“I lie, I cheat, I steal!” are the first lyrics heard when the famed and beloved former WWE superstar, Eddie Guerrero, entered the wrestling ring. Guerrero, whose sudden death shocked the professional wrestling entertainment landscape, was an iconic representation of Mexican ethnicity in the ring and resistant to performances of his ethnic appropriation out of it. Coming from a Mexican family of former professional wrestlers and luchadors, Guerrero established a strong, predominately Hispanic, fan base, despite Guerrero’s persona as a thief, an underdog, and a deviant in the eyes of the WWE, his presence in wrestling entertainment dialectically symbolizes a familial legacy.
Guerrero’s cultural appropriation underscores racial underpinning that occurs within the professional wrestling entertainment industry. Guerrero’s particular wrestling persona exhibits a stereotypical Latino persona that is masculinized, eroticized, and criminalized as exhibited by vignettes portraying Los Guerreros playing golf or hosting sexy pool parties. Despite Eddie Guerrero reluctance to engage in these vignettes, Guerrero submitted to the industry because he was assured it would be best for his career. While Guerrero’s apparent personification as a low-riding cholo presents an overarching narrative of the Mexican gangster, the racial appropriation enacted by the industry creates a questionable and problematic commercialized exploitation of an oppressed ethnic minority.
Guerrero’s legacy will not be forgotten in the world of professional wrestling entertainment. His presence in the WWE as a dominant Latino persona demonstrates a diverse wrestling landscape, but his presence does not omit its own racial undertones. Nonetheless, the WWE universe will shout “Viva Eddie Guerrero” in remembrance of a legend.