Welcome to the inaugural ‘What if…’ post! The section where we look at different wrestling related stories from the past and wonder what might have happened had certain events taken a different course. These will include booking decisions by management and events that occurred outside the ring that were beyond anyone’s control. Feel free to comment on these stories and share your opinions on what could have happened, so here we go!
Today we’re looking at one of the all-time greats in Eddie Guerrero. He is one of only 6 men in WWE history to hold every modern championship, the most recent being the WWE World title after beating Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004. However, Latino Heat sadly passed away in November 2005 following a heart attack that was supposedly caused by his history of substance abuse. His death was arguably the most tragic event of the year as this was the year where Eddie was in the prime of his career and a huge main-event star on Smackdown.
That year, he won the tag titles for the 4th time by defeating the Bashams alongside Rey Mysterio, his first championship since losing the WWE title to JBL at the Great American Bash the year before. At the time he was a face character and a huge favourite amongst fans, most notably for his ‘Lie, Cheat & Steal’ persona. Instead of supposedly defending the tag titles at Wrestlemania 21, he had a 1v1 with Mysterio instead, which inevitably set up their epic summer feud.
His feud with Mysterio was one of the biggest storylines of the year and one of the best written by management. The rivalry revolved around jealousy, secrets and even Mysterio’s family (his son Dominick in particular). Ultimately he lost the feud after a ladder match at Summerslam. Guerrero lost all the matches that took place between them, but it didn’t really make him look weak. His craftiness along with the ‘Lie, Cheat & Steal’ added excitement and tension throughout the whole feud and was supported by the two having so many great PPV matches.
After finally beating Mysterio in a steel cage match, he returned to the World title picture and faced Batista at No Mercy, unsuccessfully capturing the title. His friendship with Batista helped bring back ‘classic’ Eddie as he brought back the low-rider in his entrances as well as his old theme music thus turning him back to a face character. Personally, I thought his classic gimmick was best out of all of them and looking back on his heel turn, it was what he needed to be a bit more edgy for generating brilliant feuds.
After qualifying for the Smackdown Survivor Series team that year, I had a feeling that Eddie was gonna work his way to becoming champion once again, but little did anyone know that qualifying match would have been his last. Eddie died a few days after that Smackdown episode aired and tribute shows took place the following week.
So what if Eddie was still alive today? How many years would he have had left with WWE? Could he have won the world title a few more times? Eddie was 38 at time of his death which means he would be 47 at the time of this post. Potentially, I think Eddie would have retired from in-ring competition by this stage, but it would have been good to see him take on a corporate role along with his wife Vickie and nephew Chavo…now that’s the ‘La Familia’ stable I would have liked to see! I’d bet they’d even give The Authority a run for their money.
Apparently, Eddie was scripted to win the WWE World title on the Smackdown following the weekend of his death. It was supposed to be a triple threat match also featuring Batista and Randy Orton. Word is, Eddie was gonna win the title in order to allow Batista to recover from a back injury. So I think Orton would have been on the Survivor Series team anyway despite losing a qualifying match to Mysterio. It does make you wonder how the feuds and storylines of late 2005 to Wrestlemania 22 would have been like had Eddie not died. Would Eddie have been the defending champion at Wrestlemania again? Who would he have faced? Angle? Orton? Mysterio? who knows! Could he have won the 2006 Royal Rumble had he dropped the title sooner? I suspect that Undertaker vs Orton would have still continued following Survivor Series as it was also one of the biggest feuds of the year. I mean, the Hell in a Cell match was probably the best idea to end their feud.
If Eddie was still alive, I think he would have been one of WWE’s top performers and biggest draws, winning multiple world titles along the way and establish himself as one of the true, all-time greats. His ‘Lie, Cheat & Steal’ gimmick is still one of my absolute favourites and would work brilliantly in the PG era we have going on at the minute.
A feud with CM Punk would have been an absolute gem of a feud and one I think a lot of people would want to see, putting Eddie’s past addictions against Punk’s straight-edge lifestyle. It would also be a great example of passing the torch from the veteran to the rising star. I think those two would have put on a hell of a match, a Wrestlemania main-event worthy match in my estimation.
If he was still alive, Eddie would have received all the credits and accolades he deserved just not as soon as we had originally thought. He has his rightful place in the Hall of Fame and is still one of the most recognizable names in the wrestling industry, succeeded by Vickie and Chavo in the last few years.
Ideally, before his induction into the Hall of Fame, my wish would have been to have a few more world title reigns, an epic feud with CM Punk and a potential corporate angle as the leader of ‘La Familia’ with Vickie, Chavo and a few other rising stars. Wishful thinking, but due to his untimely death, we’ll never know. Eddie Guerrero, ‘Latino Heat’ still remains one of the best performers ever and has left a lasting legacy along with his family. A few more years with WWE would have truly established that legacy as well and would have been a huge draw for the WWE of today. Gone but never forgotten!
Viva la Raza!