VIDEO & RECAP: Eddie Guerrero vs. Konnan Juarez Feud!
Back when I was a kid living in El Paso I’d try to catch every wrestling show that would appear on TV. This wasn’t as easy at that time because most wrestling shows would air on weekends. My family bought their first VCR sometime in 1986. It took about a year and a half for anyone to really feel like learning to use it for more than just watching movies. That of course would end up being me because there was no way I was gonna miss a wrestling show just because we had to go to the supermarket!
While some nowadays might take for granted the ability to just visit youtube or download a video and watch on their computers or even mobile devices, back in the ’80s trying to watch lucha libre wasn’t that easy. First you had a weak signal coming in from some of the Spanish stations. Channels 2 and 5 from Juarez worked perfectly. No need to hold the rabbit ear antenna! However, Juarez lucha mostly aired on Channel 44 and that was a channel that had a relatively weak signal if you didn’t have the right set-up or weather for that matter. I first caught Juarez lucha on Channel 5 and after a few times watching it noticed one day that they were airing wrestling from a different place. This turned out to be EMLL from Mexico City. While I enjoyed that show, I had already in a short period of time grown accustomed to the Juarez lucha shows since they were more to my liking at that time. It felt more like a Spanish version of Bill Watts’ UWF or a far better version of World Class, which at that time was on its last legs.
Video footage of the area is pretty scarce at the moment. Its possible that at some point something might pop-up, but a lot of what is available online came directly from either Konnan or a few fans who recorded and saved bits and pieces of the shows.
Juarez had a nice mix of local guys like Cinta de Oro, Rocky Star, Crazy 33 (who later became Rocky Star II), and a few others filling out the opening matches (including later Cassandro as Rosa Salvaje), the established veterans who would travel the northern part of Mexico and Southwestern portion of the U.S. like Ari Romero, Rey Misterio, Fishman and El Cobarde, and the big stars of that time that would travel to Juarez like Mil Mascaras, Canek, Rayo de Jalisco Jr., Los Brazos, Los Misioneros, Los Dinamitas, etc. There were also the new wave of lighter wrestlers who would work the middle of the card like Hijo del Santo, Espanto Jr. and Negro Casas. Lots of talent would travel that area. Sometimes I’d just check to see if the commercial would air because I just had to know who was coming in.
While all these names were coming in and out of the area, two up-and-coming stars were just getting started. They both were completely different. Eddie Guerrero was a second-generation wrestler, who from the beginning had shown incredible skill in the ring. He was already able to hold his own with some of the top light weights that would travel to Juarez. He was popular and while most of his brothers spent most of their time traveling and wrestling outside of Juarez, that was Eddie’s home. The other soon-to-be star was a muscular, masked wrestler who came in as a supposed foreigner who couldn’t speak any Spanish by the name Konan El Barbaro. Fortunately, someone realized Konnan could cut a promo and the ‘no talking’ part was dropped. Both guys were tecnicos (babyfaces) so it was natural to put both together. As part of the storyline, Konan had been taken in by the Guerrero family. He lived and trained with them. Eddie and Konan were like brothers. They would even team up to take on the top rudos who made their way to Juarez. Whoever was out to get the Guerrero family, had to deal with Konan as well. No rudo was a far bigger rival to them than the hated Ari “El Gato” Romero, who became so obsessed with destroying the Guerreros that announcers would refer to him as “El Diablo” because they felt he was possessed.
The Konnan vs. Eddie Guerrero feud started similarly to many of the big ‘break-up’ feuds in wrestling. At the time, Ari Romero was recruiting rudos to feud with the Guerreros and had his usual lackey Rayo Imperial team with Baby Sharon who had just made his way back into the area. For those wondering Baby Sharon was an exotico, but was more bad ass than effeminate in looks. In a tag team match, Rayo Imperial and Baby Sharon took out Eddie’s tag team partner, Tigre de Bengala and were double-teaming Eddie in the ring. Konnan ran in to make the save, but instead of clotheslining the two rudos, he clotheslined Eddie Guerrero out of the ring. The two rudos proceed to put the boots to Konnan for interfering.
After the match, the announcer goes to Konnan and asked him why he hit Eddie, to which Konnan replied, “It was an accident, not intentional…you saw it right”. Eddie felt he didn’t need Konnan’s help.
They would team up once again against the rudo team of Ari Romero and Baby Sharon. During the match, Konnan would refuse to tag in. Eventually he would but Baby Sharon and Romero would use their double team tactics to gain an advantage and also Baby Sharon used the old “turn the mask around” blinding trick on Konnan. When Eddie made the save, Konnan unable to see grabbed Eddie and put him in a torture rack and slammed him down into the mat thinking it was Baby Sharon. This allowed Baby Sharon to force Eddie to submit and get the win for the rudos. After the match, the two teammates/friends had to be kept apart. While being kept apart the next step in the feud was being instigated by local heel ref, Julio Quiroga, another of the Guerreros long-time rivals.
After the match, Julio Quiroga vows to take Konnan around the world because Konnan will be the biggest rudo in the world. He vows to make a bigger star than Canek and Perro Aguayo. Quiroga vows it starts with ending Eddie Guerrero. Konnan grabs the mic and tells everyone after he’s done with Canek, he’s coming back to destroy Eddie. Quiroga then vows to destroy all the Guerreros. Quiroga was awful as a ref, but he sure made up for it as that sleazy heel manager.
Eddie then follows up the rudos promo by cutting an emotional babyface promo were he talks about how much the Guerrero family helped Konnan. He then points out that he never believed that any of the times he was hit were accidental and were intentional by Konnan because it was Konnan’s way of climbing the ladder by making a name for himself by beating the Guerreros. Eddie tells Konnan he was jealous. Talks about how he supported Konnan in his big matches against Canek. Eddie tells Konnan he broke the hearts of the kids in Juarez and El Paso.
Eddie then gets even more emotional and vows to beat Konnan for the people of Juarez.
Konnan aligning himself with Julio Quiroga eventually meant he was now siding with Ari “El Gato” Romero. As part of Romero’s ‘plan’ to destroy the tecnicos of Ciudad Juarez and mainly Eddie Guerrero, he would bring in some of the most evil wrestlers he could find and perhaps no characters symbolized evil at that time than Freddy Krueger, Jason and The Predator. To combat Freddy Krueger, Eddie had to enlist the help of Fray Tormenta, the wrestling priest!
Konnan had the edge in power and size while Eddie was the better all-around wrestler. The problem Eddie would encounter in many of these matches were that sometimes they were either 2-on-1 or 3-on-2 odds against him as heel ref and manager, Julio Quiroga had already chosen sides.
Konnan would eventually demand a title match against Eddie Guerrero. I believe it was that promotions title, listed as the LAWA World Heavyweight Title on the luchawiki page. Could be right. He talked about being a better dresser and how he would prove to everyone he was better than Eddie Guerrero in the ring. However, the promoter comes in during the interview and informs Konnan that Eddie Guerrero will only defend the title if Konnan puts his mask on the line. The promoter then informs Konnan that if he refuses that match then the authorities in charge would have to schedule his match for a later date and he tells him it could be 2 or 3 months. Konnan doesn’t agree with this decision but doesn’t want to put his mask on the line. Promoter again tells him, put his mask on the line or wait 2 or 3 months. Some other dude comes out and asks Konnan to put his mask on the line because he wants Konnan to prove he’s better than Eddie. Konnan’s still not convinced, so this guy, screams “PLEASE” a few times. Doesn’t work. Finally Ari “El Gato” Romero comes out to convince Konnan. He mentions how they’ve trained together and learned lucha libre together. Still Konan not convinced. Then the announcer, who mentions he never likes to get involved, ask Konnan to do it. The pressure is on…Promoter comes back in and tells Konnan that as part of the deal he’ll let him take all the revenue from the gate from this match, but he must put his mask on the line. Konnan still not totally convinced. Ari Romero gives him the sign for money, but Konnan’s still reluctant.
However, they do have their match…Packed house for their match. Eddie has as a second his older brother Chavo, while Konnan’s second is Ari Romero. Late in the match Ari Romero tries to break up a roll-up by Eddie Guerrero on Konnan, but is stopped by the referee. Chavo climbs into the ring to complain as well and the ref gets distracted trying to get Chavo down from the ring. Ari Romero gets back in the ring and hits a DDT on Eddie. Konnan jumps on Eddie for the pin and wins the title.
Eddie Guerrero cuts another emotional promo in the locker room were he says he’s not sad, but angry that Ari Romero robbed him of winning the match. Vows revenge on Ari Romero and Konnan.
The video closes with Konnan and Ari Romero shining up the newly won championship. The announcer who was part of the group of people trying to talk Konnan into this match is very upset because he felt the mask was ‘theirs’ due to Eddie Guerrero nearly winning. Announcer tells this to Ari, who lets out a great heel laugh while still shining the belt. Konnan mentions how big of a money purse he took due to how big the gate was. Ari Romero mentions he gets a percentage and Konnan agrees. Ari then tells Eddie Guerrero that he should stick to wrestling in smaller venues because that ‘gimnasio’ (stadium) it too big for him now that he’s not a champion. Konnan ends by telling Eddie that he should call him his ‘maestro’ after the way he beat him.
This feud probably could have kept going strong for a lot longer, but both Eddie Guerrero and Konnan were becoming in demand wrestlers. Both guys would eventually head to work for EMLL. Eddie Guerrero would also work the same tours that the big stars were doing in Northern Mexico/Southwestern United States and he even made an appearance on WCW. Konnan had the similar path, but became an instant hit in Mexico City and was one of the top headliners by 1989.