Fear not death, for the sooner we die the longer we shall be immortal.
The loss must be so great for the wrestlers, but this is not about them. I can not begin to imagine what his family is going through, but this is not about them either. I am sure that you are handling the news much in the same way I did, but this isn’t about you. This is about me.
We all mourn differently. I was with wrestling friends when I learned about it, I guess I was lucky in that sense. I wouldn’t have wanted to find out at the office or at home. I can’t imagine my parents or coworkers asking me why I looked so upset, why there were tears in my eyes. What do I tell them, that a professional wrestler died? I mean, I’m 25. Upset over a professional wrestler? I’d be mocked.
Everything that needs to be said about Eddie Guerrero will be and has been said by those who have known him more closely, loved him more dearly, followed his career with more diligence. The locker room has lost their top talent, the fans have lost the best performer, those closest to him have lost a good friend and/or relative, and addicts have lost a true inspiration.
All I’ve lost is yet another reason to defend professional wrestling. The boss pulls things out of asses. Corpses are humped. As I prepare to enter the world of business, I change my name to Joshua Stephen in the hopes of covering a trail away from my past. I know I will be googled. I know this site will be used against me in some meeting some time down the road. I’m off to London and Rome and Belgium and these guys do their homework. I want Joshua G______ to disappear from any connection to wrestling.
So in what might mean nothing to you, what might seem condescending to you but I feel is the ultimate sign of respect I can show at this point in my life, my name is Joshua Grutman and Eddie Guerrero never made me feel ashamed to be a wrestling fan. I am proud to have been a fan of his. He was an amazing actor, an amazing athlete and one of the most creative people in show business. Eddie should have won an Emmy. In a business filled with huge guys who are too tough to run away from the fight and villains who rip on the home town or arrogantly flex their muscles, Eddie dug deeper to draw out our love or hate of him. He did not treat us like idiots. As Vince and Hunter scream for us to get it, Eddie knew that we got it.
I wrote the following about Matt Hardy: “You need to fall. You need to show your loss. You need to crack and crumble and fall to pieces and become a shell of a man you once were. You need to empty out all of that hate, that jealously, that righteous anger until there is nothing left but a stomach full of booze and a string of burnt bridges and bad decisions. You need to crack and become empty. And once you’re empty, once there’s nothing left, once you’re a punch line in the history books, that’s when you’ll discover who you truly are.
A good man becomes great when he overcomes adversity. The best people must go through the worst and give in to their demons… you need to let go and give in to it. They’ve taken only so much. You need to give them the rest. You need to do this so you can be the person we can look up to, the person who we can be proud to support.
You need to fall so you can rise. Then you’re an inspiration.”
Eddie fell, and Eddie rose, and Eddie was the ultimate inspiration. It dents my faith and breaks my heart to see him pass so young, but I am proud to have known of such a man as him in my time. He was only a professional wrestler, history will not remember him the way other great men are remembered, but I will. I hope you will too. I hope whenever you meet a recovering addict, you tell him Eddie’s story and give him hope. I hope younger wrestlers watch tapes of Eddie performing and learn to emulate him although he is no longer around to teach them. I hope he is in a better place now. It must be. Eddie makes every place he appears that much better.
I’m Joshua Grutman, and Eddie Guerrero is my favorite wrestler.