Jim Ross: Letting Eddie Guerrero Go Was The Hardest Release Of My WWE Career
Jim Ross has recalled his feelings about releasing Eddie Guerrero from WWE in 2001
Legendary wrestling announcer Jim Ross opened up about his relationship with the late, great Eddie Guerrero on the latest edition of his Grilling JR podcast.
As then-Head of Talent Relations, Ross was responsible for hiring Guerrero (along with fellow Radicalz members Perry Saturn, Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko) in early 2000, but was also forced to release him in late 2001 after Latino Heat was arrested for DUI (while preparing to make his comeback following rehab).
According to JR, letting Guerrero go was one of the hardest decisions of his career.
"It probably was because I saw greatness. I saw one of the greatest pro wrestlers in the world that we're about to lose if we don't get our arms around his problem. But in order for us to get our arms around his problem, he's gotta cooperate with us. He's gotta allow us to hug him. That's what we kept waiting on. So, yeah, that was probably the toughest because I had such an emotional investment in him".
Eddie would return to WWE in April of 2002 and enjoy a career resurgence that saw him improbably win the WWE Title by beating Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004.
Per Ross, Guerrero did not adjust well to the pressures of being champion.
"If Eddie had just relied on his instincts and his natural ability to work a match and perform at a high level, it would have never been an issue. But Eddie was not wound that way. He was wound tighter than a fiddle string. I don't know how to explain it any better. He, mentally, was putting so much pressure on himself that he was making himself miserable by being the WWE Champion".
Eddie lost the WWE Title after 133 days (to JBL at the Great American Bash), but would continue to wrestle for the company until his untimely death on November 13, 2005.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.