Guerrero was one of the top stars on the Smackdown! brand. Due to his star wattage and Latino heritage, he and Rey Mysterio were top draws for the largely Hispanic audience that’ve gone to the tapings at Staples Center, not to mention the tapings elsewhere in California (San Francisco, Fresno, Bakersfield, and San Diego) and the Southwest. In fact, those two wrestlers were the reason that Smackdown! was the top non-Spanish program among Hispanics in America.
In addition, Guerrero’s life seemed to be on the upswing after battling some demons that had haunted him (injuries from a major auto accident as well as addictions to alcohol and prescription painkillers, not to mention domestic issues with his family).
More after the jump.
Reading the tributes from fellow wrestlers like Mysterio and Chris Jericho, you see the reason why Guerrero was widely-regarded as one of the most entertaining, talented, and respected pro wrestlers in the industry.
Tonight’s episode of RAW and Friday’s episode of Smackdown! will be most interesting to watch because Vince McMahon decided to forgo existing storylines and make both shows a tribute to Guerrero’s life and career. Based on the reports I’ve read thus far, the tribute by his longtime friend Chris Benoit will be a particular highlight to watch for.
Thank you, Latino Heat. You will be missed, and you will always be a champion. My condolences to your friends and your family.
(Photo courtesy of WWE.)
UPDATE: WWE has a link set up for fans to send their condolences, and they have also uploaded videos from RAW and Unlimited where many of the superstars shared their memories of Guerrero (I recommend the ones with Chavo Guerrero, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Eric Bischoff, JBL, and Vince McMahon from the beginning of RAW). They’ve also posted a message from Guerrero’s wife Vickie, an interview with Jericho regarding Guerrero’s death, a career retrospective, numerous photo galleries, and video clips.