‘Good Ol’ JR’ Jim Ross has given his opinion on the 2006 Randy Orton promo in which ‘The Viper’ orated that the late, Eddie Guerrero, was in hell.
Following the passing of ‘Latino Heat’ in November 2005, WWE and Rey Mysterio embarked on a tale where the latter – best friend of the former WWE Champion – dedicated his matches, Royal Rumble and eventual WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory to his chum.
However, there was a hurdle on Mysterio’s journey to WrestleMania 22 in the form of a young and very cocksure Randy Orton who used the passing of Rey’s familia to coerce him into putting the title shot on the line at No Way out 2006. On a now infamous edition of SmackDown, the then ‘Legend Killer’ told the masked marvel that Guerrero wasn’t up in heaven but down in hell.
Now, Jim Ross has taken to his Grilling JR Podcast to talk about the promo itself and why, in his opinion, Eddie’s widow Vickie allowed the company to go-ahead with a segment which gained much disapproval from its fanbase:
“It didn’t work and it was distasteful. It was the wrong kind of heat if you can understand that. There’s money drawing heat where you want to pay money to see the heel get the s**t beat out of him, which is a great theory, if you’re a heel you want people to sit on their asses every eighteen inches so they can boo you and hopefully cheer when you get your ass whipped, that’s the whole rhythm, the whole dichotomy of that formula, the heels are the key guys. You gotta have a babyface you can believe in that won’t quit on me, but the heels are the straws that stir the drink. I didn’t like that Eddie thing. Eddie’s in hell, I thought it was a reach, it was knee-jerk, it just was distasteful and that’s go-away heat. Go-away heat, I don’t want to see you anymore, I don’t want to hear this anymore. Go-away heat is not beneficial for anyone. But I thought this was very distasteful in that respect…we made a wrong turn on the road to get to the destination.”
Though Orton was forced to do a U-turn the following week and admit that he didn’t mean the words he had uttered, using them only to spur Mysterio into putting his WrestleMania opportunity on the line, the promo was said to have had a great effect on Mick Foley who felt uncomfortable watching the WWE product and even went to the lengths of changing his will in order that the company could not do the same to him.
On the subject of how such a promo passed through Vickie Guerrero – who was working for the company at the time – Ross believed that it job security and an uncertain future that caused the star not to speak up:
“That was Vince, obviously. I mean big decision like that are blessed by the old man, so I think Vince would have been the one to make that call. He may have had Bruce or somebody else with him, which is not unusual, but I think Vicky was very leery to disagree with a major creative element of this pay-per-view and didn’t want to cause any ruckus, and she was working there, she wanted to work there, she was looking at work. And she was looking to build a future with her girls and her looking to take care of her overheads. I think probably the deal there was, I’m not so sure that Vicky embraced it, I don’t know that she didn’t or did, but the issue there is that she was trying to protect her own potential job offerings by not creating any waves.”
The outcome of the promo in question saw Orton strike at the heart of the Mexican and defeat him to claim his spot on ‘The Grandest Stage of Them All.’ However, Orton’s plan backfired when Mysterio found his way back into the title match and claimed the gold in a Triple Threat Match in memory of his friend.
Credit for the interview: Grilling JR