Brock Lesnar has been booked as an undefeatable beast in recent years, but back in 2004, this beast was conquered by an unlikely hero: Eddie Guerrero.
The 2004 edition of the No Way Out pay-per-view took place on February 15th, 2004, at the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. It was presented by THQ’s MX Unleashed and boasted an attendance of 11,000, which equated to $450,000 in ticket sales. It also saw 350,000 pay-per-view buys. All in all, the event was instrumental in raising WWE’s revenue by $11.9 million as compared to the previous year.
Eddie Guerrero Defeats Brock Lesnar to Become WWE Champion
Eddie Guerrero versus Brock Lesnar was a matchup that worked perfectly at all times. From the buildup to the night of the execution, it was truly perfect. Eddie was fresh off, finally getting clean from drugs and alcohol. He had brushes with sobriety before but always fell back down that particular rabbit hole. Not anymore. It seemed he actually defeated his demons.
During the buildup, Brock Lesnar, ever the heel, went after that aspect of Eddie’s personal life. It made for captivating television. Eddie allowed himself to be completely vulnerable in front of millions of people.
Eddie Guerrero had been struggling with various substance abuse problems for a while, including alcoholism and an addiction to painkillers.
Eddie developed an addiction to pain medication stemming from a 1999 car accident and, in May 2001, was sent to rehab.
On November 9th, 2001, he was arrested for drunk driving and was consequently released by then-WWF three days later.
These real-life issues were incorporated into his storyline with Lesnar.
After that promo, the WWE Universe was champing at the bit to see Eddie take the title away from Brock. By the time the opening bell hit, the crowd in attendance was at a fever pitch. The crowd was with the two competitors every step of the way.
The psychology of this match was so tight. While Brock was the dominant one in the ring, Eddie used everything at his disposal to stay in it. Luckily for Latino Heat, before this match, Lesnar managed to run afoul of Bill Goldberg. After some incidental contact, the ref went down, allowing the former WCW World Heavyweight champion to eventually hit the ring and spear the living hell out of the (future) Beast Incarnate.
Still, Lesnar, the man who would eventually conquer the streak, was able to pull himself off the mat and set Eddie up for another F-5, which was swiftly countered into a DDT. As it happens, Eddie managed to drive Brock’s face into the WWE Championship that Lesnar himself brought into the ring, hoisted by his own petard.
Eddie Guerrero was famous for lying, cheating, and stealing, so obviously, he had no problem winning like this. He promptly hit the top rope and delivered a Frog Splash, which led to him pinning Brock for a three count, winning the WWE Championship for the very first and only time.
“Brock Lesnar Misses Eddie Guerrero Every Day”
During an interview on The Payoff Podcast, Vickie Guerrero talked about her husband Eddie Guerrero defeating Brock Lesnar to win the WWE Championship on that fateful day in 2004.
As it turned out, she didn’t know in advance that Eddie was scheduled to defeat Lesnar for the title.
“I didn’t know at all,” Vicki admitted. “Not until Eddie called me that night. Of course, in the wrestling business, it’s scripted, and they know the outcome even before they go out. Eddie told me before he left for that trip, ‘I’m not going to call you. I want you to enjoy it without worrying about me.’
Vicki continued, “There was a lot of fear in me for Eddie’s well-being because Brock is such a massive wrestler. There was a lot of concern for me, and I think the last thing he wanted was for me to show my worry over him that day. I didn’t know he won until he called me. To watch the match and see it with my girls, we were fans of Eddie, and we were rooting for him the whole time.
“Eddie was such a great worker. He always wanted to do his best for his opponent. You see Brock throwing Eddie around, and that was really hard for me to watch. Seeing it makes me squeal watching Eddie getting thrown around, but they told such a good story with each other.”
On what it meant for Eddie to win the WWE Championship, Vicki said, “It meant the world [to Eddie] because, at this point, he was overcoming his demons with drugs and alcohol. So, with WWE giving him this chance to get a chance at the title, there were so many things his whole life was coming to this one point that he’s waited for all these years.
“He wanted to prove not only to his fans and to WWE but to himself, and in his heart, this was where all his work was going to pay off. This was really special to Eddie because this was his time to prove, ‘Yeah, I did go through my demons, and I did lose my family, and I lost my job, but I am here because I worked for it.’ It meant a lot to him, and it was a lot of emotions in one night.”
On Brock Lesnar putting in the effort to make Eddie’s moment special, Vicki stated, “Brock could have easily out-jobbed Eddie and just won the whole thing in five minutes, but they really wanted to tell a story. Brock gave his one-hundred fifteen percent.
“It went back and forth, and the way Brock was throwing Eddie around, [my daughters] were terrified. They wanted to make this match count. It was pretty special watching the match.
“Brock is just amazing. Brock loved Eddie. He’ll hug me and say, ‘I still miss Eddie every day.’ And that’s just something really special when I get to see Brock.
“I was very proud of not only Eddie but Brock and that they were both safe because there’s a lot that runs through your mind. I still thank Brock to this day when I see him because it was because of him that Eddie was able to have that great match. They were dancing in the ring and doing their own dance, which was spectacular. Never forgotten.”
Eddie Guerrero and His Influence on Future Superstars
Eddie Guerrero defeating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship was a moment that lives on in infamy for so many fans. It was also coincidently the moment that created The Boss, Sasha Banks. Michael Cole recently stated on commentary during a WWE broadcast that the night Eddie Guerrero won the title was when “The Boss” Sasha Banks decided she wanted to become a pro wrestler.
Never one to hide her love and appreciation for Eddie Guerrero, Sasha Banks had these passionate words to say during her appearance on Chris Jericho’s podcast, Talk Is Jericho:
"What did you like best about Eddie?"
"People ask me that, and I don’t know what made me connect to him so much, but he was the first match that I saw. That got me hooked on wrestling.
Before that, I was such a girly girl. I swear, I was going to be a beauty queen, but then wrestling was on my TV, and I was instantly hooked. I couldn’t stop watching. Every single week. It was an Eddie match [that drew me in]. Just everything about him, I just love. I want to be the female Eddie Guerrero. He’s the greatest of all time to me. I love everything about him."
She famously modeled her attire for the Women’s Championship triple threat match at WrestleMania 32 after the gear you see Eddie wearing in the picture featured above. It may have gotten a thumbs down from Chavo Guerrero, but it gets a huge thumbs up from us. As does this frog splash:
Interestingly enough, one of Sasha’s most famous rivals and close friends were in attendance at the Cow Palace when Latino Heat took home the gold.
It’s been over fifteen years since Eddie passed. As Chavo Guerrero put it, we say ‘passed’ because you only die when no one remembers you. Barring some apocalypse that wipes out the pro wrestling world, we can definitively say that Eddie Guerrero will never be forgotten. He lied, cheated, and stole his way right into the hearts of millions.
CHAVO GUERRERO (posted November 13th, 2015, via Instagram):
"Today is the 10 yr anniversary of Eddie’s passing. I say passing & not death because u only die when no one remembers u & when u don’t have an impact on anyone anymore.
Well, as u all know, Eddie has had SUCH an impact on people. I hear it every day of how much Eddie affected their lives. I’m glad that the "Real" Eddie came through his wrestling persona.
Eddie had the BIGGEST heart of anyone I have ever known. He loved BIGGER than anyone I have ever known. I’ve learned so much from my Big Brother,& I continue to learn every day.
"I’m trying, Ed. I’m almost there. It’s been a struggle, but it will only help me appreciate it more when I get there. I only wish u were here to see me.
In a way, u are. I guess what I’m trying to say is I wish u were here so I could see U" I know I will soon!
Love u & miss u, Ewis!"
Watch Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship at No Way Out 2004:
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure not to miss the following articles on our site:
- The Death of Eddie Guerrero: Never Forgotten
- Chris Benoit – Life and Death of "The Crippler"
- 5 Wrestling Families That Went Through Tragedy and Darkness