Monday, November 13, 2017

Appreciating Eddie Guerrero

Viva la Raza!
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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November 13, 2005, the world of professional wrestling changed forever. It's the day Eddie Guerrero died. It's hard to believe 12 years have passed. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating Latino Heat in a WWE ring, climbing to new heights. 

I'll admit, I am a wrestling fan who did not fully appreciate Eddie when he was still alive. Yes, I enjoyed his matches, but I never gave him the credit he was owed while he was wrestling. My first real memories of Guerrero came during the summer of 1995 when I stumbled upon ECW on a late night cable channel. His matches against Dean Malenko were impressive. Of course, I knew the Guerrero name, having seen Chavo Senior as a competitor in Bill Watts' UWF.

It wasn't long after that summer encounter that Eddie became a part of Mondy Nitro. There he continued to impress fans and made a name for himself. However, there was that glass ceiling of sorts and no matter how good he was or how much the fans cheered him, he wasn't going to get beyond the lWo or the cruiserweights.

Latino Heat
Courtesy: WWE
Even when he, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Malenko signed with WWE in early 2000; I had concerns about how the group would be treated. Despite some bumps in the road, Eddie finally started getting some of the spotlight he had so richly deserved. I thoroughly enjoyed his Latino Heat run with Chyna. Then in early 2004, he did the unthinkable. Eddie not only pinned Brock Lesnar, but he became the WWE Champion. I have no stats in front of me, but I'd suspect you can't count many men who have pinned Lesnar. (John Cena, Triple H, Big Show, Kurt Angle and Undertaker are the only others that come to mind.)

Benoit & Guerrero
Courtesy: WWE
One of my favorite WrestleMania moments is Benoit and Guerrero celebrating with their respective championship belts in a sea of confetti at the end of 20 (send your hate tweets to @kevinhunsperger). Eddie had a brilliant match earlier in the night where he outsmarted Angle and beat him in a WWE Championship defense. He'd come up with the whole "lie, cheat, steal" mantra, something you wouldn't expect as a good guy, but Eddie made it work. Even in what would become his final match, he pulled a fast one on Mr. Kennedy and the referee, making it look like Kennedy had whacked him with a chair. 

Eddie's HOF Induction 
I consider myself lucky to have been in the crowd the night Eddie was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He had so many amazing matches through the years and hung with the biggest and best in the business. The saying "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" holds true in several cases with me, but Eddie Guerrero may be the most glaring example of that. Thanks, Eddie and rest in peace. 


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