Eddie Guerrero was Much More than Just a WWE Superstar
In the early 2000s, Eddie Guerrero was one of the most beloved wrestlers in WWE. After paying his dues in Japan, Mexico and WWE’s rival, World Championship Wrestling, Guerrero eventually became WWE Champion in 2004. Not bad for a kid from El Paso, Texas. Along with grapplers such as Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio, Guerrero proved that smaller-sized wrestlers could become superstars. In 2005, at the height of his popularity, Guerrero died of a heart attack. He was only 38. Although he became a superstar in WWE, his early career is packed with fun facts:
Eddie’s father, Gory Guerrero, was a lucha libre legend. For many years, Gory was the tag team partner of El Santo, the most iconic luchador in Mexican history.
That’s El Santo shaking hands with Gory. Later in his career, Gory “turned” on El Santo and became one of his biggest rivals.
Early in his career, Eddie Guerrero wrestled in Japan under a mask. His name was “Black Tiger.”
Credit: New Japan / Legit Puroresu / YouTube
When Guerrero left Japan to wrestle in Mexico, he switched to a different mask. Guerrero became “Máscara Mágica.”
But Guerrero wasn’t happy wearing the mask. So he made history as one of the few luchadores to unmask himself.
Credit: Rob Viper / YouTube
In lucha libre, your mask is sacred. It’s considered humiliating to lose your mask to an opponent. But Guerrero said he was tired of hiding under a mask. He felt it was more important to let fans know he was carrying on the legacy of his father, Gory.
Eddie eventually became the tag team partner of El Hijo del Santo.
They became one of Mexico’s most popular tag teams in the ’90s. But just like his father, Eddie turned on El Hijo del Santo and became his nemesis.
Eddie then teamed up with “Love Machine” Art Barr to form the anti-Mexican tag team Los Gringos Locos.
Credit: WWE / Tumblr
Yep, the same guy who eventually became known as “Latino Heat” is slapping away a Mexican flag in that GIF. Aside from wearing the US flag all over their bodies, Los Gringos Locos also chanted “USA, USA” and insulted Mexicans any chance they got. Naturally, they became the “rudo” tag team Mexicans loved to hate.
The “Frog Splash,” Eddie signature move…
Was inspired by his partner in Los Gringos Locos.
The frog splash was originally the signature move of his partner Art Barr, who died in 1994. Eddie began doing the move to play tribute to his friend.
Guerrero had been wrestling professionally for nearly two decades before he won the WWE Championship in 2004.
Credit: The Hellraiser / Wikimedia
Guerrero made his pro debut in 1987. For years, WWE was dominated by large, powerful wrestlers such as Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. So when he and friend Chris Benoit – both of them were under six feet tall – won title belts at Wrestlemania XX, they met together at the center of the ring for an emotional celebration.