Along with No Way Out 2004, WrestleMania 20 will always be fondly remembered by fans as the pinnacle of Eddie Guerrero’s WWE career. While at No Way Out he finally won the WWE Championship, at WrestleMania he defended his newly won belt against Kurt Angle in a match that was every bit as good as you would expect.
However, while the match on the night was the wrestling clinic that fans were hoping for, the build up to the contest isn’t always remembered so fondly. In the weeks leading up to the match, Kurt Angle would often make references to Guerrero’s history of drug addiction, saying that he didn’t deserve to be champion.
Speaking on his Grilling JR podcast, that you can find via Ad Free Shows, Jim Ross has questioned the need to bring Guerrero’s well documented issues into the feud, calling it a “turn off,”
“I understand the heel saying all these outrageous things [about Eddie’s drug use]. Wrestling villains have been doing it for years and years and years. But man I- there’s better ways, more creative ways to foreshadow Eddie’s dubious character that Kurt was alluding to than the way we did it. It was a turn off, because what it does is if somebody doesn’t know that story, now their mind is taken away from what they’re saying ‘well, what did he do? What kind of drugs? When did this happen? What’s going on?’.
So I think we could have done a better job of selecting our verbiage for that match, because what they’re trying to do is make it personal. You can make it personal. Kurt could have said: ‘hey, can you realise how much of an embarrassment Eddie Guerrero’s been for his family? Do you know his daughters are ashamed of him because of his conduct and some of his bad habits?’ Let ‘em fill in the blank. If you go into too much detail it’s negative sh*t man. I’m not blaming Kurt. Kurt was giving a directive of where to go – an outline of his promo on that topic. How you get there is going to be up to him and the writer. But bottom line is it just wasn’t the right path. Understood the logic, understood the destination, understood the routing; wrong road in my opinion.”
The podcast, which took a deep dive into WrestleMania 20, also saw Ross warmly recall his relationship with the legendary grappler. Good ol’ JR went on to describe Guerrero as “the best” before going into detail about their “good but combustible” relationship.
The veteran announcer went on to say that he “loved working with Eddie” calling him a “wrestling machine.”
Sadly this would be Guerrero’s only run with a world title before he sadly passed away on November 13th 2005. At the following year’s WrestleMania Eddie Guerrero’s close friend Rey Mysterio would win the World Heavyweight Championship in his honour.
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