wrestling / Columns

Brandon’s Blast from the Past (Vol. 5): Viva La Raza! – Eddie vs. Lesnar

November 15, 2017 | Posted by Brandon Ewing

Brandon’s Blast from the Past

Episode 005

“Viva La Raza!”

Hello gang and welcome to the latest edition of “Brandon’s Blast from the Past”, my weekly column where we take a stroll down memory lane and relive wrestling’s greatest matchups of all time. The matches can range from the glory days of professional wrestling in the 1970’s, 80’s and early 90’s respectively, the “Monday Night Wars” between WCW and WWF(E). Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). The Attitude Era. TNA. Ring of Honor. New Japan Pro Wrestling. You get the picture.

We have a never-ending volume of classics that I thoroughly enjoy reliving and presenting to you readers. The concept of presenting and detailing the matches is a real treat, as some of you wrestling fans may be watching these classics for the very first time.

This week’s edition of Brandon’s Blast from the Past will be focusing on one of the all-time greats in professional wrestling. This man left an everlasting impact on this sport. He is without a doubt one of most beloved and inspirational wrestlers of our time. The rivalries. The matches. The stories. Promos. This man could do it all, leaving wrestling fans walking home with a smile on their face and a memory that will last forever.

The man I am referring to this evening is:


Eddie Guerrero is a former multi-time Cruiserweight, Television, United States, Tag Team, Intercontinental, European and World Champion across many promotions such as WCW, ECW, AAA, NJPW and WWE. The feuds and many wars grudged with the likes of Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, his nephew Chavo Guerrero, El Santo, Konnan, Chris Benoit, Diamond Dallas Page (DDP), Ultimo Dragon, Ric Flair, Billy Kidman, Perry Saturn, Shane Douglas, New Age Outlaws, Chyna, The Hardy Boyz, Lita, Rob Van Dam, Edge, Kurt Angle, Big Show, JBL. All these men were synonymous with the growth and development of this legendary performer. The wrestlers Eddie had rivalries with were a who’s who of wrestling, as you can see above. One man in particular he would face turned out to be the biggest match in Eddie’s career with WWE’s richest prize on the line.

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Brock Lesnar, regardless if you love or hate him today, was one of the WWE’s fastest rising stars during the early days of the “Ruthless Aggression” era between 2002-2004. Lesnar paved a path of destruction and quickly became the WWE Undisputed Champion. He destroyed the likes of lower to mid-card talents like Maven, Al Snow, Spike Dudley, The Hardy Boyz before moving on to bigger and better things when WWE gave him a push to the main event spot. He became the winner of the 2002 King of the Ring tournament. He defeated The Rock to capture the title at SummerSlam 2002, and began feuding with The Undertaker, Kurt Angle, Edge, Big Show and various others. Brock was touted as “The Next Big Thing”, and he was quickly building up a resume that would achieve just that in a short timespan.


Heading into WrestleMania XX in 2004. Brock Lesnar was surrounded by controversy. He was the company’s reigning WWE Champion and expressed interest in leaving the company to pursue a career in the NFL. At this time, Eddie Guerrero’s star was beginning to shine brightly. After many years of sacrifice and hard work. Eddie was given the golden opportunity to be pushed to the main event spot for the SmackDown brand during the WWE’s initial Brand Extension (or “Brand Split”).

Chris Benoit won the 2004 Royal Rumble match and opted to leave the SmackDown brand for RAW to challenge Triple H (and also Shawn Michaels) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XX. SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long booked a special 15-man Royal Rumble match to crown a new number one contender to Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship on January 29th. Eddie Guerrero would win the match by eliminating Kurt Angle and was now booked to face his biggest and most important challenge of his illustrious career.

Eddie Guerrero was now officially elevated to the next level. Now, he was facing a man that is twice his size and as deadly as they come inside the squared circle. The table had been set for February’s “No Way Out” pay-per-view, which was used as SmackDown’s lead in PPV to set the stage for WrestleMania XX the following month. Having said that, Eddie Guerrero would challenge Brock Lesnar for the WWE Undisputed Championship. A match that many never expected to happen, but was becoming a reality before our very eyes.

Sit back. Relax. Kick your feet up. And enjoy! Let’s get right to the action!!



No Way Out (2004) was live from the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Eddie Guerrero headlined the event and stole the show. Michael Cole and Tazz called the action. Michael Cole may be hated by many wrestling fans around the world for his commentary style and his mannerisms but he did a great job of calling this match and selling the pure, raw emotion to the fans watching at home.

The crowd went nuts for Eddie Guerrero, as “Latino Heat” clearly had the home field advantage. Eddie received a great reception from the audience. The fans broke out into chants of: “Eddie!”, “Eddie!”, “Eddie” numerous times. The storyline had a very nice build up. Hats off to WWE’s creative team for putting together a great storyline in a short amount of time between the January 29th edition of Smackdown, where Eddie earned the WWE Championship match against Brock Lesnar, and the No Way Out event. The story focused on Lesnar ridiculing Eddie over his past addictions; his demons. Guerrero battled drug and alcohol addiction until becoming clean and sober for the last several years. This added fuel to the fire and quickly made the Lesnar-Guerrero matchup very personal. Lesnar was the golden boy for WWE. A man who had the world in the palm of his hands and could have been the next face of the WWE had he and the company chose to continue their working relationship. Eddie was the veteran that still had a lot of gas left in the tank and had something to prove to the wrestling world. He was entering the prime of his career and knew that now was the time to grab the brass ring and run with it.

The matchup was a true classic tale of a “David vs Goliath”. Brock used his brute power and raw strength to overpower Guerrero in the early stages of the bout. Eddie would have to find a way to weaken Lesnar and outsmart him. Brock taunted Eddie frequently. He shouted: “You ain’t nothin’.” repeatedly as he beat Guerrero down, tossing his body around like a rag doll.

Eddie would mount some offense. He used his quickness and common sense to take Lesnar down by going after the knee. This was simple and classic wrestling 101 in-ring storytelling that was done to perfection.

Brock Lesnar would shut Eddie Guerrero down after every attempt from Eddie to gain the momentum. This would cause the WWE Universe to get louder and cheer for Guerrero to encourage him to mount a comeback against the unstoppable “Next Big Thing”. Eddie continued to work over the knee and focus on submission holds to keep Lesnar down. Brock would regain control and uncomfortably yell to Guerrero: “Just die Eddie!”.

This was a match that showed Brock’s pure amateur and wrestling background. You got to see Brock Lesnar utilize his agility, quickness and mat wrestling skills to match the style of Eddie Guerrero. This was much more than Lesnar suplexing the daylights out of Guerrero and using pure power moves. Lesnar did a great job of matching up to Eddie’s style and in-ring presence.

Near the conclusion of the match. Brock Lesnar delivered his F-5 to Guerrero. However, Eddie used his quick thinking to inadvertently knock the referee out in mid swing. Brock would exit the ring and pick up his WWE Championship title from ringside. He brought the title into the ring and it appeared as though he was going to bash Eddie’s brains out, until we saw a surprise interference from RAW’s Bill Goldberg. Goldberg speared Lesnar and quickly left the ring. Eddie attempted to pin Lesnar, but Brock kicked out at the last second as the fans gasped in disbelief.

Lesnar would attempt another F-5, only for Guerrero to counter the F-5 into a DDT. Eddie would take advantage and climb the turnbuckle to hit a Frog Splash on Brock Lesnar to get the pin-fall and become the new WWE Champion! The crowd exploded into a thunderous celebration for Eddie Guerrero, as “Latino Heat” celebrated with his beloved fans and family members at ringside. Eddie gave a huge hug to his mother, as she wept with joy as her son celebrated in the biggest victory of his wrestling career.

Michael Cole closed the show with this quote: “Eddie Guerrero will no longer be called addict. Tonight, Eddie Guerrero will simply be known as WWE Champion!”.

The match was, in a word, beautiful. The storytelling. The psychology of the match. The stars were aligned perfectly and we, as wrestling fans, were gifted with pure wrestling magic! This defined what Eddie Guerrero was capable of as a performer and elevated him to the next level in his illustrious career. Guerrero had been there, done that, as a mid-card performer leading up to his main event rise in 2004. This was his time and he earned this, without a shadow of a doubt.

There is a mere handful of wrestlers that can put on a five star caliber match with almost anyone they step into the ring with. Eddie was one of those guys. He can make a match that you would only expect to be good and turn it into something great, something magical. Brock Lesnar was, and still is, an amazing talent. No question about that. Many wrestling fans expected this match to be good, but came out with an emotionally charged five star classic that can easily fit into anyone’s Top 10 list.

Sadly, Eddie Guerrero would pass away over a year later in November 2005 due to heart failure caused by cardiovascular disease. The condition was (likely) brought on from his years of substance abuse. He was survived by his wife, Vickie Guerrero, along with his three children, Shaul, Sherilyn and Kaylie. His nephew Chavo Guerrero continues to honor his “Uncle Eddie” to this day, adopting Eddie’s Frog Splash as a finisher along with his taunts and mannerisms.

In closing, Eddie Guerrero will always be remembered as perhaps one of the greatest in-ring performers to ever step foot inside a wrestling ring. Many fans and wrestlers can argue and debate where Eddie Guerrero stacks up against legends from wrestling’s past (and present) alike, but none can ever doubt the path he laid behind in wake of his tragic death.

“[Eddie] could have been the absolute greatest of all time because when I wrestled, he was still in that top three we were talking about, so Eddie had it all. He was so entertaining, but he also had all the technique. He was such a great wrestler and he got it. He got finishes. He knew how to structure them.” – (“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels).

“Uh, homes, we are what we are. Black, white, Brown, yellow. Point is don’t be ashamed of who you are, man. You wanna call it stereotyping. Hey, This is me, Órale vato, this is who I am. Take me or leave me. You don’t like me? Turn around and look the other way. Its that simple.” – (Eddie Guerrero).

Eddie Guerrero motto was: “I lie. I cheat. I steal”. Eddie lied to his adversaries and certainly cheated to get the upper hand. However, the one thing Eddie did best in his lifetime was steal the hearts of all those whom embraced him.