The Unpopular Opinion: The Top 10 Wrestlers of the 2000’s (Part 6)

(Feras / Flickr)

No. 6: Eddie Guerrero

Pro wrestler Eddie Guerrero in 2004. (paddynapper / Wikimedia Commons)

 Eddie Guerrero is one of the greatest wrestlers that the wrestling world had to say goodbye to way too soon. Guerrero was one of the most beloved wrestlers to ever grace a wrestling ring both by the fans and the men and women of the locker room. 

Eddie’s technical ability and storytelling was second to none. His goal every time he stepped in the ring was to steal the show and steal the show he did, along with our hearts.

Entering the new millennium, Eddie was under contract with WCW but that January, he made the move to the WWF, alongside close friends: Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit, all of which were former WCW wrestlers. They made an instant impact on their debut on Monday Night Raw.

From that moment, Eddie was in the big leagues but had to figure out how to stand out amongst the big fish. In came the Latino Heat we all came to love.

Alongside Chyna, Eddie would use his innocent Latino Heat charm to persuade his Mamacita. His on-screen relationship with Chyna instantly made Eddie one of the most popular stars and must-see every time they were together.

Eddie Guerrero alongside late WWE Diva Chyna. (daily attitude / YouTube)

After the relationship soured, Eddie focused once again as a singles competitor winning championships along the way. However, in 2001, his demons caught up to him. 

Eddie was involved in a car accident in late 1999 which led him down a road of addiction to painkillers. Then in 2001, he was arrested for drunk driving which ultimately released him from the WWF.

This dark time brought Eddie to a crossroads in life. In his time away from the WWF, he wrestled on the independent circuit and regained his true passion for professional wrestling. He wrestled across independent promotions across the world like Ring of Honor.

In 2002, he returned to the WWF and made the most of his second chance to rewrite his story. During the first WWF/E Draft, he made his way to SmackDown.

While on SmackDown, he teamed with his nephew Chavo Guerrero where they would revolutionize tag team wrestling. Los Guerreros would rival with teams such as Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit and Edge & Rey Mysterio for the new SmackDown Tag Team Championships. 

Guerrero facing off against Chris Benoit. (Forever Hardcore / Flickr)

Together the collection of grapplers would be named the SmackDown Six. These three teams changed the game of what fans knew about tag team wrestling. 

Los Guerreros would continue teaming and would push up the future tag teams of SmackDown like The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas & Shelton Benjamin) and The Basham Brothers (Doug and Danny).

While being with his nephew in the tag team scene, Eddie would also thrive as a singles competitor. Eddie would win the resurrected United States Championship in 2003 and had his sights set on the ultimate prize.

In 2004, Eddie had the opportunity to reach the top at No Way Out. However, he had to conquer Brock Lesnar to do so. But, the heart and determination pushed him to finally reach the top and win the WWE Championship. 

Guerrero winning the WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar at “No Way Out.” (WWE / YouTube)

Eddie not only overcame the tall task of Brock Lesnar, but this was his redemption, overcoming trials, tribulations and his demons to finally reach his full potential. He finally reached the top level in the business and silenced his doubters. Eddie was finally on top of the world.

Eddie’s time on top led him to being in one of the main events of WrestleMania 20 against Kurt Angle. The two stole the show in the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden. 

Eddie came out the winner in possibly the biggest match of his career. However, the match did not end his night. Later in the night, Chris Benoit won the World Heavyweight Championship in the main event in a triple threat which involved Shawn Michaels and Triple H. 

While celebrating his World Heavyweight Championship triumph, Eddie came down to celebrate with his longtime friend. The two shared one of the greatest moments in WrestleMania history. 

(dx22 / Flickr)

However, the moment will never be remembered due to the horrific actions of Chris Benoit that I will not be speaking about in this piece.

After losing the WWE Championship, Guerrero went back to developing the future of SmackDown. He would continue chasing the WWE Championship but was never able to win it back. He would begin teaming with friend Rey Mysterio where they would go on to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.

As Champions, they would go on to face each other at WrestleMania 21, being a significant piece into their upcoming rivalry. Eddie became someone who we never thought we would see. A vicious and malicious villain with a new attitude. Eddie turned his back on those close to him.

This led him to feud with World Champion Batista, where they would strangely form a bond that was closer to brothers. However, before the bond could continue to grow, the world of professional wrestling would receive the news they never thought they would hear.

On November 13, 2005, Eddie Guerrero passed away due to heart failure in his hotel room. he was only 38 years old. 

(WatchMojo.com / YouTube)

Eddie is missed by the WWE Universe every day. He was a constant professional in and out of the ring. He was someone who had a passion for this business. He loved performing in front of the world, and always stole the show. Rest in Peace Eddie Guerrero.

David Jacobus
Contributing Writer

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