Last week marked the 15th anniversary of Eddie Guerrero’s passing.
In honor of his memory, Bruce Prichard shared stories about Latino Heat on his Something to Wrestle podcast. Guerrero competed across multiple promotions and numerous TV programs, but Prichard emphasized that SmackDown was always Eddie’s home.
“It was, 100%,” Prichard said. “And I think that was somewhere Eddie could flourish and not have the pressure. SmackDown had the potential to have more homes. SmackDown was broadcast at the time, and I think that whenever you look at who made certain brands and what brands made certain talent, SmackDown and Eddie definitely go good together.”
During his final year on the blue brand, Guerrero embarked on a controversial storyline with his good friend Rey Mysterio. As seasoned wrestling fans recall, the angle began once Guerrero turned heel on Mysterio in May 2005, attacking him on an episode of SmackDown. The two had multiple matches on pay-per-view before their big concluding chapter at SummerSlam.
In the build-up to the SummerSlam match, Guerrero claimed he was the biological father of Dominik Mysterio, Rey Mysterio’s son. Guerrero and Mysterio would have a ‘Custody of Dominik’ Ladder Match at SummerSlam which, to this day, is still one of WWE’s most polarizing moments.
Prichard spoke about the feud and controversial storyline surrounding it. He said the real-life seeds had been planted, and for better or worse, creative decided to capitalize on it.
“It was the time where Eddie’s autobiography had come out,” Pritchard said. “And Eddie had talked about there being a period where he and Vickie were separated, and that Eddie had a child out of wedlock. Eddie didn’t give any details on that relationship or that child.
“So you go back, you look at a timeline, and you throw it. Since there wasn’t a specific timeline in there, we created our own and said, ‘What if that child that Eddie spoke of in his book was Dominik?’ Again, Eddie didn’t talk about the child that much in the book other than it was there. After Rey tried to embarrass Eddie by beating him, Eddie felt that it was the right time to bring it out.”
Before Guerrero’s career-defining run on SmackDown, he came into WWE as apart of The Radicalz on RAW. Guerrero was rumored to be set for a King of the Ring 2002 match against ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, but was released from the company following a drunk driving incident. Prichard spoke about his final conversation he had with Eddie before he left WWE in 2001, saying they both knew he had to leave and clean up his act.
“This is kind of where our relationship just started to get closer,” Prichard said. “And where Eddie started opening up to people a little bit more because Eddie realized he needed help, and that’s the first step. When you stop blaming everyone else for any issues that you may have, and you accept it, and you look in the mirror and realize that, ‘Okay, you know what, it might have been me.’
“So I was trying to help Eddie through a lot of this stuff, and the best thing for Eddie at the time was probably to go away. Eddie needed to have ramifications and Eddie needed to lose something, I think, to realize that if he doesn’t change his ways, things will be bad.”
Guerrero received his pink slip from WWE just three days after the incident. Prichard revealed it was Jim Ross who handled the release.
“I believe, at this time, it was pretty much handled by JR and he got the news it’s time to move on,” Prichard said. “‘Hopefully we can do something with you down the line.'”
Prichard went on to say he had a lot of emotions after Eddie’s arrest, but his biggest priority was forcing the former Intercontinental Champion into a position where he had no choice but to change his ways.
“I probably felt a little betrayal, but just sadness too, and you want the guy to succeed so bad. And Eddie could be his worst enemy at times, but the decision had to be made,” Pritchard said. “He had to have ramifications and had to lose something. In this case, it was unfortunately he had to lose his job so that he could understand that you can’t continue living your life the way you are.”