Hispanic Heritage Month In Focus: Latino Heat, Eddie Guerrero

Latino Heat amazed fans with his charisma and his iconic Frog Splash.

This is part of The Shadow League’s Hispanic Heritage Month In Focus series celebrating Latino excellence in sports and culture.

Eddie Guerrero was a Mexican-American wrestler who was born into the legendary Guerrero wrestling family.

His brothers Mando, Hector, and Chavo were professional wrestlers as well. Often, Chavo and Eddie would accompany their father to wrestling promotions and would wrestle each other during intermissions. Eddie, however, blossomed into the most captivating of them all.

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Guerrero was one of the most famous Latino wrestlers of all-time and he was a pioneer for Mexicans and other Latinos in the white-dominated world of pro wrestling.

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Before entering the mainstream ring in the United States, Eddie was a part of many Mexican wrestling promotions and also wrestled on the Japanese pro circuit, making a name for himself as a charismatic, ruthless, crafty and resourceful wrestler with a gimmick of “Latino Heat “ and a catchphrase of “I Lie! I Cheat! I Steal!”

Despite playing the heel role for most of his career, Guerrero was very popular and gained fame with his wrestling exploits and unique storylines which included classic battles against his brother.

Guerrero received his first mainstream exposure in the United States in 1995 by joining ECW and winning the ECW World Television Championship. Later that year, Guerrero moved to WCW, where he became WCW United States Champion and WCW Cruiserweight Champion.

Frustrated for never being given a chance to work in the main event, he formed the Latino World Order (LWO) in 1998, which was a response to WCW President Eric Bischoff’s New World Order.

The Latino World Order, which was established to bring Mexican wrestlers more respect, popularity, unity, and exposure.  At its height, LWO included almost every significant Mexican wrestler working in WCW at the time.

In 2002, Eddie formed Los Guerreros with his nephew Chavo, winning the WWE Tag Team Championship, and he became a Top Dawg with the progressive SmackDown brand. He finally achieved main event status and won the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004 against Brock Lesnar.

He lost the title later that year but remained a wildly popular wrestler until his unfortunate death. It was the pentacle of a life and carer that was too short.

For his impact on wrestling culture, Guerrero was posthumously inducted into the WWE, AAA, Wrestling Observer Newsletter and Hardcore halls of fame.

His successful wrestling career came to an end at the age of 38 when he was found unconscious in his hotel room at The Marriott City Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by his nephew, Chavo. An autopsy revealed that Guerrero died as a result of acute heart failure due to underlying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

It represented the duality of an icon who was an inspiration to Latinos, but also struggled with alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers that’s prevalent all over the world.

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Eddie Guerrero was a true Mexican-American hero and a role model at a time when Latinos in America didn’t have many portrayals of success and people they could look up to. His legacy should be celebrated during Hispanic Heritage month.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.