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Eddie Guerrero

Eddie Guerrero

REAL NAME: Eddie Guerrero
BORN: October 9, 1967 in Juarez, Mexico
DIED: November 13, 2005 in Minneapolis, Minnesota
5-ft., 8-in., 220-lb
ALIASES/NICKNAMES: Latino Heat, Black Tiger, Mascara Magica

There is little doubt that Eddie Guerrero was destined to be a wrestler almost before he was born. His father, Gory Guerrero was a founding father of Lucha Libre (Mexican pro wrestling), a legendary wrestling trainer, a pioneer figure in Mexico, and perhaps, pound for pound, the best pro wrestler in Mexican history over the course of his 30-year career.

But Gory was also the patriarch of arguably the premier family in wrestling history. Eddie's older brothers Chavo, Mando and Hector gained worldwide reputations as excellent wrestlers, plying their trade in rings in Mexico and Japan, as well as several big territories across the U.S. It only made sense that Eddie would someday follow in his family's legendary footsteps.

Eddie wrestled at the University of New Mexico on an athletic scholarship. Wanting to turn pro, Eddie was trained by his father in a ring he had set up in his backyard in El Paso, Texas. It was there that the foundation of Eddie's superior working style was first laid.

Guerrero debuted in 1987 in Mexico's EMLL promotion. He competed primarily in six man tag matches with his brothers for the first few years. The trio of Eddie, Chavo and Mando teamed to win the World Wrestling Association's World Trios Title in Tijuana, Mexico on July 28th, 1989.

By 1992, Eddie was wrestling under a mask as Mascara Magica (Magic Mask). It was in this guise that Eddie won his first singles title, the WWA Welterweight Championship.

Later that year, Eddie jumped to the newly formed AAA promotion, dropping the mask and returned to wrestling under his real name. He began to split his time between Mexico and New Japan Pro Wrestling in 1993, becoming one of the top foreign stars in Japan. A year later he competed in the prestigious Top of the Super Junior Heavyweights tournament, having classic matches with the likes of Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Jushin "Thunder" Liger and 2 Cold Scorpio.

In 1994, promoters in Japan saddled him with the Black Tiger gimmick, a foreign heel Tiger Mask-style character. In October, Eddie teamed with the Great Susake to win the Junior Heavyweight Super Grand Tag League for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Back in Mexico, Eddie teamed with El Hijo del Santo as La Pareja Atomica (The Atomic Pair), reviving the tag team their fathers (El Santo and Gory Guerrero) made famous in the 50s and 60s. Eddie formed a friendship with "Love Machine" Art Barr and the two approached promoter Antonio Pena about turning heel and teaming up together.

The idea worked to perfection as Guerrero and Barr turned on El Hijo del Santo and formed the most hated team in Lucha Libre history: La Pareja del terror (The Pair of Terror).

Turning his back on his Mexican heritage, Guerrero donned tights with the stars and stripes, waved the American flag and recruited the likes of Konnan, Louie Spicoli and others to form Los Gringos Locos, a Mexican version of the Four Horsemen.

Los Gringos Locos set Mexico on fire in 1994 as the heel clique feuded with every top Mexican star in AAA. Guerrero and Barr won the AAA World tag team titles in Chicago during the summer, defeating El Hijo del Santo and Octagon. Santo and Octagon would garner their revenge in November at When Worlds Collide from Los Angeles (AAA's only foray into pay-per-view), defeating Guerrero and Barr in a double mask vs. double hair match, forcing Eddie and Barr to have their heads shaved bald.

The match, a ****1/2 star effort, had put Guerrero and Barr in the spotlight, clearly establishing as the best tag team in the world at the time. They were seemingly unstoppable. Tragedy, however, struck three weeks later as Art Barr was found dead in his bedroom in Springfield, Oregon.

With Barr out of his life, the value of the Mexican peso at an all time low and AAA complaining about the cost of his contract, Guerrero left Mexico and resurfaced in Extreme Championship Wrestling. On his first night in he defeated 2 Cold Scorpio for the TV title. A week later he had what is widely considered the best match in the history of the promotion, going to a 30-minute draw with Dean Malenko.

Eddie added the frog splash to his vast repertoire, made famous first by Barr, paying tribute to his fallen partner. He and Malenko feuded the entire summer, exchanging the title between them in a series of matches noted for the scientific wizardry, drawing comparisons to the epic Ric Flair-Rick Steamboat feud of 1989.

A short time after battling Malenko to a draw in an epic best-of-three-fall match, Eddie left ECW in September of 1995 for the greener pastures of WCW. Eddie found himself competing against many of his former ECW contemporaries including Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, and Jerry Lynn (competing as Mr. JL) as well as Konnan and Ric Flair.

In June of 1996 Guerrero, competing as Black Tiger, defeated Jushin "Thunder" Liger in the finals of the Top of the Super Juniors in Japan, becoming only the second foreigner (Chris Benoit being the first) to win the prestigious tournament.

At Starrcade '96 Guerrero won his first title in WCW, defeating Diamond Dallas Page to win the vacant U.S. Heavyweight title. Eddie would lose it three months later to Malenko but rebounded by upending Chris Jericho at SuperBrawl to capture his first of two WCW Cruiserweight titles.

Between his matches with Malenko, Benoit, Chris Jericho, Ultimo Dragon and Psychosis, his best effort in the promotion came at Halloween Havoc '97 where he dropped the Cruiserweight title to Rey Mysterio Jr in mask vs. title match. The ****/3/4 match will long be remembered for its high flying spots and the amazing chemistry between the two luchadores.

After several months of feuding with nephew Chavo Guerrero Jr. and being lost in the shuffle, Eddie formed the Latino World Order, a shoot-like gimmick where Guerrero addressed frustrations he and the other Mexican talent had over their shameless misuse by management.

The angle was starting to get over when Eddie was involved in a terrible car crash on New Year's Eve 1998, sidelining him for several months. Although he would later return, Eddie was not happy, and he wasn't alone.

On January 20, 2000, Eddie, along with Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn were given their release from WCW and appeared on WWE Monday Night Raw six days later. The foursome were dubbed "the Radicals" and appeared to be on the verge of becoming another great heel stable. Unfortunately for Eddie, the day after the Radicals arrival, he dislocated his elbow performing a frog splash at the Smackdown tapings in Detroit, Michigan.

Having returned to the WWE in April, Guerrero won the European Championship from Chris Jericho when Chyna turned on Y2J. The move led to a romantic union between Guerrero and Chyna that lasted through the summer of 2000. However, shortly after Eddie accidentally beat Chyna for the Intercontinental title, a segment of GTV caught Eddie in the shower with two women, crushing Chyna and ending their relationship.

Eddie's inner demons began to get the better of him. In June 2001, Eddie was sent to rehab after showing up "unable to perform." In November, Eddie was arrested for drunk driving and was released from the WWE.

In February 2002, Eddie came back to the spotlight, competing on a WWA pay-per-view "Revolution" where he defeated Psychosis and Juventud Guerrera for the WWA International Cruiserweight title. In March, he competed for New Japan Pro Wrestling.

In April 2002, he returned to WWE television, attacking Rob Van Dam on an edition of Raw, and defeating RVD three weeks later for the Intercontinental title at the Backlash pay-per-view.

Eddie would lose the title back to RVD in a ladder match, but seemed to be on the verge of a feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin before Austin left the WWE. Instead, Eddie teamed with Chris Benoit in a mini-reformation of the Radicals and soon after, the pair jumped from Raw to Smackdown.

While feuding with Edge over the summer of 2002, Eddie began teaming with his nephew Chavo Guerrero, Jr. to form Los Guerreros. The pair won a Triple Threat tag team match at the Survivor Series 2002 to win the WWE tag team titles, edging Benoit/Kurt Angle and Edge/Mysterio.

After a feud with John Cena, Eddie would team with Tajiri (subbing for Chavo) to become one-half of the Smackdown brand's tag team champions at Judgment Day in May 2003. After a month and a half of "cheating to win" (and retain the tag team titles), Eddie and Tajiri would lose the tag team titles to the World's Greatest tag team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) on July 3rd. After the match, Eddie turned on his partner, blaming Tajiri for the loss.

A week later, the tournament for the vacant United States Heavyweight Championship began and Eddie defeated the Ultimo Dragon, Billy Gunn and (at the Vengeance pay-per-view) Chris Benoit to win the tournament and the title.

On September 16, 2003, Eddie and Chavo defeated the World's Greatest Tag Team to regain the WWE tag team titles. Eddie was, at once, both the United States Champion and one-half of the WWE tag team Champions.

The Big Show ended Eddie's dual run as champion by defeating Eddie for the U.S. title at No Mercy in October 2003. Four days later, Chavo and Eddie would lose the tag titles to the Basham Brothers. As Los Guerreros attempted to regain the tag team titles, things began to go downhill between Chavo and Eddie and the two battled each other at the 2004 Royal Rumble.

After winning a mini-Royal Rumble, Eddie found himself the #1 contender to Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship. At No Way Out 2004, Eddie, with some help from Bill Goldberg, unseated Lesnar to become the new champion.

After defeating Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XX and getting by the Big Show, Eddie was next targeted by JBL. After retaining the title at the Judgment Day pay-per-view (despite a disqualification loss) Guerrero seemed to have defeated Layfield in a bullrope match at the Great American Bash on June 27th but Smackdown GM Kurt Angle reversed the decision and JBL was crowned the new champion.

With Angle reinstated as a wrestler, the classic feud between he and Guerrero raged on. A masked Angle interfered in a cage match between Layfield and Guerrero, helping JBL retain the title, and Angle defeated Eddie at SummerSlam. The Angle-Guerrero feud continued throughout the fall of 2004, later teaming with Rob Van Dam and the Big Show to take on Angle allies Luther Reigns and Mark Jindrak.

However, as the end of 2004 approached, Eddie was once again in the hunt for the WWE Championship, but neither he, nor The Undertaker nor Booker T were unable to unseat JBL in a Fatal Fourway match at Armageddon.

At No Way Out in February, Eddie teamed with Rey Mysterio Jr. to defeat the Basham Brothers to win the WWE tag team titles. However due to some miscommunication and with Chavo Guerrero fanning the flames of controversy, the team of Guerrero/Mysterio seemed doomed from the start.

Rey and Eddie battled at Wrestlemania XXI, with Mysterio coming out victorious. Although they shook hands after the bout, the problems between Rey and Eddie continued in the weeks after. Things certainly did not improve when Mysterio/Guerrero lost the tag team titles to MNM and during a rematch in England, Eddie walked out on Rey.

Attacking Mysterio a week later, Eddie turned heel and turned his back on his former partner. After Rey got a victory over Eddie, albeit by disqualification, at Judgment Day and then again on the June 23rd edition of Smackdown, Eddie became even angrier and more obsessed with getting revenge for the losses.

Soon the vendetta between Eddie and Rey became personal. Eddie approached Rey's son, Dominic, threatening to reveal a "secret" that would destroy Rey Mysterio. Eddie began to hold that secret over Rey's head, even when his own family begged him to let it go.

Eddie faced Rey at the Great American Bash saying that he would forget about the secret if Rey could defeat him one more time. Rey came out victorious, only to have Eddie reveal the secret (that he was Dominic's father) anyways. After social workers became involved, Rey met and defeated Eddie at SummerSlam in a ladder match for custody of Dominic. Undaunted Eddie would finally defeat Rey in a cage match on Smackdown in September.

Undaunted Eddie would finally defeat Rey in a cage match on Smackdown in September and was named the number one contender to Batista's World Championship. Rather than feud with Batista, Eddie decided to befriend the champion and even teamed with him on occasion.

Batista got the better of Eddie at No Mercy but Eddie remained close to Batista, perhaps all the better to get into position to once again meet (and this time defeat) Batista.

Whether or not Guerrero would have defeated Batista will never be known. SLAM Wrestling and the entire wrestling world was stunned to learn that, on the morning of Sunday, November 13, 2005, Guerrero was found dead in his hotel room in Minneapolis. He was 38 years old.
 -- compiled by John Milner, with files from John Molinaro

EDDIE GUERRERO STORIES

  • Nov. 14, 2008: New Guerrero DVD gives fans more than they could ever want
  • Feb. 15, 2007: Guerrero storyline dubious award winner
  • Nov. 13, 2006: One year later, Latino Heat still missed
  • Oct. 10, 2006: Golf secondary at Guerrero tournament
  • Feb. 8, 2006: Guerrero biography compellingly tragic
  • Nov. 21, 2005: Everybody wants to know... about Eddie Guerrero
  • Nov. 20, 2005: 'Way too many guys have died': JBL
  • Nov. 19, 2005: Column - Eddie had it all
  • Nov. 19, 2005: Wrestling world mourns Guerrero
  • Nov. 18, 2005: Smackdown: Capturing the essence of Eddie
  • Nov. 16, 2005: Meeting Eddie: A soldier's story
  • Nov. 15, 2005: Guerrero died of heart disease
  • Nov. 15, 2005: Raw: Giving it up for Eddie
  • Nov. 14, 2005: Column - R.I.P. Eddie, and other thoughts
  • Nov. 13, 2005: Eddie Guerrero found dead
  • Nov. 13, 2005: Guerrero kept battling back
  • Nov. 13, 2005: Fans remember Eddie Guerrero
  • May 26, 2005: Grapplers give Calgary props
  • May 15, 2005: One on one with Guerrero
  • Apr. 1, 2005: Guerrero wants another title run
  • Mar. 20, 2005: Guerrero's life back on track
  • Sep. 26, 2003: Guerrero wrestles with demons
  • March 2, 2002: Guerrero 'cut own throat'
  • June 8, 2001: Jim Ross: 'We're standing behind Eddie'
  • Mar. 01, 2001: Guerrero good to go
  • Nov. 99: Guerrero thrilled with WCW role