Lucha Libre Puroresu

The Eddie Guerrero Collection: Volume 1

*This is part of an ongoing series where I will be reviewing Eddie Guerrero matches in their chronological order, up to his untimely passing in 2005. I will be covering as many matches as possible, years at a time. First up is 1989 till early August 1993. Enjoy.*

Eddie Guerrero vs. Terry Funk (NWA 5/9/89)

This was ideally the perfect nature of a squash match with both sides getting their ‘stuff’ in. Good ole JR on commentary was a perfect guide throughout the short few minutes, even accidentally mistaking Funk for Flair because of WrestleWar. Guerrero was so young and bubbly, skinny like myself, flipping like an acrobat all over the place; the opposite intimidation of Terry Funk’s, who put the pressure on the ref to not DQ him when he took Eddie to the outside. Eddie got his ‘stuff’ in for the most part in the latter half, moving like a cat avoiding Terry yet coming right back with flashy high dives. He also bumped around like crazy, taking a piledriver on the floor after getting launched into the audience. Terry dropped a leg on Eddie and pinned him for the win. A great introduction for the series, with two of the all time greats duking it out in a complex environment.

Eddie Guerrero, Octagon & Mascara Sagrada vs. Jerry Estrada, Vulcano & Tony Arce (AAA 11/27/92)

I am no lucha expert at all, but one thing I’ll always tell you is that the Sagrada name, legacy, gimmick, what have you, is what I’m a mark for, and you combine that with Eddie Guerrero; plus Octagon, and you’ve got yourself an amazing trios team. The rudo team of Estrada, Vulcano, and Arce were hard to tell apart as I have limited exposure, but the overlaying car crash element is really what mattered here. This match included a LOT of Eddie too, with the crowd belting out his name as loud as can be at more than one point in the match. The match only went about 8 minutes, and was very enjoyable. The first fall saw Eddie get beat down to the point where the ref had to call a DQ. Between Estrada getting tossed high in the sky by Sagrada, Sagrada performing a tope in which someone got launched into the audience, and Octagon diving on the remainder with lastly Eddie getting a pinfall victory after a backdrop; this was one helluva watch.

Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio & Lizmark vs. Psicosis, Heavy Metal & La Parka (AAA 2/12/93)

This didn’t prominently feature Eddie a lot, but as Weeman would say, this was a hoot and a holler. It was also slightly clipped, but who cares when you’re having fun?! I love old lucha and entrances like Eddie to “Panama” and La Parker to “Thriller”. Rudos took first fall right away after getting the jump on technicos, with dominos falling and captain Eddie being pinned last after taking everyone’s moves. Second fall saw a beautiful one legged exploder suplex from Eddie to Psicosis, and Lizmark doing a beautiful crossbody to Parka to prevent a breakup of said pin. The third fall didn’t feature much of Eddie, but did see Parka be dived on again from Lizmark and a fantastic Heavy Metal and Rey finishing sequence. A few near falls, Rey using his quickness, but Heavy Metal pinned Rey with La Magistral. Early 90s AAA is too good.

Eddie Guerrero, Love Machine & Latin Lover vs. Fishman, La Parka & Blue Panther (AAA 5/21/93)

This wasn’t my favorite match thus far, but was nearly half an hour of lucha libre trios action. Like I said in the last matches reviews, early 90s AAA is too good. This was too good for stupid reasons. Whether it was Blue Panther selling offense; bouncing up and down like a kid receiving his much hyped up birthday present, or Love Machine hitting 20 bulldogs that all looked like shit, this was an entertaining watch at the least. Now that this is actually long, I must review it in 2/3 falls elongation format. The first fall, ironically speaking, was the longest of them all clocking in at about 13 minutes. There was tons of heat placed on Love Machine, which Latin Lover was face in peril later on for longer, but Eddie managed to save him. Eddie was so great in this match as expected, and showcased tons of athleticism with arm drags and hurricanranas that looked as slick as a 200 KM race car down a strip. The first of many AWKWARD bulldogs was hit with Eddie and Love Machine doing a doomsday one, and another awkward moment came with the hesitant 3 count that was technically broken up. Technicos won the first fall after Eddie hurricanrana’d Parka from the top rope and Lover got a roll-up on Fishman. Rudos quickly struck in the second fall, with a senton on Love Machine, a nasty revenge-strickened enzuirguri from Parka on Eddie, and Lover being beat to all hell which triggered the face in peril moments which led us into the final fall. So much good stuff came out of this fall, with Eddie taunting Parka out of a cover, Eddie doing a beautiful plancha, and all of his bridges. Panther trolled Eddie and the technicos by repeatedly breaking up pins and even holding the refs arm, preventing him from counting 3. Panther reversed a tombston and got two refs to count a pin whilst a foot was on the rope, a crossbody was missed by Panther and Latin Lover turned it into a La Magistral pin for the technicos win! Very fun action, with Eddie and Parka being two high notes.

(Top of the Super Junior Playoff) Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko (NJPW 6/14/93)

This was a simple and effective 10 minute match. These guys performed in front of 5,000+ fans on the Explosion Tour and this was the last ‘Best of’ Super Junior work for the season. Dean was in control for a New York minute until Eddie took over for seemingly 90% of the match. After exploding out of the ring and bashing Malenko’s leg on the ring post, Eddie worked over the limb like no tomorrow, with marvelous leg locks, but the man of a trillion holds, Dean Malenko, managed to work out of predicaments such as a time where he reversed the hold he was in with a simple headlock to reverse momentum. We had a kickout barrage, with all the bridges you could think of, and every time Dean kicked out the fans gradually roared louder and louder. Eddie was back on defense kicking out of a Tiger Driver, but Malenko seemingly had the match won with a damaged Eddie. Some more good back and forth and then came a fantastic, complex, yet quick finish. It’s almost like both guys used an on the fly playbook to counter each other. Just as Eddie was about to hurricanrana Malenko out of a powerbomb again, Dean mustered up the strength to simply make it a ‘Pop Up’ variation, then turned Eddie over for a Texas Cloverleaf to make him tap. Respect was shown at the end of the match. Economic and fun work from the two.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Tiger Mask III (NJPW 8/2/93)

This so happened to take place on Day 1 of the 1993 G1 Climax. This was a perfect get your shit in match. This only went about 5 minutes and a half, so there was no time to waste for Kanemoto and Guerrero. This match encompassed the junior style of wrestling with extravagant movements, holds, athletic achievements, and huge dives plus a little bit of hope spots sprinkled then and there. We got not one but two Tiger Mask aerials, one being a flying dropkick which sent Eddie over the barricade, and then a leaping tackle off the top rope, over the barricade, and onto Eddie. However, both went back in the ring and found themselves out again as Eddie did a scary crossbody onto Tiger, in which the impact sent both into the barricade. Hint: barricade is the theme of the match. A super hurricanrana and a Frog Splash still weren’t enough! Tiger Mask fluidly rolled forward grasping onto Eddie off the top rope to send him into the mat and executed a Dragon Suplex for the win. I couldn’t have asked for more for 5 literal minutes.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Shinjiro Otani (NJPW 8/8/93)

Just 6 days after the last match, this brings us to Guerrero vs. Otani on the last day of the G1 Climax tour, where in the main event, a blow away Genichiro Tenryu vs. Shinya Hashimoto match main evented. This is my favorite match thus far, and boy what a match this was. You had Eddie who played on top for much of the match, but it didn’t feel like dominance as Otani would slip and slide around, attempting kimura’s as well as arm locks and what not. Seamless, stiff, and evasive describe this match. Seamless being the grappling, like Eddie delivering a fallaway slam and immidiately transitioning such into arm work. Another special spot in the match is where Otani saved himself from a near business exposing botch, which could have been more horrendous at the time. He slipped off a springboard but immidiately crushed Guerrero using his fists as a save. It’s almost like he used the botch as momentum and not a set back. There were other wondrous sequences and athleticism combined with limb work. Otani delivered a Dragon Suplex but still no bueno. Eddie even pressed his legs on Otani’s chest in a German bridge to kickout. Eddie went for a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but Otani swept around his body, BUT Eddie kept him in the position (kind of like Widow’s Peak) and used leverage for a Gory Special pin for the win. So much craziness yet so precise and methodical and smart. My type of wrestling.

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