The SmarK DVD Rant for Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story
It’s great that they finally did a feature DVD on Eddie, after all the tragedy and setbacks in his life, but it’s kind of a shame that it’s coming out at a time when he’s blaming himself for his run as a main eventer falling apart.
– We start with Eddie introducing us to the various members of his family, and his mother embarrassing him with baby pictures.
– Eddie takes us around El Paso and takes us through school. Not surprisingly, there was a wrestling ring in the backyard and they used it every day. Eddie and Chavito hung out at the arena and used to wrestle each other during intermission, thus amusing the fans.
– He was of course formally trained by his father, Gory Guerrero, and he could never quite impress him.
– He talks about going cruising in the Pinto at 10 MPH with his dad, who was doing it to bug him (successfully). This segues into a montage of the low-riders.
– Next up, meeting his wife on a blind date, and then getting married a day after Gory’s funeral. You have to think that was a bad omen.
– When Eddie started in the late 80s, big wrestlers weren’t in fashion, so he set his goals lower: Japan and Mexico.
– Once in Japan, he becomes Black Tiger and meets Benoit and Malenko.
– Skipping forward to ECW in 1995, and his classic matches with Dean. The great thing about the WWE owning everything is that they can pull footage of whatever they want for stuff like this.
– Jumping ahead another two years to Halloween Havoc 97, as Eddie and Rey have the second or third best match of the year, after Hart-Austin and Hell in a Cell. And then it all went bad.
– With the WCW situation not fulfilling him, he started turning to drugs and liquor to fill the void. In 1999, he drove to the corner store to get some eggs, but fell asleep at the wheel at 130MPH and the cops thought he was dead. At best, he was expected to maybe walk again, but never wrestle.
– He returned six months early, thus messing up himself worse, and this time he got hooked on painkillers and OD’d for the first time. Amazingly, he still didn’t take the hint, and started mixing painkillers and booze two months later, and it was back to the hospital again.
– Onto the WWE, as Eddie reinvents himself as Chyna’s boyfriend and creates Latino Heat.
– Dean and Chris knew about his problems, but Eddie never paid attention, so they went behind his back to Jim Ross and reported it before it got any worse. So they told him to either go home or go to rehab. He chose rehab, but lost his wife in the process. So it was back to the bottle again and he woke up in jail after a drunk driving charge. Welcome to rock bottom.
– Eddie was fired as a message to the rest of the company, and that’s when he finally realized what he was throwing away. He started doing indies again, and the WWE was watching. So they gave him one last chance, and he promised to stay sober for the rest of his life. He got his wife back as a result.
– Next up, the “Lie, Cheat, Steal” vignettes with Chavo Jr., which turned him into a superstar.
– We go back to Art Barr for the origins of the frog splash, and then onto No Way Out 2004, as Eddie gets the ultimate redemption and wins the WWE title from Brock Lesnar. Sadly, he proved to be nothing more than a transitional champion to Bradshaw of all people.
– Two discs of extras, as per usual with these releases.
– Hector, Chavo & Mando Guerrero v. Cactus Jack and the Rock N Roll RPMs. This from Superclash III, the AWA’s infamous failed attempt at a crossover PPV. This was the opening match, back when Cactus Jack was nothing more than a jobber with a bit of a name on the indy circuit. Future Beverly Brother Mike Enos is the referee. Hector starts with the RPMs, who end up colliding, and Hector takes them down with a double headscissors. Jack comes in and gets taken down by Mando with a rollup for one, but Jack fights back and tosses him. They brawl outside and Mick takes his first sick bump on PPV, a backdrop on the concrete. Truly historic. Back in, Hector & Mando double-team the leg, and the Guerreros start trading off the leg. Jack tags in one of the RPMs, and Lee Marshall is no help in naming him. It’s either Mike Davis or Tommy Lane, but it’s been years since I’ve watched them so I forget who’s who. Basically picture the Rock N Roll Express, 10 years past their prime and still trying to be cool. The Guerreros do some triple-teaming and it’s a dogpile in the Guerrero corner. Back to Jack, as he locks up with Chavo in the corner and drops an elbow for two. Into the heel corner, as the RPMs work him over, and Chavo is YOUR Mexican-in-peril. He quickly rolls away and makes the hot tag to Hector, however, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Hector would have been considered the breakout star at this point, by the way. Bodies fly and the Guerreros hit the heels with dives, as Chavo finishes Mike Davis with a moonsault press at 6:32. Some good spots, but not much more. *1/2
– Hair v. Mask: Eddie Guerrero & Love Machine v. Octagon & El Hijo de Santo. This is from the famous When Worlds Collide PPV put on by AAA & WCW in 1994, and if you want a tragic team, the heel side is Eddie (nearly died a few times), Art Barr (died of misadventures with drugs) and Louie Spicoli (also died of misadventures with drugs). Sadly, Eddie and Art’s ring entrance, as they make swimming motions at the crowd, is cut out. Art Barr thankfully does it again after the introductions. Art Barr was basically the most hated wrestler in Mexico at this point, just for reasons like that. Eddie starts with Santo and gets an armdrag, as they take it to the mat and the crowd heat is off the charts. Eddie starts on the arm and takes him down with a chinlock, but Santo quickly powers out and Eddie bails. Next up, Octagon goes with Love Machine, and they have a stalemate until some cheating from Eddie puts things the rudo way. A Doomsday Device variation, with a rana from Eddie, gets a pin on Santo, and the PowerPlex finishes Octagon at 4:04 to finish the first fall. In lucha rules, you need to pin both members to win the fall, which leads to weird finishes like that one. Second fall: Eddie clubs Santo down and gets a blockbuster slam for two. Vertical suplex gets two. Octagon comes in and Eddie asks for forgiveness, but then pokes him in the eyes and Barr comes in with a great standing dropkick, and Eddie slingshots in, leading to Santo coming in for a brawl. Santo drops an elbow on Barr from the top and the heels collide, leading to them getting dropkicked to the floor and hit with a double tope suicida. Back in, Santo gets a sunset flip on Eddie for two, and goes up, but Eddie brings him down with a rana for the pin. So now they just need to beat Octagon to win. So they double-team him and get a clothesline, but Octagon comes back with a rana on Eddie to even things up, and a legsweep into a submission hold on Barr gets the submission at 10:28, and it’s one fall apiece. Final fall: Santo gets a quick rana on Eddie, but Barr breaks it up. Eddie gets a camel clutch, but Octagon breaks that up. Santo gets his own, but Barr breaks that up. Barr tries a slam, which is reversed to a cradle for two. He goes to a Regal Stretch, but Octagon calmly comes in and punts him in the ribs, then kicks him down. A double elbow puts Barr down, and Santo gets a suplex for two. Octagon pounds away on Barr and goes to an armbar, but Eddie calmly pokes him in the eyes and catches him with the Gory Special. Santo breaks that up and they head to the top, where Santo brings him down with an electric chair for one. Barr breaks it up and dumps Santo, as Los Gringos get their own tope suicidas and they fight outside. Back in, Eddie goes to the top with Santo, but gets taken down and powerbombed to the floor. In the ring, Barr hits Octagon with the deadly tombstone (illegal in Mexico, but behind the ref’s back in this case) and gets the pin. All that remains is beating Santo. Barr clotheslines him into a german suplex from Eddie, but that gets two. Barr goes up again to finish as Eddie sets up the superplex, but the frog splash only gets two. Octagon gets put on a stretcher while they keep beating on Santo, but Barr hits Eddie by mistake, and Santo pops up with a dive onto Eddie on the floor. However, this allows Blue Panther to run in and piledrive Barr, as the crowd goes absolutely bonkers. Santo gets the easy pin on Barr, leaving it Eddie v. Santo. Santo gets a rollup for two as the paramedics revive Octagon. Eddie powerbombs Santo for two. To the top, as Eddie gets a belly-to-belly superplex, but only for two. Back to the top again, this time with a rana for two. Dragon Suplex gets two. Barr finally recovers, as Santo gets the pin off a reverse rollup for the pin at 22:12 to win it. The last fall was absolutely off the charts, heat-wise. *****
– Eddie Guerrero v. Dean Malenko. This is their final match from ECW, 2/3 falls, and it has commentary from Eddie, Dean and Todd “Who’s Jushin Liger?” Grisham. This was a rare case where the ECW crowd actually acted with class for once, applauding their departure for WCW instead of chanting “You sold out”. They do some matwork to start and it’s a stalemate. Eddie starts on the arm and tries taking him down, but Dean bridges to prevent a pin. Eddie bars the arm and goes to a cross-armbreaker, but Dean rolls him over and they make the ropes. Another back-and-forth sequence of reversals leads to Eddie springboarding off the ropes with a headlock takedown. The flying armdrag sends Dean into the corner, and they take a breather. Eddie takes him down with a uranage and a fisherman’s suplex for two. Eddie’s comment on his physique: “I was a lot chunkier”. Eddie wraps up Dean in a headscissors, but Dean reverses to a bow-and-arrow and wraps him up on the mat. That gets two. Dean goes to a Regal Stretch, but Eddie makes the ropes. Dean snapmares him down and they trade shots to the face, so Dean bails. Back in, Eddie with the overhead suplex for two. Enzuigiri gets two. To the top, as Eddie gets a superplex for two. Backbreaker, but Dean comes back with a backslide for two. They fight over another one and Eddie rolls him up for the first fall at 10:32. Second fall: Dean whips him into the corner and clips the knee on the rebound, but Eddie comes back with a german suplex for two. Dean dropkicks the knee to take over again and wraps him up in a kneebar, then whiplashes him out of the corner to set up the Texas Cloverleaf. Eddie submits at 13:20 to even things up. Last fall: Dean gets a corner clothesline to set up a brainbuster for two. Leg lariat and Eddie bails, so they brawl outside, and Dean clobbers him with a forearm back in. Sitout powerbomb gets two. Eddie comes back with a tornado DDT for two. His own brainbuster allows him to go up with a frog splash for two. Rana gets two. Eddie goes up and Dean follows, so Eddie takes him down with a sunset flip for two. Another tornado DDT is blocked by Dean, and he follows with the exploding gutbuster, and that gets two. Eddie comes back with a rollup for two. Dean gets his own and both shoulders are down for the pin at 19:46, so it’s a draw. This was basically just an exhibition rather than something intended to be competitive, and judged by that standard it was excellent. ****1/4
– WCW Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Eddie Guerrero. This is from Fall Brawl ’97, and an odd choice because it’s not that great of a match or anything. The show is fairly historic for being the moment when WCW managed to kill the Carolinas off as a wrestling territory by jobbing out Flair in the main event, but that was par for the course with them. Jericho’s former Pearl Jam ripoff music is changed to generic music for this DVD. Y2J was in his initial bouncing babyface era, in the days before he developed a personality and his career took off. Jericho gets an armdrag to start and they trade headlocks until Eddie uses the hair. Jericho overpowers him, but Eddie goes to the arm and takes him into the corner for some chops. Jericho returns fire and takes him down with an armbar, but Eddie fights his way up. Jericho keeps taking him down again into a cross armbreaker situation, so Eddie rolls it over for two. They trade cradles and Jericho gets two. Back to the armbar, as Eddie is unable to fight out of it. He finally reverses out, but Jericho alley-oops him onto the top rope and follows with the Lionsault for two. Back to the arm we go. Eddie necksnaps out of it this time and goes to work, taking Jericho down with a chinlock, using the knees to dig into the back. Backdrop suplex sets up a bridged dragon sleeper, but Jericho powers out of it, only to be kicked in the face for his troubles. Eddie drops an elbow on the back and slingshots onto it for two. Gory Special is reversed by Jericho to his own version, and he turns it into a flapjack from there. Eddie recovers, but misses a dropkick, and they slug it out. Jericho hits him with a pair of corner clotheslines, and then blocks a ropewalk attempt by crotching Eddie. He follows with the springboard dropkick. He tries to follow with a powerbomb off the apron, but Eddie hangs on, and they end up tumbling to the floor and colliding on the railing. Back in, Eddie misses his slingshot and Jericho hits him with a high impact release german suplex. That gets two. Eddie comes back with Rock Bottom, but stalls too long and Jericho recovers with a powerslam. Eddie charges into the corner and gets tossed down again by Jericho, and he follows with a leg lariat for two. Another flapjack and a cradle attempt are reversed by Eddie for two, and he tries a rana, but Jericho blocks with the double powerbomb and they go up. Superplex is blocked by Eddie, and it’s frog splash time at 16:44 to give Eddie the belt back. Took a while to find their groove, but once they did it was some good stuff, to be sure. ****
– WCW Cruiserweight title: Eddie Guerrero v. Rey Mysterio Jr. This is from Halloween Havoc ’97, and it’s of course a classic. Commentary here from Michael Cole, Eddie Guerrero & Rey Mysterio. Eddie lays the badmouth on Rey to start, and they slug it out, which allows Rey to dominate him with a monkey-flip and send him to the floor. He follows with a dive attempt, but misses and gets introduced to the stairs. Back in, Eddie slingshots him, but walks into a dropkick. Rey tries a handspring, but Eddie catches him and drops him on his head. Ouch. Brainbuster gets two. Eddie, on commentary, talks about the huge disrespect of voluntarily removing his mask in Mexico, which earned him the eternal awe of Rey. Eddie does some mask-ripping and goes to an abdominal stretch, then transitions into a pumphandle slam for two. They fight over a knucklelock, and Rey springs off the ropes with a crazy springboard DDT. Eddie bails and Rey tries to follow with a dive, but Eddie zips back in and dropkicks him off the apron. Rey talks about the crazy DDT and never being able to duplicate it again. No kidding. Back in, Eddie goes to the rear chinlock and does some more mask-ripping, which sets up the Gory Special. Rey reverses to a armdrag, but Eddie dropkicks him in the head to stop that rally. A backbreaker sets up a submission move on the mat, and he follows with a back elbow for two. Eddie starts throwing chops in the corner, and then hangs Rey in the Tree of Woe and adds a dropkick. He charges, however, and misses by a mile, as Rey dodges him to cause some testicular damage, and follows with the plancha. Back in, Rey catches him with the West Coast Pop for two. Eddie clotheslines him down again, but Rey swings off the ropes with a headscissors to put Eddie on the floor, and then follows with an absolutely insane springboard into a rana on the floor. The great thing about it was that it was one fluid move with no stopping. Back in, Rey hits him with a leg lariat from the top, for two. Springboard moonsault is blocked by Eddie’s knees, and he follows with the killer powerbomb for two. Eddie runs him into the corner, but charges again and gets rammed into the turnbuckles. Rey tries another West Coast Pop, but lands on Eddie’s knees and it looks to be over. Eddie goes up, but misses the splash, and they end up on the top rope. Rey fights him off and Eddie tries for a Splash Mountain, but Rey reverses for the rollup and the pin at 13:57. Best WCW match of that year, nuff said. ***** Really interesting commentary from the boys, too.
– Next up, you get all the “Lie Cheat Steal” vignettes from Los Guerreros, which turned him into the breakout star of 2003. Plus, for some reason, videos from Finger Eleven, Seether and Soil, as well as the trailer for Day of Reckoning.
– Stevie Ray v. Chavo Guerrero. Don’t even remember what this was about or why Chavo was working twice. This was, however, during the Crazy Chavo period. Oddly enough, Stevie’s Harlem Heat music is not changed here, whereas on the Benoit DVD, Booker T’s music WAS. Chavo dodges Stevie and stalls to start, and Chavo submits to a handshake at 1:36. Har har. A wrestler? THROWING A MATCH? Shocking. This leads immediately into”¦
– Hair v. Hair: Eddie Guerrero v. Chavo Guerrero. Criss-cross to start and Chavo bites him in the butt. Where’s Dusty on commentary when you need him? Eddie bails and complains about the bad treatment, but Charles Robinson has no interest in seeing the bite marks. Eddie brings a chair in, so Chavo grabs a seat. They do some more stalling and tease a handshake, before Chavo finally attacks him and they slug it out. Backdrop sends Eddie into the arms of Robinson, and it’s back to the lockup. Eddie dropkicks the knee, and then adds a dropkick to the head and slingshots onto the back. They brawl outside and Chavo gets the worst of that, so Eddie follows with the Gory Special back in the ring. Chavo fights out, so Eddie clotheslines him down again and goes to a rear chinlock. He throws some forearms, but Chavo comes back with a monkey flip into the ropes and some forearms of his own. Eddie takes a run at him, but Chavo catches him with a backbreaker. They brawl outside and Eddie gets the advantage, pulling up the mats and going for a suplex, which Chavo reverses. Back in, Chavo goes up and gets crotched for his troubles, as Eddie brings him back down with a superplex. He alley-oops him into the corner and goes up, but his own version of the frog splash hits knee. Eddie follows with a tornado DDT and starts cutting hair, but the ref pulls him off. The frog splash looks to finish, but Chavo moves and hits him with his own tornado DDT. Now Chavo goes for the scissors, but gets cradled and pinned at 11:56. Chavo thus shaves himself bald. This never really got going. **1/2
– Intercontinental title, Ladder match: Eddie Guerrero v. Rob Van Dam. This is of course from the Edmonton RAW in 2002, which I was there for, marking the only major title change I’ve seen live. Slugfest to start, and Rob gets a heel kick and Eddie bails. Rob misses a pescado on the way out, but sends Eddie to the post. Suplex on the railing sets up the guillotine, but Eddie sends him facefirst into the ladder and pounds away. Suplex and Eddie drops the ladder on him, thus breaking the supports already. Back in they go and slug it out again, and Eddie gets a vicious elbow. Eddie feeds off the crowd’s booing and pounds Rob down, and posts him, which is of course smart psychology for a ladder match, because that way he can’t climb. Even Lawler picks up on that. I guess Raven made an impression on him. Eddie pounds the knee with a chair, and back in he stomps away on it. Backdrop suplex counters an RVD headlock attempt, and he works RVD in the corner. Rob comes back with a monkey flip, but Eddie gives him an MDK Powerbomb and finds the emergency backup ladder under the ring. Rob baseball slides it, and follows with a quebrada onto the ladder, which pretty much takes both guys out. Benoit joins us via the crowd, with a ticket of course to circumvent getting thrown out of the building earlier, and we take a commercial break. We return with Eddie ramming the ladder into RVD’s face on the floor, and back in Eddie makes a climb attempt. Rob missile dropkicks the ladder to stop that. That bump looked so nasty live, and on TV for that matter. Rob comes back as we try to start an “Eddie G” chant, but everyone else was into an “RVD” one. Rob gets Rolling Thunder on the ladder, which again looked brutal. My friend Roy and I are valiantly cheering Eddie on, though. Rob climbs, but Eddie knocks him off by smashing his face into the ladder and then hitting a sunset powerbomb off the ladder to kill Rob dead. Eddie heads up the ladder, and here’s where the dumbass fan runs in and knocks him off. We actually thought it was Steve Austin for a moment, then we realized it was just a drunken idiot. My friend worked security for that show and they caught hell afterwards because of it. The match continues regardless, as Eddie goes back up the ladder and hits RVD with a swanton bomb from the ladder. Good god Eddie is a maniac. Eddie grabs a chair and gives Rob what for, but Rob gives him some right back and stomps a mudhole, then walks it dry by dropkicking the chair into his face. That’s one dry mudhole. Legdrop and moonsault on the ladder. SICK SHIT. Rob climbs, but Eddie yanks him down and suplexes him into the ladder, which nearly destroys another one. Ladder goes into the corner, but the fickle hand of irony sends Eddie crashing into it, and then Rob monkey-flips him into it for good measure. Looked like Eddie was about 2 inches away from breaking his ankle on that bump. Another Rolling Thunder on the ladder and superkick puts Eddie in the corner, and Rob climbs again. Eddie prevents that with a dropkick to the knee, but when he grabs the chair, it’s Van Damination. Rob climbs in the corner, but the ladder slips and he can’t frog splash him off the ladder. Earl Hebner should have helped steady the ladder there. Eddie goes up and gets dumped to cover for the blown finish previous, and Rob climbs to regain the IC title at 18:13. Messed-up finish hurt it a bit, but otherwise this was Match of the Year quality all the way, complete with sick spots and hard work on both sides of the equation. ****1/2
– Smackdown tag title match: Edge & Rey Mysterio v. Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle v. Los Guerreros. This is elimination rules, from Survivor Series 2002. Chavo makes sure to lay down the law to everyone before the match, then opts out of the match. Mysterio starts with Benoit, and gets CHOPPED. You have to capitalize it for full effect. Rey snaps off a rana and flapjacks him, and Edge comes in for a double-team hiptoss and some elbows. Benoit comes back with more chops and brings in Angle, who immediately gets backdropped and tags in Chavo instead. Edge takes him down and gets a dropkick, and Rey comes in with the falling splash for two. Chavo tries a powerbomb, but Rey reverses to an armdrag. Eddy comes in to take care of business, however, and pounds on Rey Rey. Rey comes back with a flying headscissors and a monkey flip, so Eddy tags Angle again. Kurt hammers on Rey, but gets headscissored. He charges and misses, and Rey’s alley-oop to the top is blown, as he slips and falls onto the mat. That’s pretty rare for Rey. Angle suplex gets two. Benoit gets a standing neckbreaker and a vicious backdrop suplex for two. Angle gets his own backdrop suplex for two. Angle gives Edge a cheapshot and tries the Angle Slam on Rey, but it’s reversed. Angle hits him with a clothesline to recover and gets two. Benoit gives Rey a knee to the gut and snaps a suplex for two. I should point out that if you stare at Rey’s tights long enough, you can see a sailboat. Or maybe it’s the Statue of Liberty ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬” I was never good at those 3D puzzle things. Angle hits the facelock, and counters a reversal attempt by Rey. Rey fights out and gets a leg lariat, and everyone’s out. The Guerreros decline the tag from Angle, so Benoit gets it instead. Hot tag Edge, and he’s a heel-killing machine. Faceplant for Benoit and overhead suplex for Angle, as Eddy & Rey tumble over the top rope. Edge goes for the spear, but lands into a crossface-anklelock combo that’s so awesome that it deserves it’s own spot in the Hall of Awesome. Rey breaks it up as Angle bails, and hits a bunch of people with a spinning tope. Meanwhile, Benoit suplexes Edge, until Eddy hits a sunset flip on Benoit while Benoit carries Edge over with a german suplex, and gets two. That’s insane. Benoit goes right back to suplexing Edge, but the hair saves Edge from permanent brain damage. Benoit goes up, but Eddy sneaks in with a frog splash for two, so Benoit hits him with the headbutt instead. Angle Slam for Eddy and anklelock, while Benoit puts Edge in the crossface, but the ref is distracted. Chavo lays out Benoit with the belt and gives it to Angle, thus convincing Benoit that Angle did the deed. More shoving results, and Edge finishes Benoit with the spear at 13:08. Crowd kinda didn’t like that one, actually. Angle, hero of sportsmanship, destroys Edge with a suplex afterwards, and Benoit takes out his problems on Chavo. God’s Team fights back to the dressing room, while Eddy tries to steal a fall on Edge. Los Guerreros work Edge over in the corner, and Chavo gets two. Eddy’s senton gets two. Main Event Sleeper wastes some time, and Chavo gets a dropkick for two. Eddy uses the tag rope for some choking, and a backdrop suplex follows. We go back to the facelock again. Chavo dropkicks him for two. Edge comes back with a flapjack on both of them, and makes the hot tag to Mysterio. Crossbody for Chavo and a tilt-a-whirl for Eddy, and the heels collide to set up an alley-oop rana on Eddy that gets two. Edge dumps Chavo, and does a sloppy reversal sequence with Eddy to set up the 619, but the ref is distracted, allowing Chavo to hit Rey with the belt. Lasso From El Paso finishes at 19:25. That beltshot finish is kinda played, to say the least. This was pretty disappointing, but in a “weak Smackdown” way rather than a “weak RAW” kind of way. One problem Heyman has is giving away the great matches on free TV and then not being able to top them on PPV, where it counts. This really should have had 40-45 minutes, given the buildup for it. ***1/2
– US title tournament final: Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero. As openers go, you can’t complain here. They lockup to start and Eddie hides in the ropes to break. Crowd seems torn on whether to cheer for Eddie tonight. Guerrero takes Benoit down with a hammerlock, but gets overpowered and bails. Back in, they exchange wristlocks and take it to the mat, but Eddie overpowers him. They go for the knucklelock and Benoit wins with power, so Eddie kicks at the leg and takes him down with a wristlock. Eddie surprisingly opens the chop war, and gets a rana that turns into a pinfall reversal sequence, and they trade armdrags. Benoit bails this time. Good sequence. Back in, Eddie grabs a headlock and overpowers Benoit, and back to the headlock. Chris flips him off the move, but Eddie grabs the headlock again and takes him down. They trade tombstone reversals, but Benoit settles for the shoulderbreaker and tries for the crossface. Eddie quickly makes the ropes. He bails, so Benoit follows with a tope suicida. Back in, Benoit sends him into the corner to work the corner, and slams him a couple of times to set up a half-nelson submission on the mat. Benoit gets a rollup off a whip to the corner, and then charges and hits elbow, allowing Eddie to put him on top and bring him down with a rana. That gets two. What is with Cole and “legscissors”? Eddie gets a backdrop driver for two. He hammers on the shoulder for a bit and grabs an armbar, and they exchange chops. Eddie goes to the eyes to win that battle, but Benoit backdrops him and elbows him down to set up more chops. They fight for a suplex and end up on the top, as Benoit brings him down with a backdrop superplex. That gets two. Benoit starts throwing the germans as Cole names former US champions and notes that the winner will join that list. Um, they’re both former champions, MC. Eddie blocks the germans, so Benoit takes him down with a crossface, and Eddie makes the ropes. Benoit with a backbreaker for two. Eddie comes back with the rolling verticals, and the third one ends up on the top as a superplex. Both guys are out. Eddie recovers first, but misses the frog splash, although they mistimed it and Benoit got hit on the way down. He snaps off a powerbomb for two, however. Benoit needs to powerbomb people more. Back to the crossface, but Eddie makes the ropes again. The ref gets bumped and Guerrero grabs the belt and nails Benoit with a weak shot and a frog splash, but it only gets two. Eddie grabs the belt again, and this time tries the sneaky route by knocking the ref out and playing dead, but he does too good a job and can’t revive the ref. This allows Benoit to sneak up from behind with another crossface that taps Guerrero, but the ref is still out. Benoit releases to tend to the ref, and then nails Eddie with another german suplex to prevent use of the belt. To the top, but the diving headbutt hits the ref. This is getting silly. And finally, Rhyno runs in, turns on Benoit with GOAR GOAR GOAR and Eddie finishes with the frog splash (after an “Oh well” shrug of the shoulders) at 22:14 to win the title. This was headed towards MOTYC territory until the first ref bump, at which point it got silly and undermined the whole “wrestling title” idea. Still, a stellar opener. ****
– Smackdown World title: Brock Lesnar v. Eddie Guerrero. Brock overpowers him to start and hammers on him in the corner, into a monster backdrop. Snap suplex, but Eddie slugs back and elbows him out of the corner. Brock knees him down and blocks a rana with a spinning powerbomb. That was pretty dangerous. Overhead suplexes and Brock gets a high knee in the corner and another overhead suplex that puts Eddie on the floor. Eddie trips him up and posts the leg, however. Brock powers him back into the post, however, and gets the fisherman’s suplex to retake control. He grabs a sleeper, but Eddie escapes, only to get pressed. He escapes that too and clips Brock, but Brock gets the lariat. He follows with a slightly botched german suplex. Brock pounds away in the corner, but misses a charge and rams his knee into the corner. Nice callback to the high knee earlier. Eddie works on the knee and gets a backdrop suplex. Brock chokes him out, however, but Eddie sneaks in with a heel hook, which he turns into an STF to a big pop. Nice spot. Brock powers out, so Eddie rams the knee into the mat and goes back to work on it while Brock tries to fight him off. Eddie goes for what looks like a Nagatalock, but Brock fights him off again. And again. Eddie keeps coming, and it costs him, as he walks into a belly-to-belly. He tries a suplex, but Eddie counters with a headscissors and dropkicks the knee again. This time it’s a figure-four, and that crowd is all about that. Brock makes the ropes, however. Eddie goes right back to the knee and goes into a half-crab now, and another STF. Brock powers out again. There’s some really swank psychology going on here. Brock comes back with another german suplex, as the power v. technical battle continues, and Eddie walks into a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. That gets two for Lesnar. Brock goes to the chickenwing on the mat, into a sleeper, but Eddie powers him into the corner to break, but misses the missile dropkick. Brock sells the leg as he gets a vertical suplex, bless his heart. He’s even got a bloody nose going. That’s my boy. Bodylock on the mat, which he turns into a gut-wrench suplex for two. Nice mat-wrestling as Brock rides him on the mat with bridges, into the bodylock again. Eddie fights up and headbutts out, then smartly dropkicks the knee again and takes Brock down with a headscissors. Brock misses a charge and Eddie comes back with the rolling verticals and goes up, but misses the frog splash. F5, but the ref gets bumped in the process. Brock grabs the title, but Goldberg runs in with a spear (apparently having broken the handcuffs) and Eddie gets two. And since the belt is still there and it’s Eddie, he tries to hit Brock, but it misses and Brock goes for the F5. Eddie counters to a DDT in mid-move, however, hitting the belt on the way down, and the frog splash does the impossible and wins him the World title at 30:06. ****1/2
– We finish with about 40 minutes of little features from Confidential and the like, covering commercial shoots, family history, Eddie’s post-title celebration, and Wrestlemania. Nothing too exciting.