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The Ten Best Eddie Guerrero Matches of All Time
Eddie Guerrero. There's so much that can be said about him. He was the son of one of Mexican's greatest lucha libre legends, the great Gory Guerrero. He was a legend in his own right in both Mexico, Japan and the United States. He was loved by millions of fans for being one of the greatest in ring generals ever and one of the most colorful characters ever. He was taken from us far, FAR too soon. And most importantly, his legacy is still felt to this day, whether it's with his nephew Chavo, his wife Vickie or his daughter Shaul carrying on his (and the Guerrero) legacy as best they can. As much of an influence as Eddie had on my wrestling fandom (I watched him for over a decade in both WCW and WWE), he's had a bigger impact on the life of my buddy "Gamblin" Matt Mortensen, who you've seen help me out with some of the NBA stuff I've done. Yesterday, Matt gave me a great idea for a column; the ten best Eddie Guerrero matches ever. It was a daunting task (Eddie had a lot, and I mean a lot, of great matches across the globe), but I accepted the challenge and thus, here we are. As usual, this shouldn't be taken as a definitive, nothing else is as important list, and I remind you that just because your favorite Eddie match isn't on here, it doesn't mean it was bad. It just means there's a whole lot of excellent Eddie Guerrero bouts. So with that, let's get to it. This is my Ten Best Eddie Guerrero Matches of All Time!
(note: due to the fact that not every one of these matches are available online and because it would take you 100 years to finish this column if I posted them, I'm leaving the videos of these matches out of the column. Never fear, for they are easy to find online. If you need help finding them, ask on Twitter @CultIcon)
10. Eddie vs. Chavo, Hair vs. Hair match (Bash at the Beach 1998)
The storyline is what makes this match. For months, Eddie (lying, cheating and stealing as per usual) had been trying to break his nephew Chavo, in order to get him to buy into Eddie's ways. Instead, he ended up turning Chavo into an absolute nutcase, to the point where Chavo actually gained a huge psychological edge over Eddie. It all came together at Bash at the Beach, where each man's hair was on the line. Chavo once again tried to play mind games with Eddie; he quickly tapped out to a handshake (that's right, a handshake!) in his warm up match with Stevie Ray (in order to keep himself fresh) and then proceeded to everything to get under Eddie's skin, including at several points biting his ass. Yes, there was legit ass biting here that actually wasn't 100% ridiculous. The mind games worked to keep Chavo in the match, while also forcing Eddie to bring out some of his most aggressive wrestling during his WCW stay. In the end, Chavo's focus drifted, and Eddie was able to get the victory on a small package after his nephew tried to cut his hair early. Despite the loss, Chavo gleefully cut his hair after the match anyway, which I guess means he won in the end? Who knows? In the end, it was a fun little match with an excellent story, enough to elevate it into the top ten. Plus, it gets points for Mike Tenay mentioning the famous When Worlds Collide tag match Guerrero was involved in, prompting Heenan to question how Tenay knows of the match. Tenay's response? "I WAS THERE!!!". Classic.
9. Eddie vs. Edge, No Disqualification Match (September 26th, 2002)
The finale of a decent midcard program between these, Eddie vs. Edge probably would rank higher if there had been more significance/more story to the bout than there was. Even still, this was an exceptional TV bout, a no disqualification match that was brutal without going too far into the hardcore realm. The best parts were two exceptional ladder spots; Eddie breaking out the sunset powerbomb off the ladder (if I'm not mistaken, that may have been his first time doing that move in WWE), and Edge ending the match with an IMPALER DDT OFF THE LADDER! Might impressive, especially since you don't see too many off the ladder DDT's these days.
8. Eddie vs. Dean Malenko, United States Championship Match (Uncensored 1997)
Dare I say the best match these two had with each other in WCW? It certainly was the best match of a really underrated Uncensored 97 card, which featured the official launch of the Sting-Hogan feud that almost won WCW the war, till Hogan's ego swallowed everyone whole of course. The set up was that Dean felt Eddie was starting to play dirty in his matches, a prelude to the "lying, cheating, stealing" persona Eddie would adopt later in the year. Ironically, Dean would win the match by cheating, thwacking Eddie with a camcorder brought to the ring by cruiserweight champion and nemesis of both men Syxx (who had a hell of a ladder match with Guerrero over the U.S. belt only a few months earlier). Great way to tie the whole thing into a bow huh? Oh yes, the match itself was pretty good too, with each man stealing the other's finisher, executing flawless brainbusters and wrestling as crisp as ever. Who's really shocked?
7. Los Guerreros vs. Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit vs. Edge and Rey Mysterio (Survivor Series 2002)
The peak of the Smackdown Six era, and not just because all six of the Smackdown six were involved. Okay, maybe it was. Either way, this was a barnburner, a show stealing match on what might be one of the best Survivor Series card ever. Seriously, you have this match, the Chamber match, and a really well done Paul Heyman turn as your final three segments of the show? What happened to this WWE? Was Vince McMahon too preoccupied that night with the Scott Steiner debut and just left the controls to someone else?! In any event, this near twenty minute classic served as yet another reminder how great all six of these talents were, and is one of the several reasons all six would eventually become world champions. Yes, the ECW title does count as a world title. I'm here for you Chavo!
6. Eddie vs. Rey Mysterio, Custody of Domenic Ladder Match (Summerslam 2005)
I'm still not entirely sure how good the "Eddie is Domenic's real father" plot point was for the otherwise incredible Eddie-Rey 2005 feud. I mean, the only thing more melodramatic and tasteless WWE could've done here was have introduced something about necrophilia, and well, they had already done that with Kane a few years earlier! That said, the arc did create huge emotional stakes for this match, while also giving Eddie a huge psychological edge, something he needed as Rey had defeated him in every previous encounter. Lo and behold, it definitely helps. This isn't the best match these two would ever have, nor is it the best match they had with each other (more on that soon). But it was heart pounding, it was emotional, and thanks to the story, it was an edge of your seat watch for all twenty plus minutes. In my opinion, it's the last great, GREAT match Eddie would have.
5. Eddie vs. Dean Malenko 2 out of 3 Falls for the TV Championship (ECW 1995)
I think with a better audience, this match would've been number one. And look, I'm not trying to insult the ECW faithful in general here. A lot of the usual suspects in the ECW Arena were quite into this match and respectful. Still, this match features moments where a heckler literally distracts the entire arena (the Tie Die guy actually had to direct fans back to the ring action) and another where a couple fans start a "this match sucks" chant for no reason at all. These people are the reason why we can't have nice things, and always why we have assholes out there who think fans should just do as their told. Boo these people!
Oh yes, the match. What more can be said, other than exquisite work from both men? There were the brainbusters, there were the near falls, there was the final five minutes of the match that were absolutely breathtaking, there was the first five minutes of the match that were absolutely breathtaking. The chemistry between Eddie and Dean was just unreal, something you could also see to a lesser extent in their Uncensored match. I wish there had been a little more action in the middle (which does slow down as Malenko works the leg), but overall this was an excellent bout, and perhaps the best non CM Punk/Samoa Joe draw in American wrestling history. I know, I'm totally missing some candidates there. I don't care! I'm right, I'm wrong, I'M RIGHT AGAIN!
4. Eddie vs. Chris Benoit (New Japan Best of the Super Juniors Tournament, 1996)
When Matt Mortensen told me to watch this match in preparation for this list, I didn't think it would make the top ten. Boy was I wrong? Like the last match on the list, this one (featuring Eddie as Black Tiger II and Benoit as Wild Pegasus) took some time to get out of the gate. Once it does though, it's aggression personified. I loved the story of Benoit continuing to use the sleeper to wear Guerrero down, only for Eddie to just keep coming back for more. In fact, the main reason the match worked was how drastic the switches in momentum were. Benoit dominated the first half and couldn't put Eddie away, only for Eddie to come back in the second while being unable to put Benoit away. Ultimately, the match could only conclude one way; via top rope brainbuster. And I'm not talking El Generico's BRAINBUSTAHHHHHHH, I'm talking from the top rope to the floor brainbuster. Absolutely crazy. If you're squeamish about watching something with Benoit, it's understandable, and I don't blame you for not watching. If you can will yourself to do so however, you're in for a might treat.
3. Eddie vs. Rey Mysterio, Championship vs. Mask (Halloween Havoc 1997)
Here's the best match Rey and Eddie would ever have and perhaps the best cruiserweight match in WCW history. Like the ladder match, the stakes were high here, but for a different reason. Eddie's cruiserweight championship was on the line, while Mysterio's mask was also on the line. You might as well be talking about a double title match; the mask in lucha libre is so important, that those who get unmasked potentially end up with their careers ruined forever (arguably, that almost happened to Rey when he was unmasked by WCW a few years later). I suppose that's not as important as what went on in the ladder match, but never the less it was important, and it helped take this match to a whole other level. The pace never really lets up here. Rey pulls everything out of the hat to throw against Eddie, and Latino Heat is the perfect antagonist, going as far to even try to rip the mask off Rey's face early. In the end, Rey gets the win with a callback to his Bash at the Beach match with Psicosis a year earlier, reversing Eddie's top rope powerbomb into a gorgeous hurricanrana. By the way, the only thing cooler than this match might've been Rey's Phantom like costume. Well done Rey!
2. Los Gringos Locos vs. El Hijo del Santo and Octagon, Hair vs. Mask (When Worlds Collide 1994)
Yup, this match again. For those who missed it, this match was covered in my tribute to El Hijo del Santo just a few days ago. It's considered to be one of the best matches in lucha libre history, is one of my favorite matches of all time and, for those who care for the rating system (sorry 'Plan!), is the only lucha libre match to have received five stars from wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer. In short, it's amazing. Even taking out the backstory that helped enrich the match (Eddie and del Santo's fathers were part of one of lucha libre's most legendary tag teams), it's a wonderful contest, the tale of the dastardly Eddie and Art Barr looking to disgrace lucha libre (and Mexico by extension) against the son of Mexico's Hulk Hogan fighting to keep the mask his father wore for decades. Oh, and Octagon was there (just kidding, dude played a huge role). I would say more, but a) I've already said a ton on this match and b), it's going to be my first entry in an upcoming series I'm starting! So for now, just go on and check the bad boy out either on youtube or (preferably) Dailymotion. You're in for an astoundingly good treat.
1. Eddie vs. Brock Lesnar, WWE Championship (No Way Out 2004)
What else could this be? I may like that legendary When Worlds Collide tag match better, but if you stripped everything away, this was the better match and, truthfully, the better story. And the story told here may not have even been WWE's intent (I sense 'Plan getting excited about where I'm about to go). It's no secret to those who followed Eddie Guerrero's career that there were a lot of obstacles, both out of his control and self inflicted. His troubled past was almost as much a part of his legacy as his undeniable charisma and in ring ability. Thus, Eddie's title match against Brock Lesnar on that February night in Daly City, California wasn't just about the gold, overcoming Lesnar (a beast back then as he is now) or even the Goldberg-Lesnar feud that made John Carter look like a box office success. It was about everything Eddie had been through washing away in the course of 30 minutes, as he scratched, clawed, lied, cheated and stole his way to glory. Certainly it helped that the ring action was good, and even with Goldberg's interference, you could argue that Eddie-Lesnar was one of the five best matches of the year. But what pushes it over the top, what makes it Eddie's best match ever, is the story it told, and the moment of victory when Eddie hit Lesnar with that frog splash for the win. You've seen it before, and you should totally see it again. It's, as my friend said of Mad Max: Fury Road last night, an experience.
That'll do it guys. Man, this took forever! I'll be back tomorrow with a Lucha Underground review, and who knows what. Till then, let's watch a video of Angelico doing crazy shit!