We’re now one third of the way through the SmackDown Countdown; a list of my top 15 moments in the 15 year history of WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown. This week I’m going to look back at the final televised match in the career of the late, great Eddie Guerrero. A man who was born into arguably Mexico’s greatest wrestling family. His father Gory Guerrero wrestled, his brothers Mando, Hector and Chavo wrestled, his nephew is Chavo Guerrero Jr., his daughter Shaul is under contract with the WWE under the name of Raquel Diaz and his wife Vickie is the current SmackDown General Manager. Not a bad list of names to be related to!
Eddie had just competed in his last pay-per-view match against Batista at No Mercy in 2005 in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Eddie came up short in that match, but was in the process of becoming a babyface once again after his Summer long feud with one of his real life best friends Rey Mysterio. Then SmackDown General Manager, Teddy Long, was feuding with then Raw General Manager, Eric Bischoff. A match had been assigned for the Survivor Series PPV between five members of the SmackDown brand to take on five members of the Raw brand.
Batista, who was captain of Team SmackDown! had already qualified to participate in the match alongside Bobby Lashley and Rey Mysterio and Guerrero would battle it out with Mr Kennedy…Kennedy to determine who would be the next man to qualify to fight for Team SmackDown! at the Survivor Series. The crowd was firmly in the corner of Latino Heat from the beginning and that didn’t change throughout the duration of the match.
The match started out with a familiar “feeling out process” with both men linking hands and Eddie used his veteran skills to sucker Kennedy into him and took him down with a drop toe hold and was right on Kennedy, trying to lock in a Submission move, but Kennedy managed to make it to the ropes. Both men locked up in the centre of the ring and Eddie got the better of the exchange again, this time with a hammer lock, worked on the arm of Mr Kennedy, who got to the ropes which forced the break. Eddie being the craft veteran that he was though, used as much as the five count as he could. Eddie backed off to allow Kennedy to make it back to the middle of the ring, and once he did, Kennedy held out his hand to shake Eddie’s, but when Eddie went to shake Ken’s hand, he got slapped across the face. Eddie had that smile on his face where you just knew what Kennedy was about to pull.
Eddie, still smiling, walked back towards Kennedy in the centre of the ring and held up his hand to seemingly tie up with Kennedy again. As soon as Ken took his eyes off of Guerrero’s, well, Eddie stuck a thumb in the eye of Mr Kennedy. Classic Eddie Guerrero, right there. Latino Heat backed Kennedy into a corner and that slapped seemed to wake up the beast inside of Guerrero who went to work with a series of hard right hands to the head of Kennedy who fell to his knees and tried to get away. Eddie whipped Ken hard into the opposite corner and once again he fell to the floor and as Eddie went into to attack once again, Kennedy pulled him by the belt and Eddie went head first into the middle turnbuckle allowing Mr Kennedy to take the upper hand in the match.
Kennedy went to work with kicks to the head and chest areas of Guerrero before running in with a vicious boot across the face, similar to Zack Ryder’s Broski Boot. Kennedy pulled Eddie to the middle of the ring and his pin fall attempt only reached a two count. Kennedy then locked in his own hammer lock to the former WWE Champion, sending him to his knees in the middle of the ring. Lots of “Eddie” chants filled the arena, with the crowd trying to get behind their guy, who took it to Mr Kennedy with elbows to the head and then regained the advantage by hitting a big back suplex to Kennedy. Eddie then followed up with a couple of big clotheslines and looked to get in the Three Amigo’s, but Kennedy managed to slip out of the back door on the third and pushed Eddie into the corner.
Kennedy ran in to attack Eddie who masterfully got his elbow up right at the last split second to catch Kennedy in the face. Both men came out of the corner and Kennedy took it to Guerrero with big right hands and Latino Heat seemed to enjoy it. Kennedy attempted a whip into the corner, but Eddie reversed it and sent Kennedy back into the corner which they’d just come from. The only issue being was that Charles Robinson was stood in said corner and fell to the canvas, as did Ken Kennedy. Eddie being Eddie, looked into the hard camera with a huge grin on his face, knowing that he could use his “lie, cheat and steal” motto in this scenario.
Eddie went to the floor and took the chair that was being occupied by Tony Chimel. When he was back in the ring, Kennedy was stirring, making it back to his feet as Eddie looked poised to whack Kennedy with it. However, he noticed Charles Robinson making it back to his feet as well, he hit the chair against the canvas, threw the chair to Kennedy who caught it, and went down like he’d been shot. As Michael Cole would say “vintage Eddie Guerrero!” The referee made it back to his feet and noticed Ken with the loaded gun in his hands as Eddie pointed at Kennedy, holding his head selling the chair shot, that never happened, perfectly.
Robinson disqualified the Green Bay native who didn’t take the decision lightly. Eddie celebrated his win, and waved at Kennedy as if to say “I just outsmarted you, holmes”. Eddie turned around to celebrate his win and as he turned back to face Kennedy, he got caught with a chair shot for real, with Kennedy screaming in Eddie’s face “disqualify that!” before vacating the ring.
Sadly, less than just two days after this episode of SmackDown aired, Eduardo Gory Guerrero Llanes passed away as a result of acute heart failure in a hotel that he was staying at in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Eddie was found by his nephew Chavo, who attempted CPR but sadly, Eddie was pronounced dead when paramedics arrived to attend to him. He was just 38 years old. That night, WWE had been due to tape episodes of Raw and SmackDown where Eddie had been heavily tipped to become the World Heavyweight Champion due to an injury sustained by Batista. Instead, WWE replaced the regularly scheduled shows with tribute shows to Eddie Guerrero.
Eddie Guerrero’s accomplishments in wrestling were incredible. A former WWE, Intercontinental, United States, European and Tag Team Champion in the WWE. He was the eleventh Triple Crown Champion and the sixth Grand Slam Champion. In WCW he was a Tag Team Champion and a United States Champion while in ECW he was a former World Television Champion. In 2006, Eddie Guerrero’s name was immortalised when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Rey Mysterio, Chris Benoit and Chavo Guerrero Jr.
For anyone who never got the chance to see Eddie Guerrero in the ring, my advice would be to find footage of some of his matches on YouTube or purchase the DVD’s which WWE released about Eddie. He was a phenomenally gifted athlete and, in my personal opinion at least, one of the finest wrestlers of the modern era. People still talk about him to this day in the regard of him being an all time great and fans still love to use his well loved catchphrase: Viva la raza!