On the latest episode of Grilling JR, as quoted by WrestlingNews.co, Jim Ross explained why Vince McMahon gravitated towards Eddie Guerrero. McMahon gave the legendary superstar a push that culminated with a WWE Championship victory over Brock Lesnar, even though the chairman at the time had a history of mainly pushing superstars with larger physiques. According to Ross, however, he was impressed by Guerrero’s talent and the high opinion of the superstar among his peers.
“Eddie was hungry. He didn’t want to be called a cruiserweight or a midget or whatever. I think it’s consistency and the fact that everybody wanted to work with him. When you have top guys going to the old man just to get face time, and they tell him ‘Vince if I get a chance, I’d like to work with Eddie.’ Enough guys did that and then Vince said there’s something here. He beat Brock Lesnar in the Cow Palace at 190 pounds and Lesnar at 290 and made it believable.”
Ross also recalled how he and other WWE personnel cried after Guerrero defeated Lesnar for the championship. Lesnar was dominant at the time and Guerrero went into the match as an underdog, but he was also the firm fan favorite and it was the right time to give him a chance to prove that he could be a main event star.
According to Ross, Guerrero and Chris Benoit were the best workers in the WWE locker room at the time, and the boss respected their work ethic. However, he noted that Guerrero had the ability to go up against faces and heels and make the matches feel “real,” which put him in good stead with the company’s management team and his fellow superstars.
Latino Heat ❤️
In one of the greatest underdog stories ever told, Eddie Guerrero defeated Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship 16 years ago today ????
Miss you, Eddie ????
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) February 15, 2020
Ross then went on to say that he was unaware of Guerrero’s health issues before he passed away but revealed that he’s happy that the legendary superstar got his big moment in the main event spotlight before his unexpected death. The former World Champion died as the result of acute heart failure in 2005, due to underlying atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.
During the conversation, Ross also compared All Elite Wrestling’s Sammy Guevara to Guerrero. The Hall of Famer said that the conversations he’s had with the rising star remind him of some that he had with Guerrero back in the day, but it remains to be seen if Guevara will have a similar impact on the industry.