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A Look Back: Eddie Guerrero's Road to the WWE Championship

Commemorating the 20th anniversary of Eddie Guerrero capturing the WWE Championship

By Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 2 months ago 4 min read

Twenty years. Can't believe it's been twenty years.

One of the most amazing moments in WWE history happened on the evening of February 15, 2004, and it was on that night that Eddie Guerrero finally reached the top of the proverbial mountain and captured the World Wrestling Entertainment Championship. Eddie's road wasn't easy. A wrestling career that began in his late teenage years, and included stints in AAA, New Japan, and most notably (at that time) World Championship Wrestling. After five years in WCW, Eddie debuted in the then-named World Wrestling Federation promotion in 2000 as part of The Radicalz faction.

From there, we would see Eddie paired up with Chyna, with their immense popularity turning them from a villainous couple to a heroic one, though Eddie would go back to being the bad guy very shortly. The early years would see Eddie hold the European and Intercontinental Championships, and it was in 2003 that Eddie became WWE's first-ever United States Champion, and that would begin a slow build to main event status.

The tail end of 2003 saw Eddie as one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions with nephew Chavo Guerrero, but after they lost the titles, Chavo turned on his uncle, beginning a feud that would also put Chavo's father, Chavo Guerrero Sr. (aka Chavo Classic), at his son's side against his younger brother. Eddie defeated his nephew in a grudge match at the Royal Rumble, and it was on the first SmackDown after the Rumble that Eddie was part of the 15-man SmackDown Royal Rumble, with the winner receiving a shot at the WWE Championship at the following event, No Way Out. Eddie entered at #13, and in the contest, it was down to himself and Kurt Angle, with the long battle seeing Eddie eliminate Angle to get his long overdue opportunity.

No Way Out took place on February 15, 2004, and was the first No Way Out event under the sole SmackDown banner. The event saw Goldberg make his appearance, as he was looking to deliver some payback to WWE Champion Brock Lesnar for getting him eliminated from the Royal Rumble Match. As for Eddie, he main evented that night against Brock, and with the referee down, the champion was looking to take down his challenger with the actual title, only for Goldberg to resurface and deliver a spear to Brock. Afterwards, Eddie delivered a DDT on to the actual title, and it was followed by a Frog Splash to deliver the WWE Championship to Latino Heat.

Eddie celebrated the win with a lot of the fans, and was shown holding his new prize in one hand, and the California state flag in the other; the event took place at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Undoubtedly, this was Eddie's biggest win of his career. Not only was this his first world title, he would complete WWE's Grand Slam with this win.

It was right around this time that I started watching WWE regularly, and I remember the first SmackDown after No Way Out. Eddie was set to defend the title against Chavo (who won the Cruiserweight Championship at that event), with Chavo Classic as the planned ref. However, after Chavo Classic was taken out, Kurt Angle (who won a #1 Contender's match at the event) was instilled as the replacement official. During the match, Angle brutally attacked Eddie, and with that, SmackDown had its main event for the 20th anniversary of WrestleMania.

I remember really enjoying the build for this. Angle spent the following weeks denigrating Eddie; using Eddie's past addictions to claim that he is unworthy of representing WWE as their champion, while Eddie's attempts to get back at Angle would see his temper get the best of him, and he would also be at Angle's mercy. WrestleMania XX took place on March 14, 2004, and we would see two technical marvels go at it for the richest prize in the business: the WWE Championship. It was an instant classic that would end wtih Eddie using his usual trickery to get the best of Angle and retain the title.

Eddie would have successful title defenses against Rey Mysterio and even Triple H before dealing with a new foe in the form of the repackaged John "Bradshaw" Layfield. It was on March 18, 2004 (my 19th birthday) that Bradshaw left his longtime APA partner, Faarooq, high and dry and allowed him to be fired, leading to Bradshaw going on his own and being placed in the WWE Championship picture. The heated feud saw the pair face off in a brutal bout at Judgment Day, which saw JBL win via disqualification. A rematch took place at The Great American Bash; a Texas Bullrope Match that JBL won to capture the title.

Eddie Guerrero held the WWE Championship for 133 days, which is 19 weeks even. Runs like that (as well as JBL's run) definitely prove that quality definitely beats quantity when it comes to world championships in wrestling. In the case of Eddie Guerrero, this was his only time as a world champion in WWE, but it was one of the best and most memorable runs in WWE history. He's why I really loved that Undisputed WWE Championship design that was used between 2002 and 2005. The belt was held by quite a few stars, but many fans connect that exact belt to Eddie Guerrero, and WWE definitely felt the same way, as they created a custom belt with the Latino Heat colors.

As for this fan, I'm forever elated that I actually got to witness Eddie Guerrero's run to the top. It was amazing, it was awesome, and it was full of so many memorable moments, and I will continue to enjoy reliving them all on a loop.


About the Creator

Clyde E. Dawkins

I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also into film and TV, especially Simpsons and Family Guy.

Feel free to follow my social media:

Twitter - Facebook - Tiktok - Instagram

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Comments (2)

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  • Philip Gipson2 months ago

    Congratulations to Eddie Guerrero!

  • Alex H Mittelman 2 months ago

    Nice work ❤️

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