THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
There are times in life when you begin to wonder just why certain things happen to certain people, especially when bad things happen to good people. You ask yourself why these kind of things happen.
At 7.30 this evening, I heard the news that Eddie Guerrero had passed away. To say I am in shock right now would be an understatement. At the time I heard the news, I was watching Batman Begins on DVD, a birthday present from my brother Mark, and when my brother Paul told me, I didn’t believe it at first. I told him to log onto the WWE website. It was true. Eddie was gone.
Over the past couple of hours I’ve read tons of stories from fans and those in the business about their encounters with Eddie. Well, I don’t have such a story, mine is more of a close but no cigar kind of thing.
In January 2002, I was at the WAW offices in Norwich, just a few weeks after I’d began work for the company as their new webmaster and chief reporter. This was around the time that Jake Roberts’ association with WAW began, and we were throwing around ideas about how to get some publicity for Jake. It was the idea for Jake’s appearance on They Think It’s All Over that came from that meeting.
But before the WAW promotional machine went into overdrive, Ricky gave me some news that had me marking out like the true wrestling fan that I am. Ricky was in the early stages of planning a follow-up to his massive Fightmare show the previous April. Several venues were being mentioned, venues such as the Doncaster Dome, and even Norwich City Football Club’s ground Carrow Road was being mentioned.
But the one main name that was being mentioned for this potential show was none other than Eddie Guerrero. Eddie was a free agent, probably one of the hottest free agents in the wrestling business at that time. He had been let go by WWE because of his substance abuse problems, and wrestling promoters were literally falling over each other to get Eddie to appear on his shows. Indeed, Eddie appeared on some of the early Ring of Honor shows, and it’s safe to say that with Eddie on their show, their reputation as a fledgling promotion was enhanced a hundred-fold.
The original plan was that Eddie would headline the show, going up against the Zebra Kid in a bout for the WAW Cruiserweight title. Being a keen fan of both wrestlers, I was literally salivating at the prospect of these two in the ring with each other, and I know that the Zebra Kid was looking forward to this as well. Roy was a big fan of Eddie, and would add some of Eddie’s moves to his already impressive repertoire.
But sadly, the show never got off the ground, and Eddie Guerrero never wrestled in a WAW ring. But he did compete in a British wrestling ring. Just one month later, Eddie competed on Tommy Boyd’s Revival show. In the weeks leading up to the show, Tommy had asked fans on his Talk Sport wrestling radio show which American wrestlers they would like to see on the show. The response was overwhelming as fans emailed and phoned telling Tommy to get Eddie Guerrero for their show. Tommy did as the fans wanted, and Eddie entered the King of England tournament at Revival, taking on Scott Parker in the first round, before losing a great match to Doug Williams. Many say that it was after seeing this match that Vince McMahon realised he had to get Eddie back in the WWE. So two months later, on the first Raw after the brand split, Eddie returned to WWE, attacking Rob Van Dam and setting up a tremendous feud. And the rest, as they say, is history.
I’m still in a state of shock as I write this. Eddie Guerrero was just 38 years old. He was born just a few weeks before my brother Michael. We all know about his past problems, and how he defeated his personal demons. Eddie told his nephew Chavo just yesterday that he had now been clean and sober for four years. It was an achievement that he was immensely proud of his achievement.
Rumour had it that at tonight’s combined Smackdown and Raw taping, Eddie was set to win the World Heavyweight title from the injured Batista. Fans around the world would have loved that. But now the storylines for both shows have been scrapped, and what we’ll get now is two two hour tribute shows to one of the greatest wrestlers in modern history. Vince McMahon has told his wrestlers that working on this show is strictly voluntary. I get the feeling that nobody will go home before the show starts tonight, least of all Chavo.
Watching Raw tomorrow night is going to be very difficult tomorrow night for fans around the world. Eddie Guerrero was one of the good guys, a loving wife and husband. He was one of the guys that other wrestlers never seemed to have a problem with. He shouldn’t have been taken from us so soon, and the wrestling world, and the world at large, will be a poorer place without his presence, and it’s at times like this I think of the lyrics to Queen’s last single, No One But You. It was written as a tribute to Freddie Mercury, but the words are more than apt here;
“One by one,
Only the good die young,
They’re only flying too close to the sun,
And life goes on –
Rest in peace Latino Heat. Thanks for the memories.