The late, great Eddie Guerrero would have been 51 today and so we’re remembering him by harking back to his most memorable career moment back in 2004.
After winning a battle royal to earn the right to challenge a young, but physical specimen of a man in Brock Lesnar, for the coveted strap at the event on 15 February, Guerrero produced the performance of a lifetime to win the gold in what was a massive upset.
The 30 minute match largely consisted of the physically superior Lesnar decimating Guerrero but “Latino Heat’, who had travelled the globe honing his craft before getting to WWE, was not giving up easy.
And though he needed a bit of assist from Goldberg, who, with the referee knocked down, interfered and hit Lesnar with a brutal spear, this was all about Eddie Guerrero.
Ever the opportunist, Eddie looked to capitalise and cover his opponent but the Beast kicked out at two.
When Lesnar went to put his opponent away with a second F5, Guerrero produced one of the greatest counters ever seen in professional wrestling when he reversed the maneuver into a DDT onto the championship belt – the referee still out and oblivious to what was going on.
Guerrero then climbed to the top rope and with the rabid fans on their feet, delivered his tried and trusted Frog Splash and got the referee to count the pinfall to pick up the unlikeliest of victories and cement his place as one of the very best in-ring performers in history.
His infectious personality, charisma and sheer wizardry in the ring helped Eddie become a real fan favourite – and watching his only world championship win back after all of these years gives goosebumps galore.
His first walk to the ring as the champ is equally as emotional, given that Eddie had such an incredible connection with WWE fans and was taken from us far too soon.
Following on from the big win, Guerrero would successfully defend his crown at Wrestlemania against Kurt Angle, while Goldberg and Lesnar would have an absolute stinker of a match on the grandest stage of them all and both men left the company after the match, which was riddled with boos and groans from the fans in attendance.
Guerrero lost his title months later to JBL and feuded with Angle before tagging with, and then turning on Rey Mysterio in a storyline that saw the two fight over the custody of Rey’s real-life son Dominic.
He lied, he cheated, he stole and he won the WWE Championship.
RIP Eddie. Viva La Raza.