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'Way too many guys have died': JBL
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun




Unlike the title of his book, Eddie Guerrero couldn't cheat death.

Last Sunday, Guerrero woke up and brushed his teeth, knowing another milestone in his stories wrestling career was on the horizon -- a Triple Threat match for the world heavyweight championship against Batista and Randy Orton that night in Minneapolis. The match wouldn't happen. Guerrero was found dead by his nephew, Chavo -- killed by heart failure.

Yet another wrestling death. Just 38 years old. A shame. A tragedy. Joining others like Road Warrior Hawk (age 45). Davey Boy Smith (39). Brian Pillman (36). Big Bossman Ray Traylor (42). Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig (44).Ravishing Rick Rude (41). Bam Bam Terry Gordy (40). Hercules Hernandez (46).Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert (33). Chris Candido (33). Crash Holly (34). Death under peculiar circumstances. The list goes on. And so does the mourning.

"Way too many guys have died," JBL said over the phone earlier this week. "The culture 10-15 years ago was guys were making a lot of money -- it was a sex, drugs and rock and roll mindset. And a lot of deaths we've seen came from that. We've really tried to establish a new culture, a corporate mindset. The biggest risk the guys are at now is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from playing too many video games."

JBL knew Guerrero. He knew him well. Eddie stood beside him, as a groomsmen, during his wedding.

The loss and void are huge. It was JBL who battled Eddie's nephew Chavo on Smackdown! Chavo, thankfully, wrestled as himself, tossing away his Kerwin White character for good.

"Eddie was one of my very best friends," said JBL. "In the ring, he was my arch-nemesis. Out of the ring, he was a friend.

"There are not a lot of better people on this planet. He had such a connection with the fans. It was like being in a ring with an ungrounded electric cord."

On Sunday night, good guys and bad guys stood side by side -- guys we love to hate -- Triple H and Kurt Angle gushed tears. So did others, like Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Shelton Benjamin and The Big Show. Guerrero was an inspiration to some, a hero to others.

It's not surprising, in life, that Guerrero looked every bit 38 years old ... and then some. Drugs, alcohol and a separation from wife and family will do that to you.

In an interview earlier this year, Guerrero told me: "There was a time when I didn't want to live anymore. I was in utter despair. I believe in God ... but I was having a hard time. I wanted to give up."

He reconciled with his wife, but continued to battle the demons.

"Every day is a battle," he said. "Some days are easy, some aren't. Some days you just want the night to come. You want to go to bed and get the day over with. I'm not perfect. I was a trash can. But I can say I haven't drank in three years. I haven't gotten high in three years. The positives outweigh the negatives. It feels good to wake up."

"Eddie had so many obstacles to overcome. He lost his family and the road to getting them back meant he had to beat his addiction," said JBL. "This is really a tragic story."

Eddie is survived by his wife Vickie and daughters Shaul, 14, Sherilyn, 9, and Kaylie Marie, 3.

"It was heart failure," Vickie told wwe.com. "It was from his past -- the drinking and the drug abuse. They found signs of heart disease. She (the examiner) said that the blood vessels were very worn and narrow, and that just showed all the abuse from the scheduling of work and his past.

"We just celebrated his four-year sobriety last Thursday. We just thought we had life by the handful. We thought we had it all figured out. He worked so hard to make a better life for us."

Vaya con dios, mi amigo!

- Sure enough, Christian Cage (our old friend Jay Reso was Christian in WWE) debuted at TNA's Genesis pay-per-view last Sunday. Results from the show: Raven beat PJ Polaco; 3 Live Kru beat Team Canada in a hockey stick fight; Monty Brown beat Jeff Hardy; Christopher Daniels, Samoa Joe, Alex Shelley and Roderick Strong beat Chris Sabin, Matt Bentley, Sonjay Dutt and Austin Aries in an Elimination X match; Abyss beat Sabu in a no-DQ match; AJ Styles beat Petey Williams; and Rhino and Team 3D beat and America's Most Wanted.

- Rick Steiner has been elected as a school board official in the Atlanta area.

- Nunzio won the cruiserweight strap off Juventud Guerrera at a show in Rome.

- WWE.com is reporting that Nick Dinsmore (Eugene) has hospitalized in England Thursday night and has been suspended.

- Shannon Moore and Jackie Gayda both debuted with TNA. If you haven't seen the company's weekly TV show, Impact, give it a try Saturdays at 11 p.m. on Spike TV.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We'll have more from JBL on Eddie Guerrero on Monday on SLAM! Wrestling.

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