‘Everybody wanted to work with him’: Why Vince McMahon pushed popular superstar into the main event
Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, and Ric Flair were early superstars who weren’t big-muscled but thrived on their intrinsic knowledge of professional wrestling. There have been many superstars in past and present who have overcome the odds and captured the imagination of the fans as well as the bosses. Recently, Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston became WWE champions after flourishing on the reactions of the fans.
However, there was one wrestler in the early 2000s who became a huge superstar in WWE despite starting out as a cruiserweight. Eddie Guerrero spent the majority of his career in the mid-card before finally getting the spotlight at No Way Out. He faced Brock Lesnar and beat him to win his first WWE Championship and then successfully defended the title against Kurt Angle at WrestleMania XX.
So how did Eddie finally manage to break the glass ceiling and convince Vince McMahon that he is a legitimate big superstar in the WWE? Hall of Famer Jim Ross revealed that it was Eddie’s ability to work with anyone that turned McMahon’s eyes towards him.
“The fact that Eddie could work with anybody,” Ross said. “He could work with a bigger babyface and make it real. He could work with a bigger heel and make it even more real. He brought the best out in everybody...I think it’s consistency and the fact that everybody wanted to work with him,” Ross said on Grilling JR podcast.
“When you have top guys going to the old man just to get face time, and they tell him ‘Vince if I get a chance, I’d like to work with Eddie.’ Enough guys did that and then Vince said there’s something here. He beat Brock Lesnar in the Cow Palace at 190 pounds and Lesnar at 290 and made it believable...I’m glad that before Eddie passed, he got those moments. I’m blessed that we were able to do that. I think at least it was a happy thing in his life.”
Eddie is one of the most respected wrestlers in the history of WWE and is still an inspiration to many superstars. On November 13, 2005, Guerrero was pronounced dead after being found unconscious in his hotel room in Minneapolis, His death left the WWE Universe shocked and McMahon addressed the live crowd on his untimely demise while giving him a ten-bell salute.