November 13, 2017, marks the 12-year anniversary of the late, great Eddie Guererro. Guererro was a former WWE Champion and now a WWE Hall of Famer and in many ways, he changed the industry of professional wrestling, especially the WWE, forever.
Before making it to the WWE, Guererro wrestled all over the world. From Mexico to Japan and ECW to WCW, he was truly a global star. The creator of “Latino Heat”, there wasn’t much Eddie did that wasn’t entertaining. To, to say he was taken too early from the wrestling world is an understatement of grand proportions. But, he didn’t leave before making a mark.
While not everything Guererro did was positive, he will be remembered for being entertaining, technically gifted, and more charismatic than perhaps any other wrestler of his generation. Below are 5 Ways Eddie Guerrero’s Death Changed WWE.
5. Wellness Policy
The Wellness Policy in WWE changed the game of professional wrestling. It has saved lives it has made everyone aware that the WWE no longer wants to take risks with their talent. But, if not for Eddie Guererro, it’s hard to say if this Wellness Policy would have ever been implemented.
When Guererro died of a heart attack at the age of 38, it was pretty clear he was taking some form of growth hormone or steroids. He was a smaller wrestler, but was jacked and shredded like few others in the WWE. His early death seemed to come out of nowhere and the WWE wanted to ensure these kinds of deaths didn’t continue. Talent were told of the Wellness Policy the week after Guerrero’s death and that they would be tested for steroids and a list of street drugs regularly and without warning.
The Wellness Policy has seen a number of wrestlers suspended and some let go over not being able to pass the tests. It’s a policy that is still in place today.
4. Rey Mysterio (and the Little Guy) as Champion
An argument can be made that if not for Guererro, there is no Rey Mysterio as WWE Champion, and without Mysterio as champion, the “little guy” in WWE doesn’t get a fair shake.
Mysterio and Guererro proved that smaller wrestlers could carry the company and not every champion had to be 6’4″ and 300 lbs. Shawn Michaels had a hand in that too, but these three made sure that guys like Daniel Bryan and other smaller wrestlers could be taken seriously moving forward.
Specifically, in the case of Rey Mysterio, it is rumored that the masked Lucha star was not supposed to win the WWE Title and only did as a tribute to Guerrero. During Mysterio’s win, the announcers referred to Guererro almost as much as they did Mysterio.
3. Lying, Cheating, Stealing… and Style
Guererro made it popular to lie, cheat and steal your way to victories. It’s a technique still emulated today by some of the WWE’s biggest stars. He would roll to the ring in fancy cars, try to get away with anything he could when the referee wasn’t looking and his swagger was infectious. Guererro had an ability to make people popular.
There are many today who credit what they try to do in WWE to the example Eddie set. New Day and Sasha Banks are just a couple people who have openly praised Guererro’s work as a tribute to him and his legacy.
4. The Cruiserweight Division
The fact that the WWE has a Cruiserweight Division is a testament to a lot of people. Near, or at the top of that list, is Eddie Guererro. Guererro was instrumental in WCW’s ability to gain rating supremacy over WWE during the Monday Night Wars, and he was a huge part of that division with guys like Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and Psychosis.
Today, the WWE is still trying to recreate the popularity of that time with their own division and while it hasn’t seen the same kind of success, there are many talents who owe their employment to guys like Guererro who paved the way.
1. WWE Trying To Find That Latino Star
Some people were shocked when Guererro beat Brock Lesnar in 2004 to win the WWE Championship. Vince McMahon was not one of those people. McMahon saw the popularity of Guererro rising and shrewdly made the switch appeasing an ever-growing Latino audience and turning Guererro into one of the biggest WWE Superstars in years.
The WWE still wants to find that next Latino star who can provide what Guerrero did. They tried with Alberto Del Rio, Sin Cara, and others and to date, all have failed miserably when compared to Guererro.
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