Wrestlers getting compared to each other is nothing new, but it seems to happen even more when it comes to Hispanic wrestlers. Everyone is always trying to find the next Rey Mysterio or Eddie Guerrero, and Chavo Guerrero had to deal with that by being compared to members in his own family.
“Yeah, well, for sure. We were always compared to each other. My father [Chavo Sr.] always got people hating on him, saying, ‘Well, you’ll never be as your father.’ Eddie got it – ‘You’ll never be as good as your brothers.’ I got it – ‘You’ll never be as good as Eddie.’ So, Eddie once told me, ‘Hey man, just be you,'” recalled Chavo. “I heard it. I won’t be as good as him. You won’t be as good as him; you can’t. They’re just one of those persons. He says, ‘Just be you, be the best Chavo Guerrero.’ That really kind of helped me. You know what, screw everybody else! Just go out there and do your thing.”
One of Chavo’s gimmicks in WWE was that of Kerwin White, who was a stereotypical middle-class, white male. It was a heel character that generated heat both from the Hispanic fans he was denouncing and the white fans he was mocking. Chavo talked about the conversations that led up to that character’s formation.
“There was no conversation. I got off the plane in Japan and I came to RAW, and Vince McMahon looks at me and he goes, ‘Well, hello Kerwin’. And I’m like, ‘Okay… What is going on?”https://www.wrestlinginc.com/news/2020/11/chavo-guerrero-jr-opens-up-about-wrestling-just-hours-after-676622/”Well, today you’re going to denounce your Hispanic heritage and you’re going to become a white guy,'” recalled Chavo. “I have two options. You either say no and possibly go back on the back burner for a while or get fired, or you say, ‘Alright, let’s do it.’ And at the time, the political climate was different, and I literally told Vince – I had a meeting with him – I said, ‘If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right.’ I’m supposed to be a brown guy playing a white guy, saying, ‘This is how you white guys are!’ And they’re saying no, and the Hispanics hated me because I was denouncing my Mexican heritage.
“I had the whites because I was kind of making fun of them, and they’re like, ‘That’s not how we dress.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh yes, you do.’ And then I was saying ‘If it’s not white, it’s not right’, and I have Caucasians going, ‘That’s not who we are!’ So I had everybody hate me, and a true heel wants everybody to hate them. And then I told Vince, ‘Look, at the end of the day, I want to come in a white sheet.’ And he was like, ‘Oh yeah, I love it!’ Now of course, we never ended up doing that. It got too risqué – a little too racist – for a network.”
The Kerwin White gimmick showed potential as a heel, but it was short-lived due to unforeseen circumstances. Chavo recalled the night the gimmick ended when asked how long he portrayed Kerwin White.
“Not long, man; it was probably about six months. I was Kerwin White until the day Eddie died,” stated Chavo. “When Eddie died, we were in Minneapolis for a supershow – RAW and SmackDown show – because the whole crew was going overseas to Europe that night, or maybe the next morning. And after Eddie passed, Vince, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels all came to me at Eddie’s hotel room and we’re in the hallway, and Vince goes, ‘What do I do? Do I cancel the show?’ I’m like, ‘Absolutely not. Eddie would have never wanted you to cancel the show. The show must go on. We have to do the show.’
“Well, I can’t say I made the final decision. They wanted my opinion on it. Whether he would have taken it or not, it’s up to him. It’s his show. But I told him, ‘No, you don’t do that. Absolutely not. Whether you do a tribute show [or whatever], the show goes on and I want to wrestle.’ And he goes, ‘Alright’, and I came out that night as Chavo Guerrero with blonde hair.”
The show did go on, and Chavo wrestled the night that he found his uncle Eddie had passed away. It was a SmackDown taping that turned into an Eddie Guerrero Tribute Show, and Chavo honored his uncle by delivering the Three Amigos suplexes and Frog Splash on JBL in a victory.
Chavo was asked how difficult it was to wrestle just hours after Eddie’s death.
“I was guided. I felt like Eddie was there for me and I was guided through it. Plus, I had JBL wanting to wrestle me and put me over. So, he’s a guy that loved Eddie. I loved Eddie. We all did. The fans were behind. It was like I couldn’t do anything wrong that night. I looked back at that match – it was super special, and just getting in that ring and just performing,” recalled Eddie.
“Mick Foley – he wasn’t even with the company, but when I saw him somewhere, he goes, ‘Chavo, when you climbed up for that Frog Splash at the end of that match and you hit that Frog Splash 1-2-3,’ he goes, ‘That was such a special moment’, and I was just on autopilot.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.