrero's meteoric rise in the WWE from mid-card talent to one of the top draws in professional wrestling history.

One of Guerrero's first major singles storylines was with his 'Mamacita' Chyna, who would give Eddie his first taste of the WWE limelight.

It was during this period that Eddie would become known as the fun-loving, convertible-driving, party animal.

This would remain synonymous with him throughout his entire career.

From there, he would garner success in both tag team and singles wrestling, picking up many prestigious championships, such as the Intercontinental, European and Tag Team titles.

He was also granted the honour of being the first holder of the newly reinstated United States championship in 2003.

It was during this title run that Guerrero perfected his character as 'lying, cheating, stealing son of a gun,' making him one of the most popular performers of this generation.

2004 was the biggest year in Eddie Guerrero's professional career. It was during No Way Out and Wrestlemania 20 that he was able to secure his legacy as one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time.

At No Way Out, Guerrero did the unthinkable when he was able to beat the violent froce known as Brock Lesnar to win the WWE title for the first time in his historic career.

He further cemented his name in history when he defeated Kurt Angle at the 20th anniversary of Wrestlemania to retain his title, albeit, with a little bit of his patented rule breaking!

Guerrero would keep his hands on the championship until The Great American Bash, where he lost to JBL in a Texas Bullrope Match that became known as one of the most brutal matches of the year.

It was after this loss that Guerrero started to turn against the fans and his friends, specifically Rey Mysterio.

In one of the most personal rivalries in wrestling history, Eddie claimed that Rey's son, Dominic, was actually his son that Guerrero and Vickie had given to Mysterio.

This would culminate in a ladder match over the custody of Dominic, an encounter that Mysterio won.

This only fuelled Guerrero's hatred for him, leading to Eddie attacking Mysterio many times, injuring Rey's knees and forcing the storyline to be stopped when Mysterio needed surgery.

In the latter half of 2005, Guerrero would once again become a major challenger in the Heavyweight title scene, staking his claim as a legitimate threat for the championship.

Unfortunately, Eddie wouldn't get the chance to win his title back.

On Nov. 13, 2005, Eddie Guerrero was found dead in his hotel room in Minneapolis by his nephew Chavo. He was 38 years old.

It was discovered soon after this that he had died of heart failure, stemming from his previous drug addictions that he spent his entire life fighting.

The whole wrestling world went into deep mourning for one of its greatest stars.

During an emotional tribute episode of Raw, many wrestlers desrcibed him as a caring, loving friend who always looked out for others.

It was also the only TV moment in which Rey Mysterio removed his mask, showing how much Eddie meant to him.

Throughout the following months, many of Mysterio's and Chavo's matches were dedicated to Eddie.

As well as this, many wrestlers began to use his moves as a tribute to him, specifically his Frog Splash.

In 2006, Guerrero was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame to a tremendous ovation.

This served as a reminder as to how popular Eddie was during his years as a wrestling superstar.

Charisma, charm, skill, humour...Eddie Guerrero had it all.

Whether it was as a lovable anti-hero who would steal the hearts of the fans, as well as the championships of the wrestlers, or as the hated heel without remorse, Guerrero was able to grab the audience like nobody else.

Even today, nearly four years on, many die hard fans will talk about Eddie as one of the greats of the sports industry. Eddie chants are still heard around the arenas whenever a superstar cheats to win, or whenever a frog splash is hit.

This is proof that Guerrero is still in the minds of almost every wrestling fan around the world, whether they be WWE, TNA, ROH or otherwise. Guerrero was the universal face of wrestling.

He may have been a Lying, Cheating, Stealing Son of a Gun, but there will never be another one in our lifetimes like Eddie Guerrero.

And trust me, to that you can truly say: Viva La Raza!


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