Shaul Guerrero: “My dad scared the sh*t out of me growing up”
Chris Van Vliet passed along…
I just posted with Shaul Guerrero on my podcast Insight with Chris Van Vliet.
She opens up about taking a break from wrestling to work on her mental health, what her relationship with her father Eddie Guerrero was really like and tells a story of how WWE would not let her use the Guerrero name when she was signed there.
On taking a break from wrestling to work on her mental health:
“I don’t think anyone fully heals from mental illness. I think there is PTSD with anxiety and depression, that’s what I got diagnosed with. I had a really scary episode when I was in Texas. I was supposed to do a Mission Pro Wrestling show, and I knew I had to step aside because my mental health was completely breaking. I got diagnosed 2 weeks later with all those things, and I am on medication now. I’m also going to therapy every week, which is really f*cking hard. But you know what, I feel better and I am focusing on things that are not as much of a trigger as wrestling.”
Is wrestling a trigger for her?
“It is. I want to be honest and say that wrestling has been a huge blessing in my life. It’s always been the thing that has put food on our table, from me being a child to my husband being in WWE, that’s all I’ve known. But with me wrestling, there is so much pressure and so many expectations. I have put so much pressure on myself because I have huge shoes to fill. It was getting to an unhealthy point for me. I keep trying to be a wrestler and be the wrestler everyone wants me to be, but I think I am content with my skills on the microphone and commentary. I feel the most at home doing that so hopefully someone will have me.”
WWE told her she was not allowed to use the Guerrero name:
“I remember being told, I’m not going to say by who, that if you suck, we can’t drag your family’s name in the mud. I’m like [shocked expression]. I understood that. Again, it’s like they never said I had to be as good as my dad, but there was always little things like that which are hard to ignore. That was day one.”
On being expected to live up to her father’s legacy:
“I don’t know how he was Eddie Guerrero half of the time. My dad loved this business so much, he was constantly thinking about wrestling. No one can be him. It was getting overwhelming in good ways. I think when I announced my comeback, I was getting a lot of bites from promoters, which was very humbling. But they also wanted to put me in the very top positions, which I was like ‘I haven’t wrestled in 6 years.’ It was overwhelming. When I first went into wrestling, I went into the largest and most prestige company in the world. I am very grateful for that, but that also comes with the biggest amount of pressure. It was so intense, not to mention the Guerrero way, go hard or go home. High expectations are just in the family. I was having panic attacks just going to training sessions.”
What her relationship with her father, Eddie Guerrero, was really like:
“My dad scared the sh*t out of me growing up. It’s no secret that he struggled with alcohol and drugs. I think unfortunately growing up until I was 12 or 13, that was pretty much all I saw. It was a complicated relationship with my dad. I didn’t really get to know him until I was 13, 14, 15. He passed when I was 15.”
Does she remember being told that Eddie had died?
“Yeah, I do. I was woken up by my dad’s sister Linda and my cousins. They woke us up and I have never had anyone truly pass away until that day. They brought us out into the living room and they told us what happened. I think they told me separately from my sister, because mom wasn’t there. She was completely distraught; it was a terrible day.”
Her favorite story about her father:
“He would do random acts of kindness all the time. One day I was at step team practice and he brought a sh*tload of McDonalds for everybody. One day he saw me and the kids were bored, so he went to Target and bought a bunch of water guns. Of course he got the super soaker and it turned into this battle. He would do things like that all the time. He had a big heart, when he was sober he was great and the person to talk to in the locker room.”