MLW Owner, Court Bauer, has spoken out about how Vince McMahon wanted to turn Rey Mysterio into the next Eddie Guerrero in 2006.
Following the untimely passing of Eddie Guerrero on November 13, 2005, a story was crafted around the real-life tragedy in which the star’s best friend, Rey Mysterio, would use the loss and the sympathy that went with it to not only win the 2006 Royal Rumble Match, but go to WrestleMania and lift the World Heavyweight Championship in his pal’s honour.
However, as it turned out, fans began to reject the unnatural storyline which became forced and somewhat untasteful after only a few weeks and Mysterio heard the jeers en route to the biggest victory of his entire career.
Now Court Bauer has sat down with Fightful to speak on their ‘Inside The Royal Rumble’ exclusive article about how the boss intended to turn the passing into a storyline which would garner Randy Orton much heat:
“I think the prevailing thought was Rey should win coming off of the death of Eddie Guerrero. It was a weird time, too, because Vince wanted to, by design, create an opportunity to get some heat and heat up Randy Orton. So, they did what many people consider—internally, of course, and the fans and media—a fairly distasteful set-up with Orton and Rey and trying to, per the chairman, create heat for Orton in that situation using Eddie’s name. There was a lot of justification that this is what Eddie would love and this is what Eddie would want. It’s not like we have a direct line to Eddie Guerrero to get his notes and his feedback. So, it was a little uncomfortable for a lot of us. But, the idea was that Rey would be earmarked to be the top star to ascend in the aftermath of that horrible tragedy.”
With the Royal Rumble on the horizon so soon after Eddie’s death, Bauer, then a WWE writer, told of how Vince wanted to find the next Guerrero and turned to Mysterio to fill that spot:
“It’s weird because I remember that moment in time where you try to pick up the pieces after Eddie Guerrero’s passing and try to figure out, ‘Okay, what’s next? How do we figure this out?’ Vince is saying we need to find the next Eddie Guerrero and I’m instantly, personally, thinking, ‘Well, you don’t just find the next anyone, especially not someone so super talented like an Eddie Guerrero.’ It’s like, back in the 80s when Vince was already, in the late 80s, looking for the next Hulk Hogan and the next this guy, the next that guy. There’s only one Rock, there’s only one Hogan, there’s only one Austin, there’s only one Eddie, there’s only one John Cena. You can’t just clone that or make another talent just because he’s Hispanic is going to be that, and I’m not just, by any way, devaluing Rey Mysterio. He’s an incredible attraction, a Hall of Famer. But, he’s not the same. You can’t program him. You can’t write, you can’t book a Rey Mysterio the same way as Eddie Guerrero. Eddie Guerrero had a totally different persona, totally different belief system as a character—lying, cheating stealing. Rey Mysterio was a totally different character. He was so much smaller and was like a superhero come to life. The children related to him different. His audience was slightly different. Eddie was a little greyer. He had a little edge to him. He could be a lot of things. It couldn’t be the same thing. But Rey was, for all intents and purposes, our guy going into the Rumble in 2006.”
As it would turn out, Rey Mysterio did prevail in the 2006 Royal Rumble and went on to defeated both Randy Orton and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match at WrestleMania 22 to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Several months later, seeing that the storyline was gathering more ill-will than support, the entire thing was dropped and Mysterio lost the gold to King Booker at The Great American Bash.
Credit for the interview and transcription: Fightful