On the morning of November 13, 2005, Chavo Guerrero was notified that his uncle Eddie Guerrero had passed away in his sleep. Just a few hours later, Chavo summoned up the strength to wrestle JBL in what would be an Eddie Guerrero Tribute Match.
During that match, Chavo used the Three Amigos suplexes and Frog Splash that Eddie had made famous. Ever since then, Chavo has kept those moves in his repertoire to honor Eddie, and he discussed doing that when he joined The Chris Van Vliet Show.
“That’s when I adopted using some of Eddie’s moves. Before, I would do them as a dig to get heat,” said Chavo. “You don’t want to do the move and have them think of another wrestler, but in this case with Eddie’s moves ? the Three Amigos and the Frog Splash ? I want them chanting ‘Eddie.’ Still, to this day, they’ll do it. Every match I have, I get an ‘Eddie’ chant. Every single match.”
Less than two years after Eddie’s death, Chris Benoit’s double murder-suicide rocked the wrestling world. Chavo was close to both, and was asked which of those deaths hit him harder.
“I don’t know if Eddie’s death hit harder– it hits harder because he was my ‘brother’, but Eddie sometimes had the weight of the world on his shoulders, and he felt that. So, when he passed, I saw it almost like he was called home,” revealed Chavo.
“When Chris passed, it was just a different story. The circumstances behind that were very? I still struggle with that one to this day. It’s still tough, and if you guys saw ‘Dark Side of the Ring’ and see how it affected us – it was so tragic, the circumstances behind it. They were just both different, but the thing with Chris is just something that still bothers me.”
As seen on that Dark Side of the Ring episode, Benoit sent out text messages to a few friends including Chavo just before he took his own life. Chavo was asked to recall receiving that last text.
“I think he texted me after everything really happened. He was texting me going, ‘Hey, this is how you can find me.’ I think he texted me probably before he committed suicide,” Chavo said before discussing Chris’ son David and how he wants to get into wrestling.
“I want him to; I would love for him to do that. It’s tough because he looks so much like his father. It sucks for him – he just got played a raw hand. He didn’t do anything wrong but yet he still suffers from the consequences of his father and the circumstances that surrounded his death, and he’s such a poor guy. He still gets it. With him, it’s something that– it’s kind of ‘the ball’s in his court.'”
If you can take away the last moments of Benoit’s life, then you can realize what a special talent he was in the ring. He was one of the best technical wrestlers who ever lived, so it can be a daunting task for David to try and fill his shoes. Chavo was asked about sons in wrestling trying to replicate their famous fathers’ successes.
“Yeah, you’ll never fill those shoes. You can’t fill shoes of Chris Benoit, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, of an Eddie Guerrero, of a Rey Mysterio. You just can’t. You can just be you,” stated Chavo.
“Look at Dominik Mysterio right now, coming up. Is he Rey Mysterio? No, but he’s kicking butt. He’s Dominik, and I tell him the same thing, ‘Just be you.’ He’s being sheltered right now. He’s being led and protected in WWE. There’ll be a time that he won’t have that protection around him. He’s going to have to be himself.”
Dominik has been involved in storylines with his father since he was six years old but it was hard to predict at that age if he would follow in his father’s footsteps. He ultimately did and made his pro debut earlier this year, and Chavo was asked if he always knew that Dominik would get into the business.
“Yeah, I saw him even as a kid. He really loved wrestling and he did some stuff with us at Lucha Underground, and we saw him training,” recalled Chavo. “Where that went, who knows? Sometimes you have all the best intentions and circumstances happen, but he kind of kept at it at the right time, right place, and Rey was back in WWE. It’s perfect.”
There are the obvious physical differences between Rey and Dominik Mysterio, and Chavo talked more about what separates the two in the ring.
“You got Rey Mysterio at 5’4″ and Dominik at 6’2″, so it’s impossible to do Rey Mysterio stuff. If Rey Mysterio was two inches taller, he wouldn’t have been Rey Mysterio,” said Chavo. “He had the perfect combination to be who he was. I always hear ‘the next Rey Mysterio.’ No, there’s one and that is it. He’s one Rey Mysterio and he’s super special.
“So now, you have the son coming out without a mask. So, right now, he’s going to be a little different right there. He’ll find his way. It takes time. When I first started, I was doing the moonsaults like my father and doing some of my father’s moves. Just be yourself and you’ll get there.”
Chavo is a part-time wrestler these days with all of his outside ventures, and he’s wrestled just two matches over the last year. But with over 25 years in the ring, he was asked to reflect on some of his favorite matches in WCW and WWE.
“That’s so tough. We had so many matches, so many great people. WCW ? was it something with me and Eddie? Was it something with me and Rey? Was there something with Gregory Helms? That’s tough. I hadn’t hit my stride yet, so that’s a tough one,” stated Chavo.
“WWE, there are so many people that stood out. Wrestling Kane, Undertaker, CM Punk, Eddie, all the top guys. Eddie and I, when we were kids, we wanted to be the tag team champions of the world. We didn’t talk about being the heavyweight champions or the cruiserweight champions, we always pretended we were the tag team champions. And we would be in the backyard wrestling ring with my dad’s and one of his brother’s belts and we pretend that we were the champions, and role played that back there.
“So when we became the WWE Tag Team Champions at Madison Square Garden of all places, Survivor Series  against Rey Mysterio, Edge, Chris Benoit, and Kurt Angle – ‘The SmackDown Six’ that they used to call us – that was super special. We kind of achieved that goal. After that, we made other goals, we made other aspirations that we wanted to do. We wanted to be heavyweight champions. We had to move up and change them. We both achieved that. I think that was probably the pinnacle. We went different places for sure on that, but just super special was that.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.