November 15, 2005
I really have no idea what I’m about to write; I just feel the need to write something. I, like everyone else, was stunned by the news of Eddie Guerrero’s death. One of my students left a voice mail message on my cell phone that I got Sunday morning when I woke up. It was not the way I wanted to start my day.
I didn’t actually know Eddie all that well. We had never gotten together outside of the arena and to be honest never really spoke much inside it, but despite that there was a bond between us, a closeness that had no reason for being. I don’t know if it was just his amazing sincerity or our mutual friends and respect for this business that made me feel closer to him than I really was. Every time I saw Eddie, I was greeted with genuine emotion and love I can’t explain. His face would light up and you just felt that he cared. This is a unique quality I’ve never seen in anyone else. Eddie had the ability to touch people inexplicably. Eddie was a guy I only worked once, never went out with, and as sad as this sounds I can’t recall a conversation between us that lasted more than a couple minutes, yet some how I always felt close to him. I felt a genuine love and connection to Eddie, which I can’t for the life of me explain. I guess he was just a special person that way, he loved people, and I for one felt that love and will always be grateful for it.
I first met Eddie in Japan when we both worked an interpromotional event called “The Sky Diving J” I opened the show that night and he closed it in the main event. He stole the show that night as he did so many nights, and from that day on I knew I wanted to work with Eddie Guerrero. It took almost 7 years for that match to come about, as our career paths never seemed to cross. We missed each other in ECW and WCW, and were almost exclusively on different brands in WWE.
Our one match was a strange one, which only a select few people got to see. It wasn’t on RAW or SmackDown, Velocity or Heat, nor PPV, it was at a house show in where else? Calgary…Alberta, Canada. It was a SmackDown house show and I was on RAW. RAW was on an overseas tour, which I was left off of. With me being a hometown boy and at home I was added to the event as a last minute special appearance. I was scheduled to do a Brother Love interview segment, but that was about to change.
I was sitting in the locker room in my street clothes, as the first match headed to the ring (my interview segment was going to be after the 7th or 8th match). Vince McMahon was doing house shows at that time with Zack Gowen, and he arrived at the building and decided to shake the card up a little. He walked up to me and says, “You know what match I’d pay to see tonight? … Lance Storm vs. Eddie Guerrero for the United States Title (Eddie was champ at the time). Let’s put that match on second.”
SECOND! I kid you not. The first match has already started and I’m sitting in the locker room in my street clothes. Thankfully I was taught to always be prepared and I had my gear in the car. I bolted to the parking lot to get my stuff while praying the first match goes a little long. Someone went to find Eddie to tell him his scheduled match had both been changed and bumped up. As I’m scrambling to get my gear on before my music plays Eddie walks into my locker room cool as can be. These aren’t the exact words but I bet there damn close,
“You and me tonight?”
“Yep” I replied
“Okay, since you’re from here, I’ll be the heel. (Eddie was technically a baby face at the time) When you’re done your comeback and hit all your false finishes go to give me a German, I’ll back kick you and hit you with the frog splash, okay?”
“Sure, whatever you want. That’s your music, I’ll see you out there.”
“You got it?”
“When I’m done, I’ll go for the German”
That was it; that was all we had. We had never stepped in the ring together before, and we were going to the ring with, “When I’m done I’ll go for a German.” I was still taping my wrists and putting on my elbow pads on the way to the ring, no warm up, no stretching, nothing. The match was far from perfect, more my fault than Eddie’s trust me, but it was far better than it had any right to be. He called the entire thing and we went likely 15-20 minutes. Arena reports from fans praised the match but I was never happy with it. I knew Eddie and I could have done better, I had wanted to work Eddie for years and knew we could have stole the show had we had the chance. I wanted to give both Eddie and the fans my best and I don’t feel that I did. I always hoped to have the chance to do that match right, but sadly now, we know that will never happen.
I’m not entirely sure why Vince put us on in such a tough spot. The office, at the time, was pushing to the younger guys the importance of being able to just go to the ring and work, and perhaps this was both a test for me, and a demonstration to the younger guys that it could be done. Either way Vince thanked me for the match and I think respected my ability to answer his challenge. Truth be told it wasn’t that much of a challenge, I was in the ring with Eddie Guerrero, it would have been much tougher to have a bad match.
You will be missed Eddie, you were a great person, and an unparalleled performer. I will miss our unexplained closeness, and I will miss watching you work. When wrestling is done right it is art, and Eddie, my friend you were an incredible artist.
My deepest sympathies and condolences to Eddie’s family, I cannot fathom the pain and loss you are experiencing, my thoughts and prayers are with you.