CAN YOU FEEL THE HEAT?
A member of the venerable Guerrero wrestling family, Eduardo Gory "Eddie" Guerrero Llanes
started out his career in childhood, as he and his nephew Chavo were allowed by his father, legendary promoter Gory Guerrero, to wrestle matches during intermissions. From there, Eddie launched into the family business headfirst.
(A little note: Eddie was the youngest of four brothers. So young, his nephew Chavo is only three years younger than him.)
Eddie's early exposure to wrestling audiences was limited to Mexico, as most of his formative years in the business were spent as part of the AAA promotion; it wasn't until the famous When Worlds Collide
event - co-promoted and co-presented by WCW
- where Guerrero was exposed to a wider audience. At the event, he and partner Art Barr faced off against the team of Octagón and El Hijo del Santo in a Hair Versus Mask Match (Guerrero and Barr lost, and had their heads shaved).
Guerrero wrestled around the world for the next few years, traveling both to Japan (where he met up with Chris Benoit
) and ECW
, where he started to gain a foothold in the American wrestling industry. When he arrived in WCW, Guerrero was made a part of the promotion's now-legendary Cruiserweight division, delivering solid matches with just about everyone he faced (including longtime friend Rey Mysterio Jr
.). It was in WCW that the seeds were sown for Guerrero's "Lie Cheat and Steal" gimmick, as he pushed Chavo (who had also signed with WCW) into believing the mantra "Cheat 2 Win" (going so far as to force an unwilling Chavo to wear a shirt with the saying).
In early 2000, Guerrero was one of a group of wrestlers who jumped ship from WCW to the WWF
in protest of Kevin Sullivan being put in charge of the promotion's booking; he was one of the first to become a standout singles star, too. Working his natural charisma, Eddie became known as "Latino Heat" and wooed Chyna
, entering into both a relationship and a feud with the powerful Diva as they spent the next year in the Intercontinental Title hunt.
In 2001, Guerrero was released from the company after an arrest for drunk driving, which happened following his being sent to rehab months earlier. Facing the loss of his career and possibly his family, Eddie started at rock bottom and worked his way back up. Eddie cleaned himself up and spent the first few months of 2002 wrestling for independent promotions (including the debut show of Ring of Honor
) before returning to WWE in April of 2002; by then, his nephew Chavo had signed with the company, and the two became a tag team, banking on Eddie's old "Cheat 2 Win" gimmick in WCW and turning it into their gimmick ("We lie, we cheat, and we steal...but at least we're honest about it"). "Lie, Cheat, and Steal" became part of Eddie's repetoire for the remainder of his career, whether he was a face or a heel.
For the next two years, Eddie slowly climbed to the top of his profession, and at No Way Out 2004
, Eddie hit the top when he defeated Brock Lesnar
for the WWE Championship. He followed this up the next month at WrestleMania 20
by defeating Kurt Angle
to retain the title, then joined Chris Benoit
following HIS successful win of the World Heavyweight Championship in one of the most memorable images in wrestling history.
Over the next year-and-a-half, Eddie's career fluctuated from high to low: he helped build the credibility of John Bradshaw Layfield
as a world champion over the summer of 2004, but he was also involved in one of the most tasteless and WrestleCrap-worthy
feuds of all time as he feuded with Rey Mysterio over the custody of Mysterio's son Dominick (who, kayfabe, was revealed to actually be the biological son of Guerrero).
In November of 2005, Guerrero was closing in on another world title shot, and was scheduled to be a part of a Survivor Series Match featuring members of the SmackDown
brand (which Eddie was a part of) going up against members of the Raw
brand. Tragically, however, Guerrero died of heart failure two weeks prior to the event
. The Monday and Friday following his death, WWE held two special tribute shows in the vein of the Owen Hart
tribute show a few years earlier, in which storylines were thrown out the window and matches were put on for the sake of tribute.
This would normally be the end of the story, but pro wrestling has a way of dragging things out well past their expiration date; Eddie Guerrero was no different.
Just weeks following his death, WWE began a campaign of what came to be known as "Eddiesploitation
", where Guerrero's name and legacy were used in the most tasteless ways possible - from Randy Orton
telling Rey Mysterio that Eddie was "in hell" to Mysterio acting as if he were receiving heavenly assistance from Eddie's spirt to Eddie's widow Vickie becoming an on-screen character (who later grew into a surprisingly effective villainous manager/authority figure in her own right). Strangely, the "Eddiesploitation" period heavily pushed Rey Mysterio as Eddie's successor, while Chavo Guerrero was largely ignored. WrestleCrap
gave this exploitation its annual Gooker Award in 2006, with RD Reynolds famously stating that while it was a necessary evil due to the site's mission, the induction was "the hardest induction he'd ever had to write".
Guerrero is fondly remembered to this day by fans as an excellent wrestler and a great human being.
Tropes associated with Eddie Guerrero include:
- Aborted Arc: A Face Heel Turn where Eddie would turn on then-tag-partner Tajiri was aborted. Eddie believed his low rider's paint job was more important than Tajiri's wellbeing, but Eddie was so crazy popular that the crowd actually agreed with him.
- Arch-Enemy: For most of his career, Eddie's was Rey Mysterio.
- Kurt Angle managed to be his nemesis both in the ring and as GM throughout Eddie's banner year of 2004.
- Awesome McCoolname: Guerrero is Spanish for "Warrior"
- Subverted in that it's actually his real name, unlike most wrestlers.
- Kind of. After his father Salvador Llanes gained success as Gory Guerrero, all of his sons have Guerrero in their names.
- Bad Ass: Eddie at Judgment Day 2004 after he'd been cut open; Eddie's literal crimson mask redefined the Muta Scale.
- Badass Beard: Or goatee. It depends.
- Bittersweet Ending: Eddie's last match, against Mr. Kennedy on the SmackDown prior to his death, where he qualified for the Survivor Series Match between SmackDown and Raw.
- What makes it moreso is that Eddie used his famous winning trick: grab a chair while the ref's not looking, slam the chair against the canvas, toss it to his opponent, lie down, and get the other guy disqualified when the ref turns around.
- Let us also not forget that Eddie had recently cleaned himself up off drugs and become a born-again religious man in an attempt to recover his life.
- Blond Guys Are Evil: His last long heel run had him noticeably bleaching his hair.
- Blood Is The New Black: Taken Up to Eleven at Judgment Day 2004.
- Breakup Breakout: Whilst it's debatable whether Eddie or Chris Benoit was the first of The Radicalz to find real singles success in WWE, Eddie was the first to be World Champion.note
- Cant Get Away With Nuthin: After Eddie lost the WWE title to JBL, he suffered this on occasion as both refs and opponents became more wise to his "family traditions". Refs caught him in the act, and opponents like longtime friend Rey Mysterio had known Eddie long enough to predict him and his bag of tricks.
- Card-Carrying Villain: To quote the Cheating Death, Stealing Life DVD, "I lie, I cheat, I steal, but hey - at least I'm honest about it."
- Cluster F-Bomb: During the infamous Dominic-custody-ladder match with Rey Mysterio, Vickie missed her cue, causing Eddie to fall on his ankle and hurt himself. Despite being a Born Again Christian at the time, you can hear Eddie going positively livid in the ring, swearing up a storm, and actually yells "FUCK HER!!!" at one point. Vickie, of course, is his wife.
- Combat Pragmatist: As a self-proclaimed cheater, he's not above using underhanded tactics to win a match (i.e. low-blows, thumb to the eyes, and more). And this is when he's a Face.
- Cool Car: He was bringing out a new one, usually a convertible with hydraulics, nearly every week for a while. Sometimes he even got a Cool Car-intro at "dark" shows (wrestling matches that were not filmed for broadcast).
- Dirty Coward: Averted in this case. Eddie was never portrayed this way, at least not as a face, because, even though he more or less consistently employed "cheating" tactics, most of his tricks were technically not illegal and his heel opponents were often using even more unethical methods (and the fact that they were total Jerkasses helped, too).
- Played straight as a Heel though, especially in WCW where he forced his nephew Chavo Jr. to do his bidding.
- Dominick, I'm your Papi: Towards the end of his feud with Rey Mysterio in the WWE, Eddie revealed that he was the biological father of Rey's son Dominick. Anyone who has ever seen Rey without his mask knew that Dominic is the spitting image of his father, and this detail has never been mentioned since the end of the feud.
- Guile Hero: As a face.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Chris Benoit, in one of wrestling's most infamous examples. Chris pretty much lost it after Eddie died.
- Also with nephew Chavo Guerrero, both in and out of the ring.
- Homage / Finishing Move: The Frogsplash became Eddie's signature move, but it was his partner Art Barr who originally used the move; when Barr died, Eddie started using the move in tribute to his partner.
- And after Guerrero died, several wrestlers worked the Frogsplash into their movesets in tribute to Eddie.
- Including Christian, who debuted in TNA on the very same day as Eddie's death.
- His widow, Vicki, also used her own variant at Wrestlemania XXVI, to a nice reception from the live audience. The internet audience were not so accepting of it unfortunately.
- Eddie also used an elevated cloverleaf called the "Lasso from El Paso."
- Hot Blooded: He wasn't called "Latino Heat" for nothin'.
- Hot Dad
- I Lied, Holmes
- Important Haircut: Around the time of his rise to the main event scene.
- It Will Never Catch On: Eddie— along with Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn, and Dean Malenko— were dubbed the "Vanilla Midgets" by Kevin Nash in WCW due to their supposed lack of both size and charisma. Due to this, they were never given a real push in the company. They jumped ship to WWE where both Benoit and Eddie became world champions and where Eddie showed he had enough charisma to fill a sports arena... which he often did.
- A prime example of this ideology in WCW pops up in one match Eddie had against Chris Benoit. It was an incredibly solid match and the crowd was behind them, but the commentators spent the entire match talking about Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan, and barely commentated on the action in the ring.
- Large Ham: Eddie had natural charisma on the mic, and he milked it for all it was worth.
- Lovable Rogue
- Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: Oh, yeah. Ric Flair was proud. At least until Eddie swapped their Royal Rumble numbers in 2005 (Flair had #30, while Eddie had #1). Oh, and stole Flair's wallet while he was at it.
- Opposites Attract: His on-screen romance with Chyna!
- Playing Against Type: His character lied, cheated, and stole. He also happened to be a a born-again Christian in real life.
- Crosses over to a point with The Artifact as he (much like Shawn Michaels) converted at the tail end of his career - also, much like HBK, by that point, his persona was so iconic that there was really no changing it.
- Power Stable: The Latino World Order, or LWO; the only reason this stable didn't get MORE popular in its brief existence is because of Eddie's car accident in 1999 that cut the angle short.
- A more straight example of this trope was during The Radicalz' first weeks in the WWF, where they forged an alliance with Degeneration-X to form a short-lived Super Power Stable. The most memorable moment of this short-lived alliance was the awesome 10-man tag in Dallas featuring The Radicalz teaming with Triple H and X-Pac against The Rock, Cactus Jack, Rikishi, and Too Cool, which also featured the return of Kane and Paul Bearer - and one of the single hottest crowds in Raw history.
- Rule of Three: In the last years of his career, Eddie started using a series of three vertical snap suplexes that became known as the "Three Amigos".
- Self Proclaimed Liar
- Spicy Latino
- S Word Privileges: Let's face it: no non-Hispanic Superstar could have gotten away with exploiting all the worst cultural stereotypes for all they were worth. To quote one of his entrance themes: "You wanna be Latino? If you're not cheating, you're not trying!"
- Three Amigos: His name for his sequence of three consecutive vertical suplexes.
- Tough Love: an angle during his WCW days was that Eddie "mentored" his nephew Chavo by setting him up against massive opponents and humiliating him when he lost.
- Unrelated Brothers: While many mistook Eddie and Chavo for brothers, they were actually uncle (Eddie) and nephew (Chavo) (though they were so close in age and were raised so closely that Chavo noted during the memorial broadcast that they were brothers in spirit).
- Villainous Breakdown: When Eddie turned heel in the spring of 2005 because of his massive jealousy of Rey Mysterio Jr, the Mood Whiplash from his "Hispanic cool dude" act to that of a raving lunatic was truly something to behold. Eddie's psychotic rages during this period would have to make the list if one were to catalog the most disturbing gimmicks in wrestling.
- Villain Rap: Sample lyrics from his theme: "I can't be beat/Comin' from the streets of the ghetto/At the end of the week/I get to keep your dinero/You're fast asleep when I sneak in your casa/Your life sucks 'cause you're bankrupt and I'm laughin'/You can't trust me, ese, 'cause I'm Latin!"
- As most face/heel tropes involving Eddie, however, it's played with, as that line was featured in all his themes from Los Guerreros up to his death, save for "Gangsta Lean", whether heel or face. His pre-Gangsta Lean heel theme though moves the line from third verse to first.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: He and Rey Mysterio Jr have been portrayed as worse of enemies and best of friends
- What Could Have Been: Eddie was scheduled to work at Survivor Series in 2005, as part of a team representing SmackDown going up against a team from Raw in a Traditional Survivor Series Match. Had Eddie lived to see that match, we could have potentially seen Eddie and Shawn Michaels face off in the ring for the very first time. (Perhaps made worse my Michaels noting during the memorial broadcast that they hadn't known each other in the ring, but instead through their shared faith.)
- What the Hell, Hero?: Played for Laughs.
- Worked Shoot: Eddie famously asked for his release on an episode of Nitro, and was out of WCW for a few months, because he was angry at Eric Bischoff's refusal to give him a bigger push; Guerrero offered contradicting statements about the promo and the events leading up to it, but many believe the bit was a worked shoot...especially when you consider that Guerrero's return was followed shortly by the formation of the Latino World Order.
- Worthy Opponent: Rey Mysterio and John Bradshaw Layfield.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: When the Easily-Distracted Referee's back was turned, he'd slam a chair on the ground, throw it to his opponent, and then lay down like he'd just taken a chair shot. Ref turns around, sees the "carnage", and DQ's the opponent. And this was while he was a Face, mind you.
- Idiot Ball: You'd think, after a while, refs would get wise to this trick and call him on it but it usually worked right up to his last match.
- You're expecting refs to get wise to ANYTHING?! Are you a wrestling fan or not?
- Well, they did start to get wise right up until the WWE realized the crowd liked Eddie cheating and the refs went back to being utterly clueless.
- WrestleCrap: Eddie's feud with Rey Mysterio over Dominick, as well as the "Eddiesploitation" mentioned above. When the exploitation of his death received the dubious Gooker award, this was part of the introdution:
On the marquee of this site, it says, “The Very Worst of Professional Wrestling.” Truly, this induction is the very embodiment of that tagline. The seemingly never ending exploitation of the late, great Eddie Guerrero is the absolute worst of pro wrestling, bar none.
- Wrestler Existence Failure: A longstanding rumor is that on the day he died, Eddie was scheduled to win the World Heavyweight Championship (which would have been his second world title) at the Raw/Smackdown Supershow taping in a Triple Threat Match so that an injured Batista could drop the title and not lose any credibility (and to also set up a rematch later down the line).
- Stephanie McMahon-Levesque more or less confirmed this.
- Not quite. In Batista's book, he says that the original plan was for Orton to win in the triple threat.
- Wrestling Family: One of many members of the famous Guerrero family.
- Youngest Child Wins: He is the youngest of the Guerreros and the most successful.
Viva la raza!