Kurt Angle recently shared his opinions on the infamous ‘Eddie’s in Hell’ promo, claiming the remark was necessary to further continue the storyline.
In perhaps one of the most infamous segments in WWE history, Randy Orton confronted Rey Mysterio in the run up to WrestleMania 22. Mysterio, winner of the 2006 Royal Rumble, vowed to go on to ‘The Grandest Stage of them All’ and capture the World Heavyweight Championship in honour of his late friend, Eddie Guerrero. With Mysterio pointing at the heavens and gesturing to Eddie, Orton would deliver the infamous line:
“You’re looking up towards the heavens like you’re looking for Eddie. Let me tell you something, bro. Eddie ain’t in heaven. Eddie’s down there – in hell!”
Eddie Guerrero tragically passed away in November 2005, just two days after facing Mr. Kennedy on an episode of Smackdown. His death would send shockwaves through the world of professional wrestling. Fans and performers alike mourned the loss of Latino Heat, heralding the star as one of the all time greats.
Orton’s remarks would lead to a heated rivalry between the Legend Killer and Rey Mysterio. WrestleMania 22 would see Orton and Mysterio in a triple threat match against World Heavyweight Champion, Kurt Angle. Mysterio would go on to win the Championship, honouring the legacy of Eddie Guerrero.
On a recent episode of ‘The Kurt Angle Show’, the Olympic gold medalist recalled that fateful promo. Describing his thoughts behind the reasoning for it, Angle believes the comment was made to strengthen the fans hatred for Orton, and desire to see Rey Mysterio win:
“That was fair game – the whole reason Rey won the world title and the whole reason for the programme was to commemorate Eddie. That was the whole issue, was to show how much Eddie was adored and cared about. Randy might have gone a little too far with some of the things he said but that’s part of being a heel. You wanted fans to say, ‘That guy’s disgusting. He makes me sick.’ So Randy did the right thing.
“I didn’t have problem with the programme. And I understood why Rey was in that spot – he was representing Eddie. And Rey is very vulnerable, Eddie’s not vulnerable. So doing that to Rey and talking about Eddie the way Randy did, it makes people feel more sorry for Rey for being in that position. It was a great programme and a great story, I thought it was.”
Not everyone shares Angle’s somewhat positive opinion on the comment. Jim Ross, former Head of Talent relations in WWE, recently described the promo as wrong and distasteful:
“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.”
The promo has gone down in wrestling history as one of the more controversial moments inside the squared circle. Orton, who reportedly felt uncomfortable with the segment, would pay tribute to Eddie Guerrero years later, in a touching Instagram post in October, 2020:
“I knew Eddie for a couple years. I was so young and knew that I shouldn’t approach him but had the unimaginable job of wrestling in the main event on TV, so I had to. There has always been attitudes egos or whatever backstage, that will never change. But when I met Eddie I forgot everything that I was supposed to know about the wrestling business. Here was this top talent, that cared enough to give me the time of day.
When I thought that a simple word would bother him, or he would tell me to F off, I quickly realized that I was dead wrong and that he gaf. He saw a young newcomer to the biz who was excited to work with him and he took the time to make me feel comfortable. I take that with me these days, the understanding that the new guys aren’t anything more then exactly how I USED to be. He made me feel welcome. He made me feel important. I will forever miss him, and can say without a doubt that he was one of the greatest to ever lace up a pair of boots.
Mysterio would hold onto the Championship until The Great American Bash 2006, losing to King Booker. Mysterio would go on to pay tribute Eddie Guererro with two poignant tattoos. On his left arm, the word ‘Guerrero Latino’ can be seen, as well as a small tombstone reading ‘EG’, honouring the memory of ‘Latino Heat’.
Credit for Interview: The Kurt Angle Show