It’s been seven years since the sudden passing of Eddie Guerrero, which is as good a time as any to trawl through WWE’s YouTube archive for some timeless Latino Heat action. Back in 2000, fresh off his crushing onscreen breakup with future internet star Chyna, Guerrero defended the Intercontinental Championship against “The One” Billy Gunn on Smackdown.
It’s still striking exactly how consistently good at his job he was–Eddie’s greatness was apparent outside his WCW cruiserweight clinics and later main event classics against Brock Lesnar and JBL. Here’s a random Smackdown match against “The One” Billy Gunn*, or as I’ll always call him now, Ese Goldilocks, that captures the quintessential smarmy heel jerk Eddie, the one who lied, cheated, and stole but didn’t get cheered for it yet. (For those who missed the heyday of Mr. Ass or the most recent DX reunion, Billy Gunn is kind of like Dolph Ziggler crossed with a happy pug.)
Spoiler alert: after a good back-and-forth match, Gunn wins the IC title clean, and the crowd goes nuts for it in a way that rarely happened–sorry Billy–during Gunn’s time as a singles wrestler. And Eddie Guerrero went on to become, well, Eddie Guerrero.