Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic

I’m certain most of us will write about the loss of Eddie Guerrero, a legend in this business. I’m probably much later than most due to the weekly schedule here on the, but I want to add my thoughts all the same.

TODAY’S ISSUE: The Death of Eddie Guerrero

Please keep in mind that while this column posts live on Tuesday around mid-day, I’m writing this on Sunday morning, moments after learning of Eddie’s passing. I had another column* planned for this week, but it’ll keep until another time. Right now, there’s nothing happening in the world of professional wrestling other than this tragic story.

As of this moment, I know that Eddie was found dead in his hotel room earlier this morning (Sunday, November 13, 2005) when he failed to answer his wake-up call. I could venture a guess as to the cause of death, but it will all come out soon enough.

The men and women who perform this crazy hybrid of sport and fantasy for us fans live a very hard life. They constantly fight physical pain, loneliness, the rigors of the road, anxiety over their “spot”, and a hundred other difficult challenges. They have no off-season, virtually no down time. They hardly ever see their families or sleep in their own beds. They’re always on the road, always sleeping in a strange hotel, performing for us strangers.

It’s not hard to imagine the toll it takes on them.

Yet, in a rather disturbing bit of irony, it was only after Eddie rectified the gigantic problems in his life and recreated himself as a better man, a better husband and father, and a world champion, that he was taken from us. This is eerily reminiscent of the recent death of another man who found his way back to the light only to die suddenly, one Chris Candido.

I just saw Eddie perform live at the Pit in Albuquerque not two weeks ago. I can’t help but think about the amazing comeback he’s made. Eddie battled his “personal demons” and made it all the way to the WWE Championship, all the while improving his family life, which of course, is far more important than any title or victory. I was so glad to see him back on WWE television a few years ago, hoping he could return to his former greatness. He did by far, and accomplished more than many thought he ever would. His WrestleMania moment with Chris Benoit created a special memory that none of us true fans will ever forget.

Eddie Guerrero was an extremely rare “total package” in the industry. He could mat wrestle, fly lucha libre-style, brawl believably, cut an intense promo, entertain us, and make us laugh. He could breathe life into a less-than-desirable storyline or character like no other, and tell a dramatic story between the ropes.

I’m not sure if I’m happy to learn or saddened by the thought that nephew Chavo Guerrero shared Eddie’s last meal with him. I guess it’s a blessing that they were able to, considering they’re on different brands now. Had it not been for the super show taping in Minneapolis, Eddie and Chavo most likely would have been on different sides of the country Sunday morning. I’m grateful Chavo was one of the last people to be with his uncle, his former tag-team partner and long time brother-in-arms.

Not that kayfabe is even remotely important right now, but I’d very much like to see creative have Chavo drop the “Kerwin White” gimmick now and revert back to his roots, in tribute to his fallen kinsman. Hell, what with the SmackDown title picture in such disarray due to Batista’s injury and the loss of Eddie himself, I say trade Chavo to SmackDown and let him pursue the title as a babyface, dedicating each match along the way to his fallen uncle. But that’s a discussion for another day…

Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling, for whom Eddie has never competed, was every bit the class-act as they made a public statement as soon as possible regarding their respect for Eddie along with well-wishes for Eddie’s surviving family. They faced the unenviable task of having to perform a pay-per-view mere hours after the news of Eddie’s passing hit the streets, when I’m sure many of them would have rather mourned Eddie in private. Hopefully the TNA roster found it within them to perform in honor of Eddie, and used his strength and legacy to find their way through the daunting task of performing at Genesis.

As I watched the RAW tribute show Monday night, I recognized a strange dichotomy. The show was difficult to watch, but so wonderful to see. I look forward to the SmackDown tribute show this Friday, but it will also be very hard to endure all the sadness in the eyes and words of Eddie’s beloved friends and coworkers.

From a business perspective, creative will have to make some quick decisions. In his final match, Eddie earned a spot on Team SmackDown that squares off against Team RAW at Survivor Series in just two weeks. Also, he was set to compete once again for the world title (possibly even to WIN the title due to Batista’s injury).

*The column I was writing for today before the tragedy was all about speed versus power. I was watching several matches featuring relatively smaller, quicker, more athletically gifted wrestlers facing larger, stronger, power-based athletes. I specifically downloaded the match in which Eddie Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE world heavyweight title at No Way Out 2004. I watched the match twice; once for reference material for the column, and a second time because I truly enjoyed Eddie’s convincing performance as David to Lesnar’s Goliath. I can’t help but find irony in the fact that mere hours later, we all learned of Eddie’s death.

I (as well as thousands of fans around the world, no doubt) am truly saddened by the loss of this warrior. I found it difficult to write this column, but I’m honored to have this forum to express my thoughts. I’d like to extend a special thank you to Widro and his staff for granting me this opportunity some ten months ago. I’m truly proud to be a small blip on the radar of the inner circle of professional wrestling fans.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – No smart-ass comment this week. My heart goes out to Eddie’s wife Vickie and his daughters Shaul, Sherilyn, and Kaylie Marie. Rest in peace Mr. Guerrero, and vaya con Dios.