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LIVE EVENT REPORT    
WWE SuperShow Taping Becomes
Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show   

November 14, 2005

by Matt Hocking    
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

Wow, huh? Like a ton of bricks it hit me when my mom called me Sunday morning. Eddie Guerrero died. Eddie was a rare breed, the kind of guy who was built with wrestling right there, jacked into his brain. Not only was he an incredible in-ring performer, but he had everything else. He cut great promos, he was a fantastic actor, he could tell the entire story or a match or an angle with the look on his face. Usually, as a writer, I try reserve the phraseology “holding the crowd in the palm of his hand” for the guys that just blew the industry out of the water. Rock. Hogan. Austin. But Eddie was better than that, he was a better heel, a better face, a better wrestler.
 
I just can’t do a Satire this week. It wouldn’t be fair, to you, to Eddie, to his family and friends. Instead, since I had the unique situation of attending Eddie’s tribute show, I’d like very much to share the results with you as well as a few observations from the event. Call them “spoilers” or whatever you want, I don’t think you’ll be

tuning in to RAW or Smackdown this week for the finishes anyway. It was an emotional night, to be sure. I only wish that I were a better writer, so that I could convey that emotion to you. It sucks that things shook down this way, but I felt privileged and honored to be a part, however small, of the celebration of Eddie’s life and career.

Pre Show:

Lillian Garcia welcomed us to a special “Tribute To Eddie Show.” One of Eddie’s lowriders was on the stage in memory of Latino Heat.

Dark Match

KEN KENNEDY v. VAL VENIS

Not much to say about this one. Neither guy did much one way or another. Kennedy won with the Green Bay Plunge after he blocked a Money Shot attempt.

RAW

At this time the entire locker room, along with the road agents and the McMahons gathered on the entrance ramp and called for a moment of silence and a Ten Bell Salute for Eddie. Many of the wrestlers were understandably visibly shaken, especially Benoit and Chavo. After the salute, Vince said that Eddie would have liked the show to go on, so tonight they’re going to put together a tribute to one of the best pro wrestlers ever to grace a WWE ring. Viva la raza! At this point a really amazing tribute video to Eddie’s life aired set to Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” After this, the wrestlers all headed backstage while the announcers (Coachman, Styles and Lawler) took the announce position.

John Cena talks in a short video about how Eddie taught him not only how to be a better worker, but how to be a better man during their time on Smackdown together. He notes that it wasn’t Eddie’s physical talents that made him one of the best, but the heart he put into everything he did.

KANE and THE BIG SHOW v. MNM

Apparently the rules of RAW/Smackdown will not apply tonight (in fact almost every match featured a mix of the brands). The match was introduced by way of a clip of Eddie spraying Big Show with sewage from their feud in 2003. The crowd halfheartedly chanted for Jim Ross in here as well. While I know they didn’t mean it this way, I kind of find myself wishing J.R. was there as well. Nothing against Joey Styles, I’m sure he did a fine job, but Jim Ross’ calls always had a gravity that nobody else on the current scene has, and if anybody were calling this show, I wish it would have been him. Show, at one point, did Eddie’s little shuffle dance. MNM had control of Kane for much of the match, until Show tagged in and MNM was destroyed. Melina, for what it’s worth, was still selling an injury.

KURT ANGLE v. SHELTON BENJAMIN

Angle was introduced by way of a video of Eddie selling Kurt Angle’s personal items on WWE.com. Despite the fact that he was obviously having trouble containing his emotion, he did admirably well playing the heel here. Shelton broke out a scary looking overhead release German Suplex off the top. After an ending mat wrestling exchange, Angle rolled Shelton into the Ankle Lock for the tap out win.

After a highlight package of Eddie’s time in “Los Guerreros,” Chavo Guerrero talked at length about his younger days in the Guerrero household, when he and Eddie were more like brothers than nephew/uncle. He also talks about how much the formation of Los Guerreros meant to he and Eddie, and how badly they wanted the tag team to succeed. At this point, he explains how much Eddie meant to himself and his family.

SHAWN MICHAELS v. REY MISTERIO

Shawn and Rey exchanged handshakes to start. Rey broke out his own version of the Eddie Shuffle after an exchange of rights. Shawn was in control for most of the match, until Rey turned a Superkick attempt into a 619, and finished Shawn off with a roll-up for the win. After the match, the two men shared another handshake and a hug, and Rey motioned to the sky to dedicate his performance to his good friend. I really do wish they would have found another Guerrero T-Shirt than “I’m Your Papi” for Rey, though. All things considered.

Batista had a video package where he spoke at length about the fact that he and Eddie really had become great friends over the past few months of working together. He said that Eddie was always in constant pain backstage, but that as soon as they stepped through the curtains, Eddie suddenly dropped all that and made everything look like a million bucks. Batista is sad that Eddie was taken away far too soon, but happy that at least now he has found peace. He vows that for as long as he is in the WWE, he will make sure that nobody forgets what Eddie Guerrero has done for him and this business.

ASHLEY MASSARO, CHRISTY HEMME, MARIA, CANDICE MICHELLE, MICKEY JAMES, MELINA, JILLIAN HALL, VICTORIA, and TRISH STRATUS
Diva Battle Royal

Jillian had a mask over her face to cover the “mole.“ I’m guessing that’s the one she has in OVW. The girls all wore Guerrero T-Shirts to the ring and did a coordinated removal of them. The star of the match may as well have been Maria, who held the ropes for most of the match before eliminating Victoria on a fluke. Empowered by her newfound strength, she tried to push out the fighting Trish and Melina, who in turn unceremoniously dumped her. Melina got the win after Trish made a mistake near the ropes and got knocked out. I know this night wasn’t really about the booking, but that was kind of odd.

EUGENE v. SIMON DEAN

Kind of exactly what you’d expect. Simon offered Eugene a Simon System bar to start, but when Eugene started try it, Simon took him down. After that, the went through a standard match which ended when Eugene hit the Rock Bottom on Dean. After the match, Eugene stole Simon’s Segway and scootered off while Dean looked on, dumbfounded, on the apron.

Chris Benoit has a video in which he states that he and Eddie were more than just friends or tag team partners or traveling companions, but that they loved each other like brothers. He and Eddie always talked with each other about their families and their careers and what the future held for them, and they never parted ways without telling each other that they loved each other. Benoit can’t believe that he’ll never have another chance to tell Eddie that he loves him.

Triple H does a video in which he states that he has never seen such a devoted family man and wrestler as Eddie Guerrero, and that Eddie was really something truly special in the business. Hunter breaks down talking about how nobody ever had a bad word to say about Eddie because there was nothing bad to say. He’d fought all his demons and he’d come out stronger, and had become such a great man that it was hard to believe that he was gone.

RIC FLAIR v. WILLIAM REGAL

Fairly standard match between these two, though Flair was obviously getting very emotional by the end. After he defeated Regal with a Figure Four, he stayed in the ring for a few minutes to pose in tribute to Eddie.

JOHN CENA v. RANDY ORTON (w/ COWBOY BOB ORTON)

This is the main event of RAW. Pretty much everything you’d expect. Both guys worked hard to overcome the physical shortcomings of the match and give a really good performance. Cena broke out the Eddie Shuffle as part of the Five Knuckle Shuffle. The ending of the match came when the Ortons got disqualified for Cowboy Bob’s interference. Cena cleaned house in short order however. After Cena had finished Orton with the F-U, he took off his Guerrero T-Shirt and laid it in the middle of the ring with the WWE Title draped over it for a really nice closing shot.

Intermission
Or “Jarring Transition”

As they set up the Smackdown set, they played clips from last year’s Diva Shoot DVD, which seemed kind of really out of place. Also a bit odd considering Christian figured heavily into parts of the montage. Also in a note that has nothing to do with the show, Tazz seems to have a new remix of his old theme. In item three of “This has nothing to do with the Eddie Tribute Show”: They played a trailer for Kane’s new movie, now titled “See No Evil.” It actually doesn’t look half bad based on the cut of the trailer, and got a decent amount of applause. I guess Kane needs more eyeballs is the premise.

Smackdown

Batista entered in Eddie’s Lowrider (which had now been taken off the stage). He drove it to the ring to Eddie’s music. After he’d made it down the ramp, he got out and took the mic. He said that he maybe wasn’t the best person to be out here eulogizing Eddie, but that Eddie was one of wrestling’s greatest superstars and he was proud to be a part of the tribute to his fallen friend. Afterwards, he left the ring and placed the WWE World Title on top of the hood of the lowrider. It would remain there through the rest of the event.

CARLITO CARRIBEAN COOL v. MATT HARDY

Carlito mocked Matt’s 2nd Rope Leg drop, but got caught coming off with a boot to the face. Matt won with a Twist of Fate after reversing a Carlito suplex. After the match, Matt pointed to the sky and touched the lowrider on his way out.

Vince McMahon offered a tribute video of his own. He says that both personally and professionally, there are few people more wonderful than Eddie Guerrero. He was a student of the game and always gave his best performance night in and night out, but more importantly than that, he was a good man. That’s what Vince hopes we take away from his career, that he was a great talent, but an even better man. Vince says that WWE was his family from the crew to the office to the wrestlers, it didn’t matter, and WWE will miss both the performer and the person deeply.

LEGION OF DOOM v. LANCE CADE and TREVOR MURDOCH

Before the match a fan yelled out “I still miss Hawk!“ To which Animal turned and sadly stated, “I miss him too!“ Not as much of a squash as one might think. Cade and Murdoch controlled much of the opening part of the match on Heidenreich before Animal cleaned house and hit the Doomsday Device for the win. Afterwards, he and Heidenreich pointed out Eddie signs in the crowd and led an Eddie chant before they both went and shared an emotional moment at the lowrider.

Big Show is nearly a complete mess as he talks about how great it was to work with Eddie and how much he meant to all his family and friends. Show says that he misses Eddie deeply, but he knows that Eddie was a good soul and that they’ll see each other in heaven.

CHAVO GUERRERO v. JOHN BRADSHAW LEYFEILD (w/ JILLIAN HALL)

Chavo played Eddie for the entirety of the match hitting all his spots with pauses only for JBL to get spurts of offense. Among other things, Chavo hit the Eddie Shuffle, the Three Amigos, the spot where he pretends that JBL hit him with a chair that he introduced himself, and finally, the Frogsplash. After the win, Chavo got on the house mic and led an “Eddie” chant. He said that he knew somewhere Eddie was watching this show and smiling, and thanked everyone for their love and support.

TAJIRI, GREGORY HELMS, PAUL LONDON, SCOTTY 2 HOTTY, FUNAKI, BRIAN KENDRICK, KID KASH, NUNZIO, PSICHOSIS, SUPER CRAZY, and JUVENTUD GUERRERA

Cruiserweight Battle Royal

The start was extremely funny as the Smackdown and RAW guys had a stare down to start, but, outnumbered 8 to 2, Tajri quickly turned on Helms, sided with Smackdown, and then got beaten down. In another funny spot, Tajiri used Nunzio as a battering ram to knock down several opponents. The final three were Nunzio, London and Guerrera, but London and Guerrera teamed up to take out Nunzio after he offered alliances to both of them. London and Juvi fought in the ropes briefly, similar to their Velocity match a few weeks ago, before Juvi finally dumped London. After the match, Juvi went down to the lowrider and offered up a silent prayer.

TRIPLE H v. CHRIS BENOIT

During his entrance, Hunter motioned for the audience to stand and pointed to the “EG” written on his wristband. Benoit came out to a loud reaction. Both men were fairly cordial to start, agreeing that the match wasn’t about them it was about Eddie. After a nice long match, Benoit won with the crossface. After the match, he and Hunter shared a long hug and tribute celebration before Dean Malenko came to the ring. Benoit got on the house mic and said that he would miss Eddie more than anything in the world, and reiterated what an amazing friend Eddie had been to himself and to Dean and to everybody. After sharing an emotional embrace in the ring, he and Dean pulled a huge Eddie Tribute banner out of the crowd and brought it into the ring. After showing it around for a few minutes they laid it across the ring, and then left.

Smackdown ended a full half hour early, so I imagine they are planning some more video packages and things to run in its place. In all, it was an amazing tribute to an amazing man. I know the comparisons will inevitably be made between these shows and Owen’s, and I really wish there wouldn’t. Both guys were just amazing human beings with a love of the fans and a love for the sport.

This was a beautiful and touching tribute to a man that nobody thought would be a star. From his time in WCW when it seemed like Eric Bischoff would never let him catch a break, to his time in WWF when he was slumming it with Chyna trying to earn his GED so that he could take her to the prom, he had a tough professional climb to match his tough personal climb. But over the past three years, he’d defeated his personal demons and more than that he’d gotten himself into a position where his fans could demand that Eddie Guerrero be treated like a star. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to reap the rewards of that glory. There was a rumor around town, one that I tried hard to avoid because I didn’t want the show spoiled, but I was aware of it. Batista is hurt, and Eddie was to win the World Title on November 13th, or so the rumor went. From being on the brink of personal triumph, being made the face of the company for a second time, to such tragedy is just inconceivable on just about every level. It was a hard show to stomach at times, knowing that I was attending what was basically the funeral for the man who should be champion of the world. But at the same time it served as an uplifting, if morbid, reminder that Eddie’s really was a career worth celebrating.

Unfortunately, there were some jarring moments. Moments that if you weren’t there, live, you’ll never get to see. A number of wrestlers hogging cameras, taking the spotlight off of where it should have been. I don’t know how much of that will make the show, and frankly, I guess I just don’t care. I’m not in the business of rubbing anybody’s name in the mud. Maybe for fun, but not here or now. I will say that some of the wrestlers I would have expected to be the most self-serving gave every piece of themselves to pay tribute to their fallen comrade. I will also say that many of the people I hoped would treat the subject with more gravity didn’t. It’s not my place to question how they deal with their grief. I’m sure if not all then most of them were beside themselves, but it really was a shock to me to see guys making sure they knew which camera to cry into, or directing traffic outside the ring so that nobody was in the way of the shot of them praying. A certain part of me understands that. They wanted to pay special tribute maybe and didn’t want anybody to screw it up, or perhaps they just wanted to convey their emotion to the crowd properly. But on a show where everything seemed so true and heartfelt, for some of these guys to be so cold and mechanical was a little disheartening. But that was just a handful of guys, and they really couldn’t ruin the show if they tried.

I hate to be a downer on these kinds of things. I’m a humor writer. At the end of the day, I just don’t feel like my word caries the same kind of weight that Rick’s or Meltzer’s or those guys who actually cover these things do, but I have to say that more than anything else, I came out of Sunday night feeling less like I had lost an amazing icon of my life and more like I had witnessed the triumphant ending to one of the great careers of my time. I know that feeling will pass, that I’ll go back to missing Eddie’s presence on the shows, missing his facial ticks, the way he’d smile whenever he’d done something particularly naughty. Also, I know that eventually, life will move on. I will reach a point where Eddie’s been so far out of the equation that I know longer wonder “what if.” But then again, there will always be a part of Eddie, alive somewhere in me. His win over Brock Lesnar at No Way Out. His celebration with Benoit at Wrestlemania. His standing ovation in El Paso. There will never be any future moments for Eddie Guerrero. No more classic matches or promos or angles. But what I do have is his history. His classic battles. His amazing story. And you know what? That’s pretty goddamn good.

Viva la raza!

 
E-MAIL MATT
   
BROWSE THE RAW SATIRE ARCHIVES


  
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