Eddie Guerrero will go down in history as one of the greatest performers in wrestling history. A rare blend of technique and showmanship, Guerrero not only won many championships, but the respect and accolades of both his fans and his peers. Ten years ago this week, Guerrero passed away in Minneapolis, leaving behind a lifetime of memories and moments.
But what was the greatest Eddie Guerrero moment of all time?
Earlier this week, we asked you what is the greatest Eddie Guerrero moment ever, and as always, you've come through. After making you read through a huge wall of text with the last countdown, we'll skip the honorable mentions and cut right to the money round. With that...
the top 10 Eddie Guerrero moments of all time.
(as voted by you, the Cagesiders, so if this list doesn't meet your expectations, it's your fault, not mine.)
Eddie Guerrero steals Kurt Angle's merchandise by superbatista619
10. Eddie Guerrero steals Kurt Angle's stuff.
By 2004, most every WWE fan had come around on Eddie Guerrero's lying, cheating, and thieving ways. After all, he was a man of integrity: he said what he did and he did what he said. And it took him to the top of the world. Kurt Angle, himself a man of integrity, did not like this, and essentially screwed him out of the title during his brief run as Smackdown General Manager.
The reason why Angle's run as Smackdown GM was brief was as it turned out, he could walk and wrestle and everything. Angle's stuff was about to get tossed in a dumpster in Cincinnati... stuff that turned up in the backseat of Eddie's lowrider for some reason. Because Eddie stole it.
Of course he did.
Since Kurt wasn't going to claim his stuff that was about to get thrown out, including his wheelchair, his cast, a framed picture of Kurt when he was WWE Champion (complete with championship belt), and a couple of Kurt's many gold medals, Eddie was going to auction it off. See, it was around this time WWE started their own auction website, selling stuff used on their shows to the highest bidder for charity (for the record, it still exists today). And Kurt's stuff was about to join the "sold to the highest bidder category" when Kurt finally came out for his stuff.
Or, for that matter, Eddie Guerrero's car. Kurt was about to go full Grand Theft Auto III. But Kurt got a surprise when he turned the ignition: powder in the eyes. I'm not sure how much of a deterrent that would make in a real situation, but for this one, it worked. Eddie may have been a liar, a cheat, and a thief. But he wasn't an idiot.
9. When Worlds Collide.
Even the biggest diehard fans tend to forget that Eddie Guerrero had a brief run in WCW in the early 1990s. For most people, their first exposure to the future Latino Heat came in the summer of 1994 during their When Worlds Collide event co-promoted by AAA.
Down in Mexico, the Texas-born Guerrero paired with Art Barr to form La Pareja del Terror (The Pair of Terror, later Los Gringos Locos, or the Crazy Americans), and the two would become probably the most hated tag team in lucha libre history. That covers a lot of ground. Think the ECW version of the Dudley Boyz, but in Mexico, and you probably still don't have the half of it.
Their big feud was against lucha legends El Hijo del Santo and Octagon, whom they took the IWC/AAA tag team titles from. Their feud became so violent, it had to be settled the only way they could settle things down in Mexico: through sacrifice of hair or a mask. What was originally intended to be Guerrero versus Santo in a hair versus mask match became Los Gringos Locos versus Hijo del Santo and Octagon in a best-of-three falls double elimination hair versus mask match.
The bout would be one of the greatest and most emotional in lucha libre history, and would be the first ever (and to this day, only) five-star rated match in AAA. In the end, Santo and Octagon won. But the bout attracted offers from all sides across the border, but it would be ECW that got Los Gringos Locos. Unfortunately, only one would make the trip, as Art Barr suffered a drug-related heart attack and died just two and a half weeks after the event. Guerrero in tribute would adopt Barr's frog splash, a move that would bring him many victories and championships in his career.
8. Judgment Day 2004 vs. JBL.
So... spoiler alert, everyone. Judgment Day 2004 is a bad show. It came off the heels of the first ever WWE Draft Lottery, and Smackdown's roster looked very different than a year earlier: John Cena was not quite a main-eventer, Undertaker practically just got back from a sabbatical, Kurt Angle was on the DL, and Booker T (who had come over in the Draft Lottery) was still recovering from his Wrestlemania XIX loss. Oh, and Brock Lesnar: he went bye-bye after Wrestlemania XX, meaning you had guys like Mordecai, Hardcore Holly, Rene Dupree wrestling on PPV. It also meant lifetime mid-carder John "Bradshaw" Layfield was shoved into the main event. And make no mistake: he was SHOVED. Like square peg-round hole shoved.
JBL would be Eddie's first opponent following the brilliant Angle feud. The feud featured a couple of heart attacks (whether they were real or not depends on who's telling the story) and what would be one of the most brutal brawls ever featuring the most vicious chairshot ever. And that covers a lot of ground.
Remember when Mankind took like a dozen unprotected chairshots to the head? He didn't bleed nearly as much as when JBL delivered that one shot to Guerrero. I mean Guerrero's face was full Passion of the Christ. I honestly have (and mind you, I watched ECW--the original, not whatever WWE tried to pass off as ECW in the mid and late aughts) never seen that much blood flowed out of a head in my life, and chances are, you probably haven't either.
Eventually, Guerrero gets disqualified when he loses his shit and nails JBL with the WWE Championship belt. That unfortunately meant THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE. It probably shouldn't have. 235,000 buys for the show, at the time, one of the lowest in company history. And unfortunately a sign of things to come when JBL won the title a month later.
7. Eddie's WWE Championship celebration.
5'8", 220 pound men don't get to be a major promotion's world champion. This isn't opinion, mind you. This is fact. There's at least a half century of evidence to back this up. Sure you have your occasional outlier, but men of that size have a ceiling, and more often than not, they hit it.
But then you have men like Eddie Guerrero. Sometimes they have talent and charisma that is so undeniable, fans will get behind them and force the promotion's hand. It' s a rarity, especially among the big leagues. Eventually, because you know promotions care about getting the fan's money and all, they'll cave and give them a chance.
In February 2004, Eddie Guerrero, a man once on the verge of death, became the 31st man to hold the top prize in the wrestling business, the WWE Championship. Two days after his win, he had a celebration fit for a champion. A champion who had beaten conception, personal demons, and death to reach the top of the mountain.
6. RAW is Eddie.
The sudden loss of Eddie Guerrero shook fans and peers to their core. After all, this was a man seemingly in his prime cut down far too early. But even in the face of such a tragic loss, the show must go on.
The next night's RAW from the Target Center in Minneapolis (which, by the way, was taped on the evening of his death) served as a tribute show for the late Eddie Guerrero, with wrestlers sharing their thoughts on him as a performer and as a person. To say that he was beloved would be an understatement. Much like the RAW is Owen tribute show in 1999, storylines were cast aside in favor of one-off tribute matches. Smackdown, which was also taped that evening to air later that week, also featured one-off matches. (In a bit of trivia, the RAW Eddie Guerrero tribute show featured the first ever match between John Cena and Randy Orton.)
It's hard to imagine getting the news of one of your co-workers being found dead that morning, then having to turn around to go to work that evening with that emotional pain still fresh in the mind. It's a pain I hope from the bottom of my heart none of you get to experience.
5. Why Eddie why?
Eddie Guerrero when he was on can make you feel things, whether he was a face, heel, or tweener. When he spoke, he often did so with conviction. And even if you didn't want to boo him, he could find a way to get you to boo him.
Nobody wanted to boo Eddie Guerrero in 2005. Not even when he turned on Rey Mysterio in a fit of rage. But often, WWE tries to fit that square peg into that round hole. And once in a while, that square peg goes in. Eddie went in on his former BFF and his fans, even so much as threatening to kill Rey Mysterio if he came back for revenge (no, seriously, he pretty much said that). And by the time he was done talking, people wanted to see Eddie get his full and just comeuppance. The story takes a bizarre turn over the next few months, but sociopath Eddie Guerrero was just as good as "liar, cheat, and thief" Eddie Guerrero.
Brock Lesnar Eddie Guerrero Promo - "Addiction... by f100000094063892
4. I'm an addict.
I'd talk about Brock Lesnar's epic dance here. And his epic sombrero. See, Brock can have fun, you guys.
Never mind that shit, here comes Eddie Guerrero, and Eddie is not amused. Fuck your mic stands. Fuck your mariachi band. Sorry. Digressing.
Brock Lesnar wanted to celebrate his impending victory over Eddie Guerrero at the weekend's No Way Out, cementing himself in the main event of Wrestlemania XX. Then Brock drops the A word.
For you younger fans, Eddie Guerrero was at one point in his life addicted to painkillers; so much so, he ended up in WWE-sponsored rehab in 2001. A rehab he would ultimately complete, but not until after he was fired from the company after being arrested for drunk driving. Eventually, Eddie righted himself for the sake of himself, his family, and his career.
Sorry, digressing again. After Brock runs off what he's done while Eddie's been fighting his problems, Eddie lets loose with one of the most passionate promos in the history of ever.
First of all, holmes.. I gotta give it to you man, that was pretty good. You wanna talk about addiction, ese? You wanna go down that road, vato loco? Orela ese.. y'know what, holmes? We're goin' down that road, well let's do what we say in Spanish, let's tell it straight up man. The truth is, Brock... I am an addict. See Brock, about three years ago holmes, in Minneapolis, Minnesota vato - your home state - that's right, vato. In the shower in the locker room, oh man, I was hiiiiigh, bro. I was hiiiiiiigh, hiiiiiiigh, hiiiiiiigh! And I don't remember much about that night ese, but what I do remember though.. is them carrying me... out of that arena, holmes. They carried me out of that arena, and they carried me straight into rehab. And see, they didn't do that, I did that to myself, vato. But that was just the beginnin' of it, ese. Because see, through all that time bro, through all those three years, not only did I wind up losing my job... I lost my wife.. I lost my kids... and I lost myself! I lost my spirit. I DISGRACED MY RACE, I DISGRACED MY FAMILY, AND I DISGRACED MYSELF! But you know what, Brock? I came to a point in my life ese vato, I came to a point where it was do or die holmes, I had to make a decision! Do or die? And you know what ese, I did.. because I'm here right now! Day by day, by the grace of God, I have earned my way back in to this ring, man! DAY BY DAY, BY THE GRACE OF GOD, I HAVE EARNED THE RESPECT OF MY KIDS AGAIN! DAY BY DAY, I HAVE EARNED MY LIFE BACK! And see holmes, when I stand across you, and I see that across your waist, you know what that symbolises for me, ese? That symbolises for me... I'm sorry. That's my way of telling my family I'm sorry. That's my way of telling my kids I'm gonna provide a better way of life for them, I'm gonna get the bikes that they wanted, I'm gonna give them a better education! That's my new addiction, holmes! See, when I step into this ring bro, yeah, I am addicted; I'm addicted to the high that I get from them... I'm addicted to the high that I get when I go home and I tell my family, "Hey, I'm doing it!" I'm addicted to the satisfaction that I get to tell everybody like you that didn't believe in me, you can stick it up your ass! I'm addicted to the do or die feeling holmes, that I'm gonna have this Sunday night at No Way Out! Because you know as well as I do holmes, ohhhhh what a high it is when we're in here, brother! See, but the difference between me and you bro, IS THAT I'M AN ADDICT, AND I'LL DO ANYTHING, AND RUN OVER ANYBODY THAT IT'S GONNA TAKE TO GET THAT AROUND MY WAIST, AND GET MY HIGH AT NO WAY OUT AND BECOME THE WWE CHAMPION. ORELA, VATO!
I'd tell you how this story ends, but that comes later in this countdown. Spoilz, everyone.
3. Halloween Havoc 1997 versus Rey Mysterio, Jr.
The Cruiserweight division in WCW in its prime was probably the best division in pro wrestling in the United States by a considerable margin. Two of the men leading the way were Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, Jr., who by this point have pretty much become blood rivals. So much so that it came down to a title versus mask at Halloween Havoc 1997.
Let it never be said that EVIL Eddie Guerrero was as fun to watch as GOOD Eddie Guerrero. He was vicious, doing anything and everything possible to hold on to his title and take Rey's mask, even attempt to take Rey's mask while the match was in progress. In the end, it was a second-rope splash mountain powerbomb reversed into a hurancanrana that resulted in Rey becoming the cruiserweight champion. Never mind that Rey lost the belt back to Eddie just two weeks later. The two put on what was WCW's best match of 1997. It would have been wrestling's match of the year, but... there was that one match at Wrestlemania. And that one match from three weeks earlier. You know, the one in the cell? Nonetheless, on its own, it's a must watch.
2. Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit on top of the world.
A quick confession: both this moment and the one ahead of it finished with the same number of recs. Even in a tiebreaker, it finished with the same number of recs. I ranked this one lower for one reason: officially, in WWE canon, this never happened.
As mentioned earlier, the overwhelming history of the most successful wrestlers in history is filled with those with hulking physiques and superhero-like bodies and limited movesets. Sure you have your exceptions like Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, and Harley Race (to name a few).
Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero by most accounts wasn't supposed to make it to the top of the mountain, much less make it together. They had similar builds, they had technical prowess that was second to none, but they didn't set the world on fire on the mic. (Well, Eddie did. Chris, not so much.) For the simple fact that they were small, they never got a fair shake in WCW. Hell, they barely got one in WWE.
But a funny thing happened: people loved watching Guerrero and Benoit perform. They weren't shoved up the card or handpicked by the powers that be to be the focal point of the company. They were at the top of the mountain through a little thing called grit and determination. And fan support. Lots and lots of fan support. Guerrero got his moment at No Way Out, a moment validated when he defeated Kurt Angle a month later at Wrestlemania XX.
The show's main event saw Chris Benoit, a man who left WCW with a pity world title reign, submit Triple H to win a triple threat thriller and claim the World Heavyweight Championship. Post-match, the longtime best friends, two men who had traveled up and down and around the world together, often as rivals, occasionally as partners, share a genuine embrace. Two men that beat the odds and the system (and much more in Eddie's case) to be world champions. Two men that were at the height of their professional lives.
A high that neither man would experience again. Guerrero died 19 months later of heart failure; Benoit would die in 2007, but only after doing the unthinkable: kill his wife and son before committing suicide. Benoit's legacy and history was all but wiped from WWE canon, with his moments only existing in hushed conversation, the Internet, and WWE Network.
Sadly, this moment is one of them, a beautiful moment that would become a haunting picture of the mortality of our mat heroes.
1. Eddie Guerrero wins the WWE Championship.
On February 15, 2004, Eddie Guerrero challenged Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, and for all intents and purposes, a main event spot at Wrestlemania XX. The two had very effective gameplans: Eddie using his quickness and taking out Brock at the knees, negating some of his power moves. Brock, on the other hand, would use his power and intimidation and superior mat technique.
Eddie's game plan of hanging around and cutting Brock down worked. What probably would have been a quick ten- or fifteen-minute beating in favor of Brock turned into a half-hour of hell. Late in the match, Eddie, who was only 220 pounds, hit the Three Amigos on the 300-pound Lesnar. He missed on the frog splash. Lesnar regained his bearings and hit the F-5. But Guerrero's legs collided with Brian Hebner's face, leaving all three men down. Lesnar grabs the WWE Championship belt and plans to titleshot Eddie in the face. Then Goldberg, through the crowd, rushed the ring, and GORED Lesnar out of his boots. Here's hoping Lesnar did not have catering because it would have ended up on the canvas.
The crowd rises to their feet. Eddie covers. But it only got a two. Eddie then sees the championship belt. Hebner still down. Eddie, staggered, attempts to titleshot Brock in the face, but Brock ducks. But Brock's F-5 is countered into a DDT on the title belt. Eddie goes up and scores with the frog splash. All Hebner could do was count. 1. 2. 3.
Eddie just pulled off one of the biggest upsets in WWE history. Eddie defeats Brock and becomes the WWE Champion. With his family and friends and a raucous crowd behind him, a lifetime of perseverance finally paid off. One of wrestling's truly good guys was finally rewarded. Some would argue this is the greatest Eddie Guerrero moment of all time. I know I will. Some will argue Guerrero's and Benoit's Wrestlemania XX moment as the best. And honestly, it's just as valid.
Viva la raza. And thanks for the memories, Eddie. You're sorely missed around these parts.
That's the list. Did we miss any (and by we, I mean you)? Give out about it in the comments if you will. Then check out these past Cageside Countdowns, including one that caused quite a bit of controversy recently.