#29 – Damage Done
Life is about sharing. This is where I break it down and tell you a little about myself; my thoughts on the current shows, or anything else that I need to get off my chest.
It’s been a while, kids. Captain Chronic has been on sabbatical, and I’ve got to say, it’s been for the best. I got married one month ago today, and life for me has been a whirlwind. So much so, that I haven’t been able to find the time to do something that’s become one of my favorite things to do, and that’s write to you. A lot of times, this feels like I’m writing a letter to a friend, and I’m pretty sure this one is going to be like that. I’ve got some things to say that are going to be happy, sad, and hopefully interesting. So, sit back, relax, and let’s do the damn thing.
What happened, huh?
Life was cruising along. I woke up Sunday and was only planning on watching some football, maybe making some breakfast, and having another awesome day off. Then, the phone rang. It was my mom, actually. She said “Matt, talk to your brother – something bad has happened.” She wasn’t crying, so all I could think was “Thanks for the dramatics, Mom” as she passed the phone. Then my little brother comes on the line. “Eddie died, man.” What? Who?
“Get on the internet. There’s a thread that says Eddie Guerrero 1967-2005 and I’m scared to click the link.” To say I’m in shock is an understatement. This isn’t right. Eddie was set to win the title soon. I just saw him on Friday night, and he’s going to be in the Survivor Series match in a week and a half. He can’t be dead.
“Eddie Guerrero 1967-2005”
This can’t be right.
This is a work.
No, they wouldn’t do something like that.
No, they wouldn’t do that. That’s not even funny for a second.
Eddie might do it though. He’s a prankster. Remember when he “took over” Rey’s site.
This might be a work.
No – they wouldn’t mess around like this.
It’s real. It’s real. Eddie is dead.
Like the rest of you, to say I was shocked is an understatement. This was a crushing blow. Not only to me, but to wrestling fans everywhere. The sport we love was dealt a serious blow. A man who was at the pinnacle of his career has been taken from us too soon. This was a man that flirted with disaster. Somehow though, he always seemed to overcome the odds. He got his second chance, but he didn’t get a third.
(This award is best read while picturing me doing an Eddie G. impersonation.)
This ain’t no “Hoss of the week”, carnal. This is “El Chingon of the week”, where I give the award to the baddest vato this side of El D Effe. That’s Mexico City for the gringos in the audience. There’s only one vato loco that ever deserves this award, and let me tell you, esse’ – he’s on bad duuuude.
He’s a man that can leap tall buildings in a single bound, homes, and stop a low rider with his bare manos, vato. He can wrestle a monkey, or Brock Lesnar if he has to! He’s the one that all the mamacitas want, and all the vatos want to be.
He’s me, Eddie Guerrero, esse!
Why you so silly asking these questions, vato. You know I wouldn’t lie about this one!
Eddie was a Hoss in his own right, having been the first “luchador” to ever win a World Title. Most said that a small man couldn’t carry a company, and that the fans wouldn’t accept it. Eddie proved them wrong, and would have done so again, if he had been given the chance.
This has been a tough one to decide upon. There were so many of Eddie’s matches that I thought were deserving of this. Here’s a man that had many Match of the Year candidates throughout his lifetime. Most wrestlers are lucky to have one in their entire career, and yet Eddie somehow was able to produce one, and with different opponents, anytime he chose to. At times it seemed like he could literally turn it on and turn it off. When he was on though, there was no one like him.
As I sit here and think about it, the matches that stand out have such a wonderful contrast. One thing fun about this section, to me anyway, is making myself choose just one. I welcome anyone that disagrees to share with me his or her opinion, and remind you that this is just mine.
Eddie has been in some doozies. When I narrowed the list, there were three matches that stood out to me the most. His final match in ECW against Dean Malenko was amazing. I saw that on tape for the first time, ironically, just this year. His match against Rey Mysterio at Halloween Havoc 1997, which many consider the Match of the Year that year. Or, should I choose his moment in the sun. No Way Out, where he wins the WWE Title from Brock Lesnar. It’s tough to choose.
But, then I think about the future. When I have Zuma Jr. – what match am I going to show him first when I think it’s time to tell him about Eddie Guerrero? It then becomes all too easy. It’s the match in ECW, against Dean Malenko. “Please Don’t Go! Please Don’t Go! Please Don’t Go! Please Don’t Go!” It’s the match some have called the greatest ECW match ever, and who am I to disagree with them. This match is an amazing spectacle of wrestling genius, and if you haven’t seen it yet – find it. Watch it, and smile.
This is my chance to dissect something. It’s been many things, from a eulogy, to a legacy, and a call to arms. This time, it’s me and Eddie G. It’s my tribute column, and I’ll do what I want:Damage Done
I first recognized Eddie as someone special when he was in WCW. He was a lean guy, and he looked a lot like some of my family from Los Angeles. He was a Mexican, and immediately, my grandfather went into the story of Gory Guerrero and El Santo, and how they were the greatest wrestlers to ever wear leather boots. (Those were his exact words, I swear to you.) During that time of my life I only watched wrestling to spend time with my grandfather. I saw it as my duty, since the old bastard wouldn’t watch it by himself, yet loved it more than life itself. This man is not a happy man, people. He’s a miserable old coot that thinks everyone is stupid, and everything is wrong unless he did it. Yet, when he watches wrestling, his eyes light up like a child on Christmas morning, and the tone of his voice changes. He gets so excited and animated, and knows everything about everyone, yet claims to not speak English.
Him telling me about Gory and El Santo was truly an education. This lasted the rest of Nitro. I think it even started back up again the next week. The history was amazing, and apparently, this kid was going to be as good as his father. Now that I look back, he was having matches against Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit, so I suspect they probably were pretty damn good.
However, when Eddie formed the LWO – the Latino World Order – I definitely took notice. Not only did the LWO have perfect timing, as I was in my “militant Chicano” phase, but it was also the only wrestling merchandise I’ve ever worn. Let’s just say, my dad wasn’t fond of souvenirs. My mom was, but t-shirts and stuff are expensive. But, those little sticks with all the pieces of plastic that light up on the end? – those were more in our budget. However, by that time I had a job, and could buy my own souvenirs. The LWO T-shirt was badass. And – So was the idea. The WCW was getting beat up, and the luchadores were getting some of the worst of it from the N.W.O. Eddie decided that he wasn’t going to take it anymore, and he got them all together to team up and watch each other’s backs. The concept, to an impressionable young man searching for his future, was intriguing. Here were minorities, struggling to survive against a world that was bigger and had more resources than they did. By coming together, they could at least help each other, and maybe succeed.
They got their ass handed to them anyway, and were for the most part comic relief.
It does sound poetic though, doesn’t it?
It did however, teach me a lesson, and that’s the fact that I could always fight back. You can never give up, even when the odds are against you. You might lose, and bad, but you have to give it a try. Thanks, Eddie.
During the time that Eddie Guerrero was partying – The Filthy Animals, The Radicalz, and his Mamacita phase, I was also partying. (By partying I don’t mean weed.) Somewhere along the line, we both had something tell us that we had to get our lives back together. Eddie had to lose everything to change himself. I, instead, saw thousands of Americans die when hijackers took over airliners and rammed them into the World Trade Center. That day I decided to get out of San Francisco, and that the life I was leading there was going to kill me. Too many all night benders with booze and drugs, and I was going to waste the life that was so precious to me, and my family. I didn’t want to see pain on their faces like the pain of all those that had just lost their family members. September 11 taught me that. I moved myself to a new city, and was able to start over and stay away from what was going to kill me.
I imagine that going to rehab, only to get arrested and lose his job, as well as almost losing his wife and kids, must have told Eddie that it was a time for change as well. Eddie getting fired worked wonders on him. He got his life on track, and finally was the man that my grandfather told me he would be. I’m going to skip the history lesson, because everyone here knows what he’s done by now. He’s been amazing in the WWE, and many will claim, and won’t get argument from me, that he was the best in the business today. However, it wasn’t forever. Life is not forever, and Eddie wasn’t destined to be with us forever.
We all make mistakes.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve done things that I knew were wrong, and yet went ahead and did anyway. I’ve done things that I knew were damaging my body, and yet – it didn’t stop me, did it? I have done things that if my mother knew I was doing, she’d be ashamed of me for. Yet, somehow, knowing that another man that’s gone through a lot of these things could still achieve the top of the mountain was comforting. It seemed that there was always a chance for me to turn myself around. To make good on what I said I would do. I could still become a better man, and I could make my family proud.
Now, I get to question if it’s not too late.
Eddie Guerrero died because the damage was done. The years of excess, the years of punishing his body, and the years of ignoring his problems finally caught up with him. He wakes up in the morning in a Minneapolis hotel room. He probably had a restless night, and I imagine he was having some odd beating of his heart. He goes over to the bathroom, starts to brush his teeth, and as the blood starts circulating around his body – it finds itself trapped. He passes out there on the floor, and he never wakes up again.
Is that how I’ll go too?
Not if I listen to what Eddie Guerrero just told me.
We all need to listen to what Eddie is telling us.
Thanks for reading. This one was different, and I hope that you enjoyed my thoughts on who Eddie G was to me. No jokes this time, they just don’t seem right:
This column is dedicated to the memory of Eddie Guerrero. Not just any memory, but that special memory you have. The one that can make you smile. Maybe he made you spill your food on yourself when you first saw him throw his chair at his opponent and lay down when the ref got up. Or, maybe you cried with him and Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania 20. Maybe he made you laugh while doing a skit with Chavo during their “Los Guerreros” days. I’ll always remember him screaming in the middle of the ring, back in WCW, at his nephew. H yelled that Chavo was “riding a stupid broomstick with a horsehead, you idiot!” Ah… Eddie. Thanks.
Whichever memory it was, cherish it. We don’t have too many men come along that can make those moments that live on in your mind forever. Whether you loved it, hated it, or vomited, email me at TheNewJoint@verizon.net.
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