From humble beginnings in El Paso, Texas, to the high-life traveling the world with the WWE, Eddie Guerrero has had one of the greatest impacts on the professional wrestling industry that not many people acknowledge to its full extent. The “Papi” of the WWE Universe is regarded as one of the most influential WWE superstars of all time. Now we know Eddie loved to do things in threes. He had three words in his catchphrases, “Lie, Cheat and Steal” and “Viva La Raza”. He even had his beloved three-worded signature move, the “Three Amigos” which was a trio of rolling vertical suplexes. Due to his love of threes, we decided to pinpoint “Latino Heat’s” three biggest impacts on the pro wrestling industry.
1. There is an abundance of underdog-like superstars at the top of the WWE ranks
Prior to Eddie Guerrero winning the WWE Championship in an epic, 30 minute match against Brock Lesnar, there had been no WWE Champion shorter than five feet, ten inches tall. After Guerrero won the WWE championship, there has been a plethora of underdog-like WWE Champions. The night of WrestleMania 22, saw one of Eddie’s closest friends, Rey Mysterio, win the World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Match against Randy Orton (the person he pinned to win the title) and Kurt Angle (defending champion). When Mysterio won, Eddie’s widow, Vickie Guerrero and his nephew, Chavo celebrated in the ring in memory of Eddie since he had passed away months prior. Mysterio is the shortest World Champion in WWE history. Also in 2014, Daniel Bryan climbed the highest mountain in the industry when he competed in two matches on the night of WrestleMania XXX. Bryan went up against 14-time World Champion, Triple H, whom he defeated. He then main evented the card and defeated Randy Orton (defending champion) and Batista (2014 Royal Rumble winner) in a Triple Threat match where Bryan made Batista tap-out after a grueling twenty three minute match. Bryan competed in nearly an hour worth of matches while defeated three men to finally earn his much-deserved respect and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
2. There has been a surplus of foreign superstars being pushed to the top by WWE compared to the past
Since “Latino Heat’s” WWE Championship reign, there have been seven, first-time World Champions since his death in late 2005 that are not of American descent. The diverse champions are as listed in order of victory date: Rey Mysterio (Mexico), Edge (Canada) The Great Khali (India), Christian (Canada), Sheamus (Ireland), Alberto Del Rio (Mexico) and Jinder Mahal (Canada). These championship reigns have also resulted in WWE branching out to more international markets than before. The more recent title victory for Jinder Mahal positively affected the WWE’s presence in Southeast Asia and later resulted in the announcement of WWE holding their first-ever tryout to be held in India. The victories of Mysterio and Del Rio helped the WWE target more viewers of hispanic descent.
3. Along with the death of Chris Benoit being a crucial factor as well, the WWE incorporated a Wellness Policy to prevent substance abuse within its employees
On November 13, 2005, the wrestling world changed forever as “Latino Heat” Eddie Guerrero, passed away in his Marriott hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota due to heart failure. This shook the WWE and the wrestling world to its core as on the date of his death, a Triple Threat match between himself, Batista, and Randy Orton was supposed to take place to air on that week’s episode of SmackDown!. The World Heavyweight Championship was on the line, and Guerrero had been booked to win the championship. As Sports Illustrated continued an investigation of an HGH and steroid ring within professional athletes, Guerrero along with several other WWE superstars (current and former) were alleged to have received HCG and other steroids in early 2005. The WWE had not yet instituted their Wellness Policy so there was no way to detect whether superstars were using illegal substances or not. The Wellness Policy was originally implemented on February 27, 2006 and has been revised and amended five times in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Since 2006, there have been around 45 suspensions dished out to WWE talent who have tested positive for illegal/banned substances. The policy has a three-strike procedure where if a WWE talent tests positive three times, their contracts will be terminated and released immediately.
As times goes on, Guerrero’s legacy grows larger and larger as new generations of wrestling fans discover his art and beautiful storytelling in and out of the squared circle. Guerrero has influenced and inspired a number of current WWE talent. He has been complimented by Ric Flair as one of his top ten opponent. Kurt Angle has said that Eddie is the second greatest wrestler of all time and WWE has ranked “Latino Heat” as the best technical wrestler of all time and the fifth greatest performer in the history of the Smackdown brand. As we reminisce on the life of our “Papi”, Eddie Guerrero, we remember his three most impactful words, “Viva La Raza”.